This is an atmospheric story about the things that lurk within us, the traumas that live in our bones and the places we’re from, and the apparitions that come to collect the grievances we’ve caused.
It starts with a woman who kidnaps two children to save them. From there, it becomes a novel about mothers, about the nightmares that haunt them for the things they’ve done and the things they didn’t, for the people they’ve hurt, for hurting themselves. This novel is a dark reckoning of choices, every one of them fraught with life.
When Evelyn Van Pelt returns home with two children who are not her own, she discovers that deeply held secrets always rise to the surface.
On a cold November night, Evelyn Van Pelt steals her roommate’s two underfed and neglected little girls from their beds and drives to the northwestern hometown she fled fourteen years earlier-Cormorant Lake. There, hidden in the mountains and woods, dense with fog and the cold of winter, Evelyn grapples with the guilt of what she’s done, and as she attempts to reconcile her wild independence with the responsibilities of parenthood, she reconnects with the two women who raised her-her foster mother, Nan, and her biological mother, Jubilee. But by coming home, she has set in motion a series of events that will revive the decades-old tragedy that haunts Cormorant Lake-and lead her to confront the high cost of protecting her secret.
At once fantastical and deeply rooted in the natural world, Faith Merino’s deeply affecting and spirited debut novel explores the shape of family, the enduring bonds of friendship, and the imperfections of motherhood-messy and beautiful, instinctive and learned, temporal but permanently life-altering.