Some secrets are better left at the bottom of the ocean.
Sixteen-year-old Bridey Corkill longs to leave her small island and see the world; the farther from the sea, the better. When Bridey was young, she witnessed something lure her granddad off a cliff and into a watery grave with a smile on his face. Now, in 1913, those haunting memories are dredged to the surface when a young woman is found drowned on the beach. Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her Granddad to leap has made its return to the Isle of Man.
Soon, people in Bridey’s idyllic village begin vanishing, and she finds an injured boy on the shore—an outsider who can’t remember who he is or where he’s from. Bridey’s family takes him in so he can rest and heal. In exchange for saving his life, he teaches Bridey how to master her fear of the water—stealing her heart in the process.
But something sinister is lurking in the deep, and Bridey must gather her courage to figure out who—or what—is plaguing her village, and find a way to stop it before she loses everyone she loves.
"While first-time novelist Marsh draws heavily on standard paranormal tropes (the enigmatic love interest, for example), her evocative setting, memorable characters, and use of obscure folkloric elements all contribute to the novel’s strong sense of place."
-- Publishers Weekly
My review: Oh, what a lovely book this is! Set on the Isle of Man in the early 20th century, FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP is utterly steeped in the island's superstitions, folklore, and culture. The island and its people come alive in these pages--nosy neighbors, dangerous seas, old stories and all--and I just love how rich it all feels, with a real sense of history and community.
I also adore the main character Bridey, to determined to protect her loved ones and her home in spite of her fears and her dreams of traveling the world, and her relationship with her family, her friends, her home. The sense of connection and shared history between all the people in this isolated little town feels so strong--both the good, between friends, and the bad, when it comes to long-harbored suspicions and rumors.
I am not saying anything about how great the sea monsters are, because to say that would be to spoil things that are best left unspoiled, so rest assured there are sea monsters and they are great. Sometimes with lots of teeth.
Reading this book felt like taking a trip into a magical, occasionally terrifying past, all described is beautiful detail, and I enjoyed every page. I can't wait to read whatever Sarah Glenn Marsh writes next--whatever it is, I'm sure it will once again feel like immersing myself into a weird and wonderful place I can only visit through her words.