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April 17, 2023

The Haunting of Alejandra by V. Castro ~ a Review

by MK French

Alejandra is a wife, mother, and adopted daughter haunted by a darkness that others can't see. The vision is of a crying woman in a ragged white gown, and she soon learns that this is La Llorona, the weeping and vengeful spirit of Mexican legends. Alejandra's therapist explores her biological history, the heartbreak in past generations. While Alejandra has inherited that pain they had, she also inherited their strength. Now she will need to tap into that strength to banish La Llorona.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of women's fiction novel The Haunting of Alejandra by V Castro
April 2023; Del Rey; 978-0593499696
audio, ebook, print (272 pages); women's fiction

From the start, we see Alejandra caught in the life she built. She's a stay-at-home mother of three, her husband's occupied by his job and the traveling he loves so much, and they all expect her to cook and clean without complaint. She feels hollowed out and empty, unfulfilled and unloved. She sees the spirit and feels incredible despair. Those with depression and intense anxiety will recognize the feeling, and applaud her when she seeks out a therapist. Melanie is a curandera as well, so she works with the traditional Mexican legends, traditional healing, and spiritual work. That aspect helps to give Alejandra back a sense of her culture of origin, as well as a positive support to tell her that she has a right to her feelings, no matter what they are, and that she has internal strength born from love.

I adore the message of this book. Yes, there are dark emotions and in this case, suffering from a curse that is supernatural in origin. But ignoring it gives that presence strength until it breaks others. We have flashes of Alejandra's ancestral mothers, what they dealt with in the name of family, and the creature's hunger for blood and pain. Together, Alejandra builds up her sense of self. It's not ignoring the pain and burying it, but focusing on the positive parts of herself and using that as a foundation to help build a future. At no point did it feel like toxic positivity or saying love conquers all. It's more that people can't function alone, they can't become shells of themselves, and can't find fulfillment through pain. She has a hard journey, but it's one that I loved reading. 

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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