I chose this book after reading a journalist’s recommendation that it would be enjoyed by anyone who loved Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits. And I did LOVE that book!
This one however really doesn’t compare. Awarded three stars on Goodreads.
This is the author’s debut novel and it does have that same feeling of mysticism, where a combination of magic, legend, and island beliefs make you NOT quite sure what is real and what isn’t. But unlike Isabel Allende’s book, Author Tiphanie Yanique doesn’t offer any of the beautiful use of language Allende is known for. (Surprising, particularly since the author is also a poet.) Nor does Yanique draw you into caring much about the characters.
Land of Love and Drowning follows three generations of residents on the US Virgin Islands, during the first three-quarters of the 20th century. The author brings in significant historical events like the transfer of island ownership, two World Wars, and the American civil rights movement.
The story focuses on two sisters and their half-brother, from childhood to old age, as they navigate their lives in and around parental expectations and limitations, their own natural drives, and carefully kept family secrets. That sounds pretty intriguing. But somehow the way it’s put together didn’t grab me. Instead, I found myself looking forward to finishing the book and moving on to something better.
More about the author, Tiphanie Yanique.