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Storms of Malhado

Storms of Malhado Storms of Malhado by Maria Elena Sandovici
My rating: 4 of 5 stars 
Galveston Island, Texas, September 2008
Katie doesn’t believe in ghosts.
And she certainly doesn’t believe the rumors that her family’s home is haunted, despite its tragic history: two young women who lived there in different eras died in hurricanes – one during Hurricane Carla in 1961, one during the Great Storm of 1900, the greatest natural disaster to befall the United States.
But that was the past. A fact Katie reminds herself of when she returns to Galveston to await Hurricane Ike with her parents and boyfriend in her family’s Broadway mansion, hoping to rekindle her flailing relationship. While Katie is not afraid of the ghost stories she’s heard, she is afraid of the monster storm approaching. As even die-hard Islanders evacuate, her fears grow. Fear of the looming hurricane. Fear that she’s talentless as a painter. Fear that her relationship with her boyfriend is already over. As Katie struggles against her fears, the past whispers to her of the women who died there, and the haunting similarities they share with Katie’s own life.
Through three different timelines, Storms of Malhado weaves a story of Galveston’s past, underscoring its danger and isolation, as well as its remarkable resilience, its capacity for both nostalgia and reinvention. Full of contradictions, at once insular and open to the world, Galveston Island is as much a character of the novel as Katie, Suzanne, Betty, their lovers, and their confidantes.

                                                                          Book Review
Three lives. Three chances. Three storms.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I honestly wasn't quite sure if I would like it. I chose to review it because, I thought it would be a fun way to visit a place, Galveston, where I spent many a summer as a child and two I wanted to read this ghostly story. If you know a little of Galveston's history, you know it is rife with Ghost or ghostly tales. How exactly would the author weave a story that has romance, ghosts, and three significant hurricanes to make landfall in Texas - The Great Storm of 1900, Hurricane Carla and, Hurricane Ike?

Well, color me surprised when the story truly turned out to be about reincarnation, not a ghost or three. The story opens with Katie, her parents, and her boyfriend all gathering at their mansion in Galveston to weather Hurricane Ike in 2008. Katie is a bit neurotic, but not really sure why. Katie's father believed the mansion was haunted, but neither Katie nor her mother had ever experienced any such thing. My overactive Gemini mind kept coming up with different scenarios, but none so fantastic as the reality. In meeting the three women- Suzanne, Betty & Katie-at the center of this story, we find that they all have some interesting similarities. They were all artists. They all wanted men who were unobtainable. They were all wildly dissatisfied with their lives. Suzanne wanted more than the confines of high society. Betty wanted more than her mundane existence. Katy just wanted something.. anything that stopped her anxiety and grounded her.

I like that the author left these little bread crumbs of familiarity for the reader to pick up. My favorite was "He's no good for me. He's no good for himself." I swear it's something that I've said in my own life. Each woman had a female counterpart that coddled and pacified her on some level. I also like that as I read I would go on google and refresh my memory of certain real-life events i.e. the devastation each Hurricane inflicted in Southeast Texas. I absolutely loved how the author revealed the connection between all three stories and their characters.

Now what didn't work for me on any level was the ending. Yes. My questions were answered, but I was enjoying the ride and it seemed to put together. Hmmm, I'll probably think of a better term once I've sat with it some more.

All in all, this was a good read that moved quickly and transitioned well, which can be hard to do when constantly switching time periods. The story was simply well written. The story also had the added benefit of touching on a few elements that added realism to the story like interracial relationships, racism, and adultery. I would recommend this story to anyone.

This book was on tour recently with Lone Star Book Blog Tours. See my post here.

                                                                                   View all my reviews


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