Hello, my name is Judith! Welcome to my blog, ReadandReview.
In a remote island community, Sara lives with her deeply religious elderly parents. Discouraged from building friendships in school, she leads a quiet, secluded life, but when the family is forced to take in four mysterious young cousins, Sara’s life soon turns tumultuous.
C.A. Wittman has lived in Hawaii since 1993, explaining her decision to set The Curse of Sara Douroux in Hawaii. This choice of setting was multi-cultural, interesting, well-described, and original, as most Gothic novels I have read are set in either suburban American towns or Victorian England. However, a book full of multicultural characters was at times confusing because some characters regularly switched between grammatically-correct English, broken English, and regional language, which was hard to read and understand.
The arrival of Sarah’s mysterious, vampire-like “cousins” is Wittman’s attempt to create a new kind of Gothic monster. This is an admirable effort, but it could have been improved by providing much clearer information about these creatures much earlier in the book. For most of the time, I was left confused at who Sara’s “cousins” really were, who Sara really was, and the significance of any of this. When I finally began to understand the legend and the horror of Sara’s “cousins” – or rather, when I thought I understood – I was at least ¾ of the way through the book, if not more. Consequently, I thought The Curse of Sara Douroux was a rather long read with little progression, which made it difficult to persevere and keep reading.
This was exacerbated by the many, many characters in this book which, in my opinion, “clogged” up the development of the plot. I struggled to remember their names, who they were, and what (if anything) they contributed to the story, and I think quite a few characters could have been removed entirely and the story would have remain unchanged.
The best part of The Curse of Sara Douroux is probably the ending, as it offers a more detailed, historical explanation behind Sara’s life and her supernatural “cousins”. However, I just wish we’d learnt these things sooner, as this would have provided clarity and suspense for the reader throughout the rest of the book.
Unfortunately, I was left disappointed by this book.
Star Rating: 2/5 Stars
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I acquired this book for free in exchange for a review via NetGalley and the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA).
Have you read this book? What did you think?
This post was last updated in January 2020.