When Eva’s husband is arrested for the murder of a friend, she must confront her murky past and embrace her magick to find out what really happened that night on the river.
Eva Santos Moon is a burgeoning Chicana artist who practices the ancient, spiritual ways of brujería and curanderisma, but she’s at one of her lowest points—suffering from disorienting blackouts, creative stagnation, and a feeling of disconnect from her magickal roots. When her husband, a beloved university professor and the glue that holds their family together, is taken into custody for the shocking murder of their friend, Eva doesn’t know whom to trust—least of all, herself. She soon falls under suspicion as a potential suspect, and her past rises to the surface, dredging up the truth about an eerily similar death from her childhood.
Struggling with fragmented memories and self-doubt, an increasingly terrified Eva fears that she might have been involved in both murders. But why doesn’t she remember? Only the dead women know for sure, and they’re coming for her with a haunting vengeance. As she fights to keep her family out of danger, Eva realizes she must use her magick as a bruja to protect herself and her loved ones, while confronting her own dark history.
A psychological thriller that weaves together the threads of folk magick with personal and cultural empowerment, River Woman, River Demon is a mysterious incantation of reckoning with the past and claiming one’s unique power and voice.
Eva Santos Moon, the narrator of this captivating whodunit from Givhan (Jubilee), is haunted by the drowning of her childhood best friend, Karma Marquez, when they were both 15. Years later, Eva still can't remember whether she tried to save Karma or pushed her under the water. Consequently, Eva suffers from PTSD, marked by severe nightmares and blackouts. One night, Eva hears her husband, Jericho, screaming from the direction of the river near their New Mexico home. When she runs to help him, she finds him holding the bloody body of a close family friend, Cecilia Trujillo, who was apparently left to drown in the river by an attacker who smashed Cecilia's face. Jericho is promptly accused of murder. When Eva later discovers texts between Cecilia and Jericho that suggest they were intimate, she feels betrayed. The coincidence of two friends dying by drowning doesn't escape Eva. She again wonders whether she was somehow involved. In her effort to uncover the truth, Eva relies on the bruja spirit, an ancient spiritual art that she inherited from her late mother. But who can she trust? Givhan keeps the surprises coming. Psychological thriller fans will be well satisfied.
Women depraved of sanity and unfinished business
The continual possessed spirit mystery surrounding the plot was my least favorite. I also disliked the continual interrogation tactics used by the narrator/main character to question herself and the motives of those around her. Almost as if she knew the beginning from the end but there was something preventing her being. There was never a solid sense of self-assuredness found within herself or within those apart of her life.
Most enjoyable parts of the novel were found in the names of her children. Names of hispanic descent. Like music to your ear in the trenches. In their names there really was no room for lost interpretation when making references to them as positive additions to her life amongst the continued spiritual conflict that seemed to have a rule over her. The appointed caretaker for her and her children was another resting place the novel offered that provided relief to her continued mysterious mindset.
The protagonist’s concern level for these spirits of her past affecting her progress was shallow to say the least, for what she made out to be an issue that needed closed with more urgency and clarity.
With the main character, it always appeared that she was too caught up in one moment to be prepared or enjoy the next. We are able to find that she gains some individual solace near the end of the novel in a revealing conversation had between her and her significant others brother. But will she ever really find true emotional and mental relief with her past associations so murky and tied to tragedy, trauma, and deviance?
Can we set the ways of the people we love straight if they don’t really love us? How long is too long to stick around?