Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
Well this book packed a punch. We follow 30 something year old Alejandra. Recently moved from Texas to Philadelphia with her husband and three children, she feels adrift. You initially think that maybe Alejandra is suffering from post-partum depression. However, the book quickly moves that something seems to be haunting Alejandra. Telling her that she’s a bad mother, that her children would be better off with her, and that in the end she may take a road many of her ancestors did, and allows whatever is haunting to take her and then her eldest daughter.
The book characters were great IMHO. I loved how we get to see Alejandra wake all the way up by the end of the book. She’s indifferent to her husband and her children at first. But you feel the love she has for her children starting to break through. When she realizes something may be haunting her and could hurt them, she decides to do whatever it takes to kill the thing that stalks them. And I thought it was interesting that Castro shows how Alejandra being adopted (even though by a half Mexican woman and white man) ended up harming her and many of the children they raised because of the hyper religious parents she had. Because of them many roads that Alejandra would have taken she did not, it seems she was afraid of disappointing two people she didn’t even really like. When Alejandra meets her birth mother Cathy though, you start to see she part of her started to wake up before she departed Texas for Philadelphia. Her husband just seems to be there. He’s not a a good guy, and not bad, just someone that always pushes his needs first and doesn’t really seem to care about Alejandra unless it is going to mess up his schedule.
Castro takes us back at some points in time to a time when the Spanish came to Mexico and a woman who was left with nothing after being repeatedly raped agrees to a bargain that has repercussions for all of her descendants. The book not only follows Alejandra, but her mother Cathy, her grandmother, and others. I loved how Castro loops in the Mexican folklore of La Llorona, a spirit of a vengeful woman who drowned her own children and still searches for them but also hunts women as well. I think I honestly felt for Cathy’s mother. She was in love with someone who did not love her and when the “curse” starts to come for her she really doesn’t have a sense of how to get out, but wants to keep her children safe. The thread through all of these stories was the love a mother has for her children, and how these mothers would do anything for them.
The writing was really good and so was the flow.
The ending was a bit gory, but I liked how the big turns the events into just one more chapter and we can begin to see how the future may be shaped now.