Review of Weep, Woman, Weep – a Fantasy, gothic, magical realism by Maria DeBlassie
A compelling gothic fairytale by bruja and award-winning writer Maria DeBlassie.
The women of Sueño, New Mexico don’t know how to live a life without sorrows. That’s La Llorona’s doing. She roams the waterways looking for the next generation of girls to baptize, filling them with more tears than any woman should have to hold. And there’s not much they can do about the Weeping Woman except to avoid walking along the riverbank at night and to try to keep their sadness in check. That’s what attracts her to them: the pain and heartache that gets passed down from one generation of women to the next.
Mercy knows this, probably better than anyone. She lost her best friend to La Llorona and almost found a watery grave herself. But she survived. Only she didn’t come back quite right and she knows La Llorona won’t be satisfied until she drags the one soul that got away back to the bottom of the river.
In a battle for her life, Mercy fights to break the chains of generational trauma and reclaim her soul free from ancestral hauntings by turning to the only things that she knows can save her: plant medicine, pulp books, and the promise of a love so strong not even La Llorona can stop it from happening. What unfolds is a stunning tale of one woman’s journey into magic, healing, and rebirth.
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Excerpt from Weep, Woman, Weep
I am built for tears.
It’s in my blood. The women in my family didn’t know how to have a life without sorrows. If they couldn’t find any, they made them.
I was always finding ways to punish myself if I got too happy. I’d get excited about the paperbacks— bodice rippers, mostly—that I’d buy from the used bookstore on the corner of Main Street, and if I liked the ending of one too much, I’d throw it out. Couldn’t do with too much happiness in the house.
We were not allowed the things that made us want to rise up like sunflowers. Our mothers weren’t allowed them, so we couldn’t have them either. My mom used to hide her secret chocolate stash in one of the rusty tin cans she collected, always half-cutting herself when she reached in for something sweet. It was like she couldn’t taste the melty goodness without reminding herself that the world was full of sharp, ugly things. Suppose that’s where I got it from.
When I look back on things, I always remember the way she seemed to shrink with age. She had the thin bones and pale face of the Spanish—something I hadn’t inherited with my tall frame and tan skin. She always looked frailer than she was somehow, like the years working at the local diner slowly ate away at her.
She didn’t used to be that way.
I have this memory of her from when I was very young. She looked so fresh and happy, hanging the laundry up on the line, the wind whipping through her hair and kicking up her skirt as she sang her cantos. I mean, she was all sunshine and freshly washed sheets. She had this knack, too, for growing things. Like she could just reach down and touch the earth and know what it needed. That was before I knew about all the bruises and heartache hidden under a buttoned-up dress. Before he left her with a pile of bills and loneliness and me.
I didn’t know my father, but I didn’t like what he left behind, so I was glad I never had to look at him. All I knew was one day she had me, inherited a small adobe house on a couple acres of land next to the Bosque—we were all that was left of our family—and spent the rest of her life trying to keep that roof over our heads and men from the house.
I used to stay awake at night, trying to figure out ways not to turn out like that.
My Review of Weep, Woman, Weep
This is a thought-provoking read that took me some time to get into. The underlying messages of being willing to change before you see change around you came across strongly, but I struggled with the opening lines and mood. I also thought this was set in the far past until rather late into the book—there were a lot of references to how things were back then, which wasn’t as “back then” as it seemed to me. Overall, I wound up liking this and think it would resonate strongly with people who’ve ever felt powerless.
I don’t want to spoil or offer too many of my thoughts on the themes. This is the type of story that should meet everyone where they are and help them at whatever stage they need help. I will say that the idea of passed-down sadness is one I’ve never truly understood. I’ve heard stories of hardship a ways up my family tree, but the idea of letting the strife of my great-great grandmother affect my life is just not something I can fathom. It’s not a matter of forgetting the past or not giving credit to those who survived. More that I feel the best tribute is living well and happily in the wake of those who paved the way for me to do so.
I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who finds it interesting, and even to those who don’t. I was able to see through Mercy’s eyes and experience a situation that is different to me. Most importantly, though, I was able to critically think about differences in how people view the world and a situation, and that’s one of the best things a book can do—make me think. Mercy represents things I don’t necessarily prescribe to or have experience with, but that’s okay because we all have our individual struggles, something this book digs deeply into.
About Maria DeBlassie
Dr. Maria DeBlassie is a native New Mexican mestiza and award-winning writer and educator living in the Land of Enchantment. She writes about everyday magic, ordinary gothic, and all things witchy. When she is not practicing brujeria, she’s teaching classes about bodice rippers, modern mystics, and things that go bump in the night. She is forever looking for magic in her life and somehow always finding more than she thought was there. Find out more about Maria and conjuring everyday magic at www.mariadeblassie.com.
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Maria DeBlassie will be awarding a copy of the book (ebook for International winner/signed paperback for US Only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.