I recently finished The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. I have to say, I was bored for a while. I was interested enough to continue with the story, but I wasn’t invested in the characters by any means..until I met Hazel.
The book is set in the small harbor town of Sparrow. The legend of the Swan Sisters runs rampant every year after the school year ends as it marks the beginning of Swan Season. 200 years prior, the Swan Sisters were sentenced to death and drowned in the harbor for being “witches.” Really, the towns women were jealous that their husbands were intrigued by the beautiful sisters.
Women, scold your men, don’t drown innocent women.
During the Swan Season, Sparrow is filled with tourists waiting to watch the curse of the sisters unfold. The legend says the sisters return each summer and inhabit the bodies of 3 of the girls from the town. The girls then choose at least 1 boy from the town to be their victim. They boy is found dead, drowned, in the harbor after coming in to contact with any of the girls inhabited by a Swan sister.
Marguerite is the first to strike, hating the people of Sparrow more than the others. Aurora is greedy, she’s known to take 2 boys at once so they can spend eternity with her in the murky harbor. Hazel takes 1 boy at random, but this season is different.
I love that Ernshaw chose to make one of the sisters want to stop being vengeful. Hazel decides that it is time for the Sister’s curse on the town to be over. For 3 consecutive years, she has chosen to inhabit Penny Talbot, the daughter of the Lighthouse owner that disappeared 3 years prior, that lives on the small Lumiere Island. Hazel’s former love, Owen, once lived on Lumiere Island, but he chose to drown with her on the day of her murder.
On the island she meets Bo, a young man that Penny offered shelter too in exchange for help maintaining the island. Hazel falls in love with Bo, Bo falls in love with “Penny.” Bo is in Sparrow to discover who drowned his brother, Kyle, the previous summer
To make a long blog post short, Bo finds out that Penny is Hazel, that Hazel killed Penny’s father as well as Bo’s brother, and that somehow, he is still capable of loving her. Hazel decides to end the curse once and for all by drowning herself and asking Bo to drag Penny’s body from the water afterwards so that she might live..
Ernshaw’s unexpected twist in her story by exposing Penny to be Hazel was a smart strategic move. I am also impressed that she chose to let Bo stay in love with Hazel. Overall. Ernshaw was able to turn my viewpoint from barely a 3 star read to a solid 4 star, or should I say 4 Swan read?? Moon read?? Oh, well, y’all get the point.