Book Review: Inland by Kat Rosenfield

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A modern fairy tale in the truest sense, Inland by Kat Rosenfield is a dark story, filled with family trauma, inner growth, and the undeniable, sometimes deadly pull of the sea.

InlandThe psychological labyrinth of a young woman’s insidious connection to the sea, from the Edgar Award nominated author of Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone.

Callie Morgan has long lived choked by the failure of her own lungs, the result of an elusive pulmonary illness that has plagued her since childhood. A childhood marked early by the drowning death of her mother—a death to which Callie was the sole witness. Her father has moved them inland, away from the memories of the California coast her mother loved so much and toward promises of recovery—and the escape of denial—in arid, landlocked air.

But after years of running away, the promise of a life-changing job for her father brings Callie and him back to the coast, to Florida, where Callie’s symptoms miraculously disappear. For once, life seems delightfully normal. But the ocean’s edge offers more than healing air … it holds a magnetic pull, drawing Callie closer and closer to the chilly, watery embrace that claimed her mother. Returned to the ocean, Callie comes of age and comes into a family destiny that holds generations of secrets and very few happy endings.

As I discovered in her debut novel Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, Kat Rosenfield has a true gift for words. Her writing is exquisitely beautiful – so much so, that it is often enough just to marvel over the intricate delicacy of her prose. The words she selects, the descriptions she crafts, her careful turn of a phrase. It is all so elegant.

But as if that weren’t enough, Rosenfield has crafted a stunning portrait of contemporary fantasy. A book with its feet rooted firmly in the real world – but sprinkled with little dashes of magic so lovely and subtle, it’s hard to tell where the book falls in the genre spectrum. (Is it magic realism? Maybe. Maybe not.) Inland is just a lovely twist on a myth that has fascinated readers for centuries — and, as this book proves, continues to do so today.

Rosenfield captures your attention from the very first page, as a woman fights to resist an unnatural lure of the sea … and continues to pull you under, as we meet Callie. We feel her struggle to breathe, and sigh in relief along with her as her lungs begin to work again. As she discovers a peace in the water, and the same pull of the sea that was her mother’s undoing.

Captivating from start to finish, Inland is a book you will find hard to resist and even harder to put down once you’ve started reading. It is in stores June 12th.


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