Land of Love and Drowning
By Tiphanie Yanique
Riverhead July 2014
From the library
Sisters Anette and Eeona Bradshaw find themselves caught up in a great wave of change, both for their nation and for their family. The Virgin Islands have just been transferred to American rule and the Bradshaw family is about to change forever, as their father's closely-held secrets come to light. Land of Love and Drowning follows these two beautiful and very different sisters as they seek love, discover the power of magic, and try to outwit fate.
If I have to summarize this book, I will say that is unlike anything I have ever read before. There were parts of the book when I felt distinctly uncomfortable and sections when I shook my head in frustration at the stubbornness or selfishness of these characters. But I couldn't stop reading.
This book strikes the perfect balance between magic and reality. Magic permeates every aspect of this story, of their Caribbean culture, and of the family's history. The beauty of the sisters is both protection and a sign to the people around them that this family is not like everyone else. Simultaneously, the characters are dealing with the joys and sorrows of life. The men in Anette and Eeona's lives leave them behind to defend their countries, to chase their dreams, and to run from their mistakes. The sisters struggle to care for themselves and their family as the world around them changes rapidly. There is a sense of unease that runs through the novel as the Islands change from forces that its inhabitants can't fight.
Tiphanie Yanique has written an incredible debut novel that will open your eyes to the struggles of those with power and those with none. It will make you question whether we can escape the things that have been planned for us or are destined to make the mistakes of our ancestors all over again. Yanique's writing itself seems to have something of Carribean magic itself as she deftly pulls you into the story of the Bradshaw family and the beautiful, magical Virgin Islands.