Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Drowning House by Elizabeth Black

4.5 Checks

Photographer Clare Porterfield has been summoned to return to her hometown of Galveston, Texas, to complete an exhibit for prominent businessman and family friend Will Carraday. Living in the aftermath of a devastating loss that has led to the inevitable crumbling of her marriage, Clare makes the journey from D.C. to Galveston. Part of her wants to run away from her failed life, but part of her is drawn to the home that she was forced to abandon ten years earlier after a tragic accident.

As she researches the Carraday photos and archives to prepare for the exhibit, she uncovers secrets that are better left buried and lies that prove deadly. The closer she gets to discovering the truth, the more she realizes that she’s at the center. Everyone in this story has a secret, some of which are almost too painful to discover.

Elizabeth Black’s writing style is so flawless that her descriptions captivate the reader almost as much as the actual plot. Her ability to weave intriguing historical facts of Galveston within the suspense of the present-day story makes it hard for the reader to put it down. Through such skillful writing, Black is able to make the reader feel Clare’s impatience for learning the truth with every turn of the page.

Although I enjoyed the quiet unfolding of this book, I became frustrated by the lack of clarification for certain important details. Several times I felt as though there was an inside joke, or story, I needed to know in order to interpret comments or allusions. The book ended without ever cluing me in to the inside story. As a result, I ended the book with questions that never received answers.

Overall, people who enjoy historical fiction will enjoy Black's debut novel. I look forward to reading more books by her. 

ARC received at ALA 2012
Publication Date: January 2013


  1. Followed you here from your tweet about Marbury. Followed your blog. Nice to meet you!

    1. Hi Matthew! Thanks for taking the time to check it out.