They Drown Our Daughters
"The best kind of story—one that will both break your heart and scare the hell out of you." —Jennifer McMahon, New York Times bestselling author of The Children on the Hill
If you can hear the call of the water,
It’s already far too late.
They say Cape Disappointment is haunted. That's why tourists used to flock there in droves. They'd visit the rocky shoreline under the old lighthouse's watchful eye and fish shells from the water as they pretended to spot dark shapes in the surf. Now the tourists are long gone, and when Meredith Strand and her young daughter return to Meredith’s childhood home after an acrimonious split from her wife, the Cape seems more haunted by regret than any malevolent force.
But her mother, suffering from early stages of Alzheimer's, is convinced the ghost stories are real. Not only is there something in the water, but it's watching them. Waiting for them. Reaching out to Meredith's daughter the way it has to every woman in their line for generations—and if Meredith isn’t careful, all three women, bound by blood and heartbreak, will be lost one by one to the ocean’s mournful call.
Part queer modern gothic, part ghost story, They Drown Our Daughters explores the depths of motherhood, identity, and the lengths a woman will go to hold on to both.
Monroe's brooding modern gothic debut delivers a generation-spanning account of one family grappling with the inescapable specter of grief. When Meredith separates from her wife to return to Cape Disappointment, a former mermaid-centric tourist trap, she and her seven-year-old daughter, Alice, are welcomed back into her childhood home by her mother, Judith. But with three generations of Strands gathered back together in a seaside town whose water holds centuries-old secrets teased out in flashbacks to 1881 Meredith must uncover the truth about the real curse of Cape Disappointment, or lose everything to the grasping waves. Monroe does an excellent job interweaving time periods and character arcs to create a rich, complex picture of intergenerational trauma, and Meredith's relationships with her mother and daughter make the present feel vital. Clunky exposition occasionally hampers the story's ability to integrate so many moving parts into a cohesive narrative, but the atmosphere remains as chilly and gripping as an ocean wind as the story drives toward its haunting conclusion. Fans of Silvia Moreno-Garcia should check this out. Agent: Joanna MacKenzie, Nelson Literary.