The Caging at Deadwater Manor
On a cold, January evening, fourteen-year-old Jeannie Kynde is told that her beloved mother drowned in the murky waters along Florida's Gulf Coast. Her distraught father turns on Jeannie, no longer the caring father she once knew.
Four years later, Jeannie is finally old enough to escape her father's clutches, but he has different plans. He imprisons her at Deadwater Manor, a psychiatric hospital with an unscrupulous past.
Will she be locked away forever? Or can she fight against the nightmare that has now become her world?
Jeannie Kynde has had it bad the last few years. The tragic drowning death of her mother, coupled with a partial hearing loss as a result of a sports-related accident, has made her the brunt of her father’s anger. When she hits her eighteenth birthday, she wants nothing more than to jump in her car – which her father gave her for the occasion – and never look back.
Before she has a chance to leave, however, Jeannie’s father tells her that her beloved aunt has been committed at the spooky mental hospital known as Deadwater Manor. A friendly visit, however, turns into a full-on committal, and Jeannie’s life downshifts into a level of hell she never could have imagined. Despite her protestations of sanity, she is subjected to the most appalling behavior, and all with freedom lingering so tantalizingly close out her window.
Her brother, her friends don’t even know she’s there. Everything seems stacked against her. But is all as it truly appears?
What I loved:
The cover, for starters. It’s wonderfully creepy, and sets the tone of the book perfectly.
The author’s writing style is very descriptive, which is great because the entire story is told in deep POV. Seeing the story unfold through Jeannie’s eyes allows it to develop at a very organic pace. We feel the intense pain of her horrific treatment, especially at the hands of the two people who seem determined to make her stay at Deadwater as miserable as possible – one who is just plain cruel, and one who is the very definition of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
There are incongruities within the story, but these actually work to the story’s advantage, not its detriment. Is what Jeannie is seeing, and what is being described to us, truly what’s happening, or is there something going on beneath the surface that is not readily apparent? Is Jeannie truly mentally ill, and her horrific treatment just an exaggerated figment of her twisted psyche? That’s just it … we don’t know, and that made me want to keep turning pages. A revelation near the end really threw me for a loop, and I love it when I don’t see a plot twist coming.
What I didn’t love:
The pacing of the story did drag, particularly in the middle of the story. Every chapter brought a new form of torment (at least from Jeannie’s eyes), which alternately made me want to throttle the ones responsible and made me wonder how much more she, and I, would have to endure before something changed, or was resolved.
The story is supposedly based on true events, and while I’m sure many hospitals of this nature employ people who are either apathetic about their jobs or enjoy the sense of power it gives them over other people, I sincerely hope that the grotesquely appalling behavior exhibited by the two main antagonists is not a common thing.
My Final Verdict:
This is not the easiest book to read, and there are copious amounts of swearing and uncomfortable sexual situations. Because of this, I would recommend this read for ages seventeen and up. There were also several spelling errors that I was surprised were not caught in the editing phase of development.
I would definitely recommend The Caging at Deadwater Manor. If the cover doesn’t pull you in, the story will. It is a heart-rending tale of abuse, grief, self-identity, and hope that has enough meat on its bones to keep you interested from start to finish.