The Drowning House

  • by Elizabeth Black
  • Narrated by Ann Marie Lee
  • 11 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A gripping suspense story about a woman who returns to Galveston, Texas after a personal tragedy and is irresistibly drawn into the insular world she’s struggled to leave.
Photographer Clare Porterfield's once-happy marriage is coming apart, unraveling under the strain of a family tragedy. When she receives an invitation to direct an exhibition in her hometown of Galveston, Texas, she jumps at the chance to escape her grief and reconnect with the island she hasn't seen for ten years. There Clare will have the time and space to search for answers about her troubled past and her family's complicated relationship with the wealthy and influential Carraday family.
Soon she finds herself drawn into a century-old mystery involving Stella Carraday. Local legend has it that Stella drowned in her family's house during the Great Hurricane of 1900, hanged by her long hair from the drawing room chandelier. Could Stella have been saved? What is the true nature of Clare's family's involvement? The questions grow like the wildflower vines that climb up the walls and fences of the island. And the closer Clare gets to the answers, the darker and more disturbing the truth becomes.

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What the Critics Say

"A fine debut ... Black mythologizes this landscape, evoking its essence and that of its inhabitants, creating a novel that is far more than the sum of its parts." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"Prepare to be lost in Elizabeth Black's Galveston. Strange, mysterious, and utterly riveting, The Drowning House is a captivating mystery as well as a beautifully realized story about grief that skillfully evokes the heat, humidity, and languid desire that pervade Gulf Coast life."(Michelle Richmond, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Fog)
"As dark and gleaming as a ruby, Elizabeth Black’s suspenseful debut limns the slippery nature of truth surrounding a shocking tragedy, with language so exquisite you’ll be underlining phrases." (Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You.)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very predictable

How could the performance have been better?

Speed up the narration. I had to speed up my listening equipment to keep from nodding off.


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- JAB "Jak"

From excitement to apathy

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, but only certain people that I know would like this type of "home is where the hate is," type book.


What did you like best about this story?

The complex group of characters with complicated relationships, most doomed from the start, highlighted by the sadly tainted Stella and her heartbreaking history. The author weaves, the tugs at the thread to unravel the secrets binding the characters both dead and living.


Which character – as performed by Ann Marie Lee – was your favorite?

I most liked the elderly lady who was sick, whom the main female character visited to get information and just to get out of the oppressive quicksand atmosphere on the rest of the island.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not really.


Any additional comments?

The book being set on an island in a culture that developed almost in an isolated setting with histories and secrets known only to islanders reminded me of my small hometown where you were either an insider or an outsider. They pretend to be nice to outsiders, but it never lasts long and often the welcome mat is rolled up and a net of viciousness can be dropped upon the unknowing stranger. I could relate very well to this part. I was away from my small town for years and when I returned, I was treated almost as an outsider. It was not a pleasant experience. Oh, and my town is not an island, its a land-locked wide spot in the road in Northeast Texas!

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- Paige "Listening to books is the way I separate from the stress of being an attorney. I enjoy fiction, mystery thrillers, an occasional romance, and books about cutting edge medicine and science. I was a History major so that is always interesting too."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-15-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio