Claire Porterfield is still reeling from the ultimate loss. Her young daughter was killed in a freak playground accident. To say that Claire is a shadow of her former self is a gross understatement. She hasn't been doing anything with her photography career and her marriage is crumbling into a million pieces.
Things are spiraling out of control when Claire gets a job offer to run an exhibition in her hometown of Galveston. The hometown she left so many years ago and has never returned. She accepts the position and finds herself back in the community she left so long ago. She sees her community and her parents through grown up eyes and she realizes that things are not always like they seemed. Claire's own misspent youth, her parents relationship, and old community folklore are all looked at through fresh eyes and Claire realizes that maybe things really weren't what they seemed. Will the old wounds of her childhood coupled with the recent wounds of the loss of her child be enough to finally send her over the edge? Or will going home be enough for Claire to finally start to heal?
The Drowning House is one of those stores with a real dark, Gothic feel. My heart ached for Claire from almost the very beginning of the book when we first learn that she lost her daughter. Then as the chapters go buy and you start to see the layers of her past peeled away and you feel even more for her. Her life has been far from easy and it isn't until she returns to Galveston that some of the truths of her childhood start to come to light. It was very tough to read at times, I will warn you.
Bottom line, The Drowning House is very much a "hometown" kind of novel. Residents or even visitors of Galveston are likely to recognize the landscape and maybe even some of the landmarks mentioned in the book. While Claire's story is one of heartbreak and tragedy, it is also a story of survival and even redemption. Certainly one not to be missed.