Palace of the Drowned by Christine Mangan (Review by Lara Ferguson)

1 min read

Rating: 3/5

Frankie is a novelist, searching for escape and hoping for inspiration. After a disappointing novel and a particularly pointed review, Frankie finds herself in a sort of emotional/mental breakdown, unable to recover. A friend offers her a vacant palazzo in Venice, the perfect place to recover and begin to write again….or is it?

From the first moment, the reader is unsettled, uncomfortable in the knowledge that there is some underlying mystery, some truth that has not been revealed. It is clear that Frankie is struggling with herself, her craft, and perhaps her sanity. Enter Gilly, who seems to just appear, with an implausible story of how she came to be there and the true intrigue begins.

The reader’s discomfort increases as the narrative continues, as it is never clear what the next turn will expose–lies are exposed, questions half-answered. Something deeper is going on, and the author, Christine Mangan, draws the reader in, never divulging too much, giving just enough to demand reading further.

The characters in Palace of the Drowned are complex and interesting, and seen through Frankie’s eyes, often seem to have somewhat sinister motives. Their interactions contribute to the tense, uncomfortable intrigue created by the author and result in events that will heartbreakingly alter their lives.

Thought-provoking and complex, Palace of the Drowned, takes on the madness of art and ambition.

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