Engrossing. Atmospheric. Foreboding. Mysterious.
This novel takes place at a boarding school (I love boarding school settings!) that was once a Home for fallen girls. The prestigious Haywood prep school houses students from wealthy families alongside students who earn their admittance through school scholarships. An eager and straight-A student begins an investigative report on female students who have gone missing since before the Home became an elite school. The investigation leads to the discovery and unraveling of long buried secrets and that students death.
I loved the atmosphere of this story. The small town and school grounds added so much foreboding tension and mystery to the plot. The characters were well developed – each one having a questionable aspect of their past that left me suspicious and curious. The mystery itself was highly intriguing and kept me fully engaged and invested until the end. While there were a few unrealistic plot points, the intense atmosphere and gripping mystery made up for it.
This was a novel I truly enjoyed being wrapped up in.
The Sea of Lost Girls was a good one to squeeze in between those intense, exciting reads that send my heart rate through the roof. However, I do feel some depth of the story was missed by the story being told to us.
There are some heavy themes here with power and control between men and women and toxic masculinity with a mystery full of secrets from the past and spinning lies. Our main character Tess is an unlikeable unreliable narrator with secrets from her past that she has hidden with lies. At times I wonder how she could keep track of them all while keeping them spinning. However, there is plenty of backstories told to us and then repeated when a new reveal is the present came up to help keep track of everything.
Carol Goodman weaves in myths, legends, stories, and a play to layer in the themes of power and control however, I feel it missed the mark with the depth needed by telling us so much of the story instead of revealing parts of the past as the story progresses.
Overall I thought it was an easier read with some dark realities surrounding control and power over women while representing women well.
This is a title from our Edelweiss backlist, and Lindsay and I hope to knock a couple off before the end of the year!