Graveyard of Lost Children
by Katrina Monroe
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Pub Date 09 May 2023 | Archive Date 16 May 2023
"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 for They Drown Our Daughters
ONCE SHE HAS HER GRIP ON YOU, SHE'LL NEVER LET YOU GO.
At four months old, Olivia Dahl was almost murdered. Driven by haunting visions, her mother became obsessed with the idea that Olivia was a changeling, and that the only way to get her real baby back was to make a trade with the "dead women" living at the bottom of the well. Now Olivia is ready to give birth to a daughter of her own...and for the first time, she hears the women whispering.
Everyone tells Olivia she should be happy. She should be glowing, but the birth of her daughter only fills Olivia with dread. As Olivia's body starts giving out, slowly deteriorating as the baby eats and eats and eats, she begins to fear that the baby isn't her daughter at all and, despite her best efforts, history is repeating itself.
Soon images of a black-haired woman plague Olivia's nightmares, drawing her back to the well that almost claimed her life—tying mother and daughter together in a desperate cycle of fear and violence that must be broken if Olivia has any hope of saving her child...or herself.
Baby Teeth meets The Invited in a haunting story of the sometimes-fragile connection between a woman's sense of self and what it means to be a "good" mother.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 22 members
I received an ARC from Netgalley in return for an honest review. On that note, I was honestly engrossed, unnerved, and moved.
"She'd liked listening to podcasts like this because, though the stories were awful, they felt like preparation. The more she listened, the more she learned. The more she learned, the better she could protect herself. Now she knew that was ridiculous. There was nothing that could protect you from the world. Nothing that could protect you for the ways the world, and your own body, would betray you."
Olivia just had a baby with her wife, Kris. She'd been raised by her grandparents after her mother attempted to murder her as an infant.er grandmother wasn't particularly maternal. Olivia soon has reason to fear that whatever, or whoever, plagued her mother is coming for her. We're told this story from Olivia's POV, but also through journal entries from her mother, Shannon. For various reasons, neither is a reliable narrator.
I chose not to have children, but you can't be perceived as being a woman without fully understanding what's expected of mothers. In fact, the choice to not have children instantly gives you a failing grade. But if you do have them, then the real pressure begins.
Stephen King writes in Danse Macabre that the real horror in Amityville Horror is economic unease. The house is a money pit, destroying the family financially. "Here is a movie for every woman who ever wept over a plugged-up toilet or a spreading water stain on the ceiling from the upstairs shower; for every man who ever ever did a slow burn when the weight of the snow cause this gutters to give way; for every child who every jammed his fingers and felt that the door or window that did the jamming was out to get him." ... "Think of the bills," a woman sitting behind me in the theater moaned at one point ... but I suspect it was her bills she was thinking about."
The real horror in Graveyard is maternal/parental unease more than the supernatural angle. Giving birth starts the ultimate gamble -- of mind, body, and spirit, and the fun is just beginning. Will the child be healthy? Happy? Not set fire to the neighborhood pets? What is the instinct to love the child that we're supposed to all have just doesn't show up? What does it mean if you can't nurse? Nothing and perhaps everything. And almost always one parent is the primary caregiver for a variety of factors, societal and practical/
Olivia has questions and fears, nursing is agony, and everyone is wondering if she might be prone to do what HER mother did. As she struggles, she wonders that too, and feels safe telling no one. A black-haired woman is stalking her that no one else sees? Who would you tell if you suspect your baby is an imposter? And who would you tell if you were her if your mother were institutionalized for the same beliefs?
The book is about fear, pressure, pain, doubt, postpartum depression and psychosis. Child or not, if you suffer from depression, anxiety, and/or intrusive thoughts, the black-haired woman comes with her own soundtrack, and that soundtrack is "Hello, darkness, my old friend."
This is a heavy read, and I had to balance it with a romance novel. I didn't think anything could top They Drown Our Daughters in terms of angst, but Katrina Monroe actually succeeded in this book upping the ante. Please be advised in case the topics Graveyard concerns are detrimental to your well-being.
Like They Drown Our Daughters, for all the fear and pain, it's also a story about mothers and daughters, and the choices we make in the name of those bonds.
4.5 stars. The resolution, if I'm going to nitpick, seemed a bit rushed.
this was such a beautifully done story, it was hauntingly beautiful and did everything that I was hoping for. It had a tense atmosphere and I was on the edge of my seat from the start. The plot worked so well and I was enjoying the journey through this book. The characters were interesting and left me thinking. I really enjoyed the way Katrina Monroe wrote this and look forward to more from the author.
"The baby went suddenly silent. Olivia’s skin crawled as she realized—the baby was listening. A familiar eerie feeling crept up through Olivia’s body where it settled like a spider in her chest, legs twitching between her nerves. This was how she’d felt at the hospital, that first night when the shadows from her nightmares had slipped through the dark and into her waking world. “Must’ve been a nightmare,” Mark said. His face was pale."
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