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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Some secrets are better left at the bottom of the ocean. Sixteen-year-old Bridey Corkill longs to leave her small island and see the world; the farther from the sea, the better. When Bridey was young, she witnessed something lure her granddad off a cliff and into a watery grave with a smile on his face. Now, in 1913, those haunting memories are dredged to the surface when a young woman is found drowned on the beach. Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her Granddad to leap has made its return to the Isle of Man. Soon, people in Bridey’s idyllic village begin vanishing, and she finds an injured boy on the shore—an outsider who can’t remember who he is or where he’s from. Bridey’s family takes him in so he can rest and heal. In exchange for saving his life, he teaches Bridey how to master her fear of the water—stealing her heart in the process. But something sinister is lurking in the deep, and Bridey must gather her courage to figure out who—or what—is plaguing her village…

Fear The Drowning Deep

by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Overall Book Review:

Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh combines a nice blend of fairy tale and ghost story in a novel about Bridey Corkill, a girl from the Isle of Man who lives with her family near the sea and has a fisherman for a father. But ironically, Bridey herself fears the waters, ever since she saw her grandfather leap to his death while following the lure of a sea monster’s song.

For the most part, Bridey is an engaging character. She comes from a fairly big family of four girls, and she has a good deal of spunk and determination. When the body of an unknown girl washes up on shore, it starts gossip brewing in the town about a time a few years past when girls were lured to their deaths in the salty water. Soon after, Bridey discovers an injured boy on the beach, just as unknown and mysterious as the drowned girl, and with no memory of his name or where he’s from. With the boy’s arrival, though, other girls start vanishing, until Bridey starts to wonder what kinds of creatures lurk within the waters of the deeps.

I confess; I had a hard time getting into this book. The first half was a bit slow, and I couldn’t connect with Bridey. She felt a little too modern for the time, and not an authentically 1913 Manx girl. The romance scenes felt a little dramatic, as though the story had been written primarily for those scenes. But the climax was well done, with a lot of tension and drama built up, and the finale was worthy of praise.

I recommend this book for older young adult readers because some of the romantic content is a bit mature for younger readers, though never graphic, and the scenes with the various sea monsters can be a bit intense, especially the final scene.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Sky Pony Press

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  3 religious exclamations; 3 mild obscenities.

Violence/Gore:  Characters are found drowned; a character is said to have committed suicide; characters have nightmares; a character describes a past storm; characters are reported missing; A character confesses to being afraid of someone; characters joke that someone will use their bones in a spell; characters sometimes verbally argue or shout; characters are reported missing; a character wonders at the strange creature in the water; a character is afraid of the water; a character steps on a sharp object, with some description of blood and injury; a characters slips and falls; character cuts her finger on glass; a character finds an injured boy; character speaks about another’s injuries; character has a maimed foot; character tells stories of frightening creatures; character reports getting injured in a hunter’s trap; character is disturbed by her mother’s paintings; a badly wounded character chases after someone; character confesses hunting and drowning people; character is roughly grabbed; character threatens to kill another; character is tempted to commit suicide; character accuses another of killing girls; character tells how she injured an appendage; character recollects probing someone’s wounds while checking for infection; characters discuss how to kill monsters; character relates how he used to hunt girls; character relates having a fight and being left for dead; character accidentally hits someone with a willow wand; two characters fight and punch each other; character is accused of being a murderer; character is lured into the water; character challenges a monster; character is stabbed; character is scratched; a monster is described as bursting into pieces (a little disturbing, but not overly graphic); character relates the lure of a sea creature’s song; bodies are found on the shore; characters frequently discuss drownings and deaths; characters plan to poison something; character is accused of criminal activity; character is arrested; characters are threatened with a rifle; character kicks another; character tests a poison’s effectiveness on a rat; character describes a monster’s power; character goes onto the ocean in high wounds; a character hears someone scream; a character’s leg is broken, with some description of the wounds; character reports being caught and dragged underwater; characters are tricked by a sea creature; characters battle a monster; character attack and are attacked by a monster, with some description of the creature’s appearance; a character gouges a monster’s eye with a “sickening pop”; a character sees one monster bite another, with some description of blood; two characters disappear underwater; a character is presumed dead; the body of a sea beast washes up on shore.

Sex/Nudity:  Characters often hold hands; characters joke that a person has run off with someone; characters wonder if someone will return to her husband with a baby and an explanation; a character puts his arm around a girl; a character is found naked (not overly sexual); some characters discuss another’s nakedness (not overly sexual); a character sleeps with his head in a girl’s lap (not sexual); a character sometimes thinks about kissing, being kissed, past kisses; a character jokingly wonders if someone will “taste as good as he looks”; a character is claimed to have kissed twelve lads over the summer; a character makes a joke about someone being too busy delivering babies; a character plans to meet up with her sweetheart later in the evening; a character sometimes thinks back to seeing someone naked (not overly sexual); a character changes a male character’s bandages; a character’s heart skips “a beat” when a male character touches her (not overly sexual, but sexual tension throughout the scene); a character suspects another of being a paramour; characters frequently touch; a character rubs her hand on another’s back; a character puts his hands on a girl’s shoulders; a character teaches someone to swim, and a male character supports the female character (not overly sexual, but sexual tension is high throughout); characters kiss passionately; characters confess they care about each other; a character remembers the taste and feeling of a kiss; a character wears a swimsuit and is described as “bare-chested but for his bandages”; a character is described as “naked as the day I found him” (not overly sexual); a character claims to eat breakfast in the nude; the blood of two characters mixed together controlled someone’s animalistic urges; a characters wants to touch someone’s scars; a character relates someone was with child; a character calls someone beautiful; a character inhales another’s cologne smell; a wedding couple kiss; characters relate a superstitious custom that allow them to dream of their future husbands; characters dance at a wedding; a character pretends she’ll wed another; a creature caresses a character’s cheek; a character swims bare-chested to another’s rescue; a character confesses to a past love.

Mature Subject Matter:

Gossip, suicide, slander, shapeshifters, accusation of witchcraft, paranormal, death, drowning, pregnancy.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A character’s breath smells of whiskey; characters use salve on wounds; a character drinks “from his bottle”; a character reeks of whiskey; characters take whiskey in their tea; a character drinks whiskey for the first time; characters plan to poison another; a character goes into a tavern; characters are drinking in a tavern; characters share a glass of ale; alcohol is served at a wedding; a character drinks a mug of ale.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Fantasy is my bread and butter. I read and write it. I’m obsessed with world-building and fascinated with lyrical prose. I love that I can contribute to the writing community by recommending good books that can actually make a difference in a person’s life.