6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A fascinating, surprising, gripping first novel,
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This review is from: BENEATH THE WATERY MOON (horror suspense books) (Kindle Edition)
Betsy Reavley's Beneath the Watery Moon is a really fascinating, gripping first novel. It crosses genres in an interesting way, reading like romance-horror. This makes sense when you consider the mind of the narrator, Annabelle.
I don't want to give any spoilers, but my view is that she is an unreliable narrator. She says at the start "I wasn't ashamed of my insanity". If she doesn't take her medication, she suffers from paranoid delusions. My view is that beginning in Part 2 and all through Part 3, we see her paranoia (that had once seen her imagine being pursued by the Taliban) take hold as she stops taking her medication. She is not being persecuted by an external figure, rather she is hallucinating the persecution that her mental illness tells her she deserves. Abandoned by her father in childhood, she still imagines in vain that a 'Dada' can save her from the monster, the living death of her own mania.
I wonder if she is imagining Jude as well? I wanted to believe he was real, I wanted him to ride in to the rescue at the end, freeing her, holding her. But with his oil paintings and benevolent paternalism, I think he represents the father/lover figure that Annabelle dreams of finding, who will rescue her from herself, that she can never find. When she finds happiness with him, she writes "I feel like I should wake up now to find this has been a dream". It's a commonplace thing to say, but has extra meaning when uttered by someone with Annabelle's disturbed history. But he is a dream too. Even she can't quite believe he could help her, since a wedding ring would be like "cold metal shackles".
I found this book shocking and surprising, and really quite original. Perfect for all fans of Mills & Boon and Hostel!