Title: The Drowning Kind
Author: Jennifer McMahon
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Horror (thriller), Supernatural, Magical Realism, Mystery
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Books
Publish Date: April 26, 2021
Date Read: January 01, 2021
Type Read: Digital ARC, via NetGalley
Be careful what you wish for.
When social worker Jax receives nine missed calls from her older sister, Lexie, she assumes that it’s just another one of her sister’s episodes. Manic and increasingly out of touch with reality, Lexie has pushed Jax away for over a year. But the next day, Lexie is dead: drowned in the pool at their grandmother’s estate. When Jax arrives at the house to go through her sister’s things, she learns that Lexie was researching the history of their family and the property. And as she dives deeper into the research herself, she discovers that the land holds a far darker past than she could have ever imagined.
In 1929, thirty-seven-year-old newlywed Ethel Monroe hopes desperately for a baby. In an effort to distract her, her husband whisks her away on a trip to Vermont, where a natural spring is showcased by the newest and most modern hotel in the Northeast. Once there, Ethel learns that the water is rumored to grant wishes, never suspecting that the spring takes in equal measure to what it gives.
This was a beautifully haunting tale about cursed waters that heal at a price.
Told in two different timelines, we have Jax, a young woman who learns of the drowning death of her mentally unwell sister the day after she attempts to call her multiple times. We also have Ethel in the late 1920’s, whom in an attempt to have a child with her husband, Will, uses the so-called healing powers of a certain spring in a Vermont resort to help her achieve this goal.
We learn through an eerie back and forth, the parallels and intersections in these two timelines. Jax is trying to pick up the pieces of her lost sister and all that she missed with her while Ethel is trying to keep the daughter she quite possibly never should have had alive with the healing waters of the spring.
This was scary and sad at the same time. I felt so strongly for Jax. She is trying to make sense of the relationship with her sister Lexie that she threw away. During her stay at the home their grandmother left to Lexie that the sisters spent so much time together in as children, she must come to terms with the ways of the pool they always swam in and the links it had to Lexie’s death. She must go through Lexie’s documents and research she accumulated before her death in an attempt to find answers.
Meanwhile, we are brought along Ethel’s tumultuous journey of trying to keep her child healthy and safe after the waters of the Vermont spring were so beneficial and detrimental at the same time.
I adored the writing of the amazing Jennifer McMahon. She never fails to write stories that speak to what is inside of you. The deepest and darkest longings of a person. This was a truly eerie and haunting story that I was fully immersed in. This will definitely make me think twice when going near lakes or natural springs from now on.