Monday, March 9, 2015

G555 Book Review of Cauchemar by Alexandra Grigorescu

Name of Book: Cauchemar

Author: Alexandra Grigorescu


Publisher: ECW Press

Type of book: spirits, orishas, Louisiana swamp, birth, death, love, parenthood, secrets, dreams, nightmares, thin line, crossroads

Year it was published: 2015


An eerie and romantic Southern gothic drama

Gripping, fast-paced, gorgeously written, and with unforgettable characters, Cauchemar tells the story of 20-year-old Hannah, who finds herself living alone on the edge of a Louisianan swamp after her adopted mother and protector dies. Hannah falls in love with Callum, an easy-going boat captain and part-time musician, but after her mysterious birth mother, outcast as a witch and rumoured to commune with the dead, comes back into Hannah’s life, she must confront what she’s been hiding from — the deadly spirits that haunt the swamp, the dark secrets of her past, and the nascent gift she possesses.

Like the nightmares that plague Hannah, Cauchemar lingers and haunts.


The author develops and focuses a lot of attention on Callum, Hannah and Christobelle as well as Hannah's friend Sarah Anne. Callum is a talented musician and a boat captain who grew up in a city and is used to city life. Yet he is giving, sweet, and tries to really take care of Hannah. Hannah is a twenty year old woman who has a complicated past with spirits and family. She is sweet, reckless, determined and brave. Christobelle is Hannah's biological mother who has made some bad choices and seems to be broken rather than alive. Sarah Anne is a popular childhood friend of Hannah's who has an ill brother and a friendly yet seductive personality.


Believe it or not, I did struggle in understanding what the story is about, and its up to each reader to take away whatever message they can; message I took away from it is that birth and  death are very monumental events, and they can make or break people.


The story is in third person narrative from Hannah's point of view, and at the moment I cannot recall if other characters also present their points of view? What I loved and found startling about it is that in some ways it seems similar to a Chinese classic I've read and reviewed; Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin. In beginning there is a very strange atmosphere of dreams and happiness between Callum and Hannah, but then little by little ugliness appears and begins to destroy the dream until they are plunged into a nightmare they cannot understand.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Alexandra Grigorescu has a Master's degree in creative writing from the University of Toronto. She lives in Toronto. This is her debut novel.


First of all, I had no idea what the title meant, and I never even heard of the word, which added an interesting mystery to the reading. (It does explain within the book what it means, but I'll leave it to the reader,) and let's say once I've learned the meaning of the word, the whole book became more clearer and understandable when before it seems a mixture of foggy and uncertainty. It was a strange experience reading the book because its a paradox of horror and beauty, but the author did a whole far better than some others authors (such as A.Rice) I could name. The author is also very talented in teasing the eyes, the tongue and the mind with words, describing both a beautiful and a haunting world that not many know exist. I did struggle with understanding the message or the allegory for it, and even now I think its best to leave it to individual rather than set down a boundary for it.

This is for ECW Book Tour

March 1: The Book Binder’s Daughter, Review + Giveaway
March 2: Bibliotica, Review + Guest Post (the use of food to enhance the story)
March 3: Bella’s Bookshelves, Review + Excerpt (Ch. 1)
March 4: Write All the Words!,, Guest post for International Women’s Week feature
March 5: Editorial Eyes, Interview + Excerpt (Ch. 2)
March 7: Lavender Lines,, Review
March 9: Svetlana’s Reads, Review
March 10: The Book Stylist, Review + Interview
March 11: Booking it with Hayley G, Review + Guest Post + Giveaway
March 12: Dear Teen Me, Guest post (letter to teen self)
March 13: The Book Bratz, Review + Giveaway
March 14: Feisty Little Woman, Interview + Excerpt (Ch. 3)

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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