Palace of the Drowned: Book summary and reviews of Palace of the Drowned by Christine Mangan

Palace of the Drowned

by Christine Mangan

Palace of the Drowned by Christine Mangan X
Palace of the Drowned by Christine Mangan
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jun 1, 2021
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A suspenseful, transporting literary thriller about a British novelist who heads to Venice after a public breakdown, by Christine Mangan, the bestselling author of Tangerine.

It's 1966 and Frankie Croy needs a break. Having achieved success with her debut bestseller, she's been trying desperately to live up to the high expectations of her editor and fans, only to fall short with each new book. When she receives a possible career-ending review and then has a very public breakdown, she retreats to her friend's vacant palazzo in Venice in the hopes the new setting will rejuvenate her creativity and inspire her writing.

But she finds that she's just as stuck. And then she meets a fellow British expat, a precocious young fan named Gilly who is eager to befriend her favorite author at all costs. An aspiring writer, Gilly worms herself into Frankie's Venetian life and the two begin an uneasy companionship. Frankie is skeptical of someone so relentlessly chipper, and Gilly tells stories that seem too good to be true, and in fact some of them are. This complicated web of desperate friendship, half-truths, and white lies―all set against a once-in-a-generation storm that inundates Venice and leaves it flooded―will lead Frankie to make a choice that is impossible to undo.

A gorgeously rendered and twisted tale of art and ambition, Palace of the Drowned is a literary thriller that asks just how far one is willing to go to achieve success.

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Reviews

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This information about Palace of the Drowned shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Reader Reviews

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Susan T. (Bahama, NC)

Well written and enjoyable
A slightly unstable author retreats to Venice following a very public scene in London. From there, the sinking city around her, the appearance of a supposed friend, the nonappearance of her actual friend who has chosen being with her husband over her, the mysterious, ghost-like neighbor and even a visit to the opera all foreshadow the inevitable ending. I enjoyed the connections to what was happening around Frankie to what was happening to Frankie. I thought the book was well written and enjoyable and recommend it.

Charlene D. (Saugus, MA)

Palace of the Drowned
A gothic thriller where place and weather are characters in the story. The book caught my interest in the first few pages and I finished it two days after I started it. It had just enough suspense to hold my interest - it wasn't overdone. I wasn't quite sure about the characters and I liked that about the book. It wasn't predictable. There was a familiar theme but then again it was different. There was a twist at the end and it didn't end the way I expected. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes this genre.

M K. (Minneapolis, MN)

Palace of the Drowned
This is a gripping novel that teases with knowing what happened but waiting to see if anyone else knows and what the consequences might be. British author Frankie Croy's first novel is met with unabashed success and her lucrative book contract for subsequent novels is not met with similar praise; and her latest novel has one scathing review left unsigned. This review magnifies what Frankie already feels, and like a sliver underneath a toenail, it is painful but without an easy remedy to extract the lingering after effects of this searing criticism.

She retreats to Venice, attempting to find the fire that catapulted her initial rise in the publishing world. While there, she is accosted by a young woman, Gilly, who says that she knows her, or her mother, who is an editor, knows her. This young woman is also a writer and wants to share her manuscript with Frankie, whom she has idolized since her rise in the literary world. Frankie reads it and finds it very modern without much of a narrative, and not wanting to crush this young woman's aspirations, says that it's not really her kind of book. Gilly says, however, that an editor has seen some of it and is going to publish it. And then, life gets very interesting.

From early on in the novel there is an underlying level of tension only increasing as the book progresses to the point where you can't put the book down until you finish it,

Shirley L. (Norco, LA)

Not a Page Turning Thriller- Better Than That
The back cover of this novel describes it as a fast paced thriller. It is not. Shortly after beginning this story I got impatient. Nothing was happening. I would have rated it only 2 or maybe 3 stars. Thrillers are action packed, fast paced. Rather this book was a beautiful character study of a very damaged protagonist in a incredibly gorgeously described setting. Multiple sentences were meant to be savored not rushed through. As I read more, I grew to love this story and yes the pace did pick up. This is not a quick snack of fast paced junk thrills but rather a delicious experience to be immersed in fully. I highly recommend.

Carmel B. (The Villages, FL)

Deluge of Delusion
Mangan's depiction of the unraveling of a mind is brilliant. The reader craves to the see the sunshine. but the flood waters keep rising, in Venice, in Rome, in London – and in the protagonist's (or is it the antagonist's) psyche. Readers are forced to remeasure how independence, perseverance, and self-control can be detriments to our well being and that of others. Is it possible to drown in our delusions about ourselves and those who love us? Gilly, Jack and Leonard are Frankie's gondolas of refuge, but she trudges along, ignoring even her own security whistle.

Norma R. (Secaucus, NJ)

Palace of the Drowned
This novel is both a character study and a dark tale. Story is set in 1966 and the central character is writer Frankie Croy. Locations switch between London and Venice. Frankie is in Venice recovering from a very public meltdown and severe writer's block. She meets an enigmatic young woman named Gilly. Gilly is hiding something and becomes obsessed with Frankie. The Venice location becomes an integral part of the story. Venice is like another character. Suspense builds throughout the book. Important events take place during the historic Venice flood of 1966. I recommend this book if you want to experience life in Venice and like suspense.

...17 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Christine Mangan

Christine Mangan is the author of the national bestseller, Tangerine. She has her PhD in English from University College Dublin, with a focus on 18th-century Gothic literature, and an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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