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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"The Drowning House" by Elizabeth Black ~ Hypnotic!


A gripping suspense story about a woman who returns to Galveston, Texas after a personal tragedy and is irresistibly drawn into the insular world she’s struggled to leave.
Photographer Clare Porterfield's once-happy marriage is coming apart, unraveling under the strain of a family tragedy. When she receives an invitation to direct an exhibition in her hometown of Galveston, Texas, she jumps at the chance to escape her grief and reconnect with the island she hasn't seen for ten years. There Clare will have the time and space to search for answers about her troubled past and her family's complicated relationship with the wealthy and influential Carraday family.

Soon she finds herself drawn into a century-old mystery involving Stella Carraday. Local legend has it that Stella drowned in her family's house during the Great Hurricane of 1900, hanged by her long hair from the drawing room chandelier. Could Stella have been saved? What is the true nature of Clare's family's involvement? The questions grow like the wildflower vines that climb up the walls and fences of the island. And the closer Clare gets to the answers, the darker and more disturbing the truth becomes.

Steeped in the rich local history of Galveston, The Drowning House portrays two families, inextricably linked by tragedy and time.

"The Drowning House marks the emergence of an impressive new literary voice. Elizabeth Black's suspenseful inquiry into dark family secrets is enriched by a remarkable succession of images, often minutely observed, that bring characters, setting, and story sharply into focus." —John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

*Note:  Taken from Barnes and Noble Overview

Published by:  Knopf Doubleday Publishing
Pages:  288
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Find the book:  Barnes & Noble and Indie Bound


Elizabeth Black was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island and now lives in Houston, Texas. The Drowning House is her first novel.


Quickly go grab a copy of this book.  It's hopping off the shelves. There were only two copies left at my local book store. Articulate and hypnotic, this is a novel that flows and speeds toward its conclusion. It will hold you captive for hours.  Elizabeth Black can't possibly be a debut author, I thought!  Her book is so good, I was reminded of "Prince of Tides" from the get-go.  I absolutely couldn't put it down.

Told from the perspective of Clare, a young artistic photographer who has just experienced the death of her only child and who returns to her childhood home, it is a break-neck suspense novel and Southern Gothic.  It takes place around Galveston Island with its own set of mysteries and island lore, town folkisms and traditions that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Ms Black has a distinct voice that is seductive.  She is a writer of the old school in that she knows how to tell a tale about the South with its idiosyncrasies, love of the strange and absurd; characters in particular, families that are eccentric and enduring.  I could read her work all night long.

Let me give you an example:

"...Every instant of every day, life is streaming past, all experience--every action, word, or thought, every particle of intention--rushing toward some moment you can't foresee that is anything but safe.  Toward, perhaps, one ordinary afternoon."


"...marriage is generally unfathomable..."  She had no understanding even of her own.

I resonated with this author from the moment I picked up her book.  She was writing my story; in my head, speaking my thoughts.  If there's one book you should read this year it's this one.  I have a feeling it's going to be one of my favorites.

5 shining stars for a debut author               Deborah/TheBookishDame


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