Heat Factor: No sex, some grumpy pining
Character Chemistry: Santos is clearly interested; Mercy is a lot more invested in her relationship with La Llorona
Plot: Mercy was touched by La Llorona as a teenager, and now she’s trying to break free
Overall: I enjoyed this book a lot, but it’s not your standard romance fare
Weep, Woman, Weep is atmospheric and haunting and beautiful, but it’s one of those books where some folks in Romancelandia might get all huffy about how it’s not a romance. Note: DeBlassie is not marketing her book as a romance, but The Smut Report is a romance blog, so I wanted to address the question of categorization right up front for our romance-only readers (*cough* Erin and Ingrid *cough*).
Points in favor of this book not being a romance:
- The courtship between Mercy and Santos is not super-central to the plot (Santos doesn’t even appear until at least halfway through the book)
- The core relationship of the book is between Mercy and La Llorona
Points in favor of this book being a romance:
- Mercy’s burgeoning relationship with Santos is the precipitating force for her deciding to break free rather than live with La Llorona’s curse
- There is definitely an optimistic ending with the glimmer of the relationship Mercy and Santos will have in the future
Let me back up.
La Llorona, the Weeping Woman, is a mythic creature of the Hispanic Southwest and Mexico; she wanders in waterways, searching for her lost children (or just: for children) who she pulls under the water.
In Weep, Woman, Weep, La Llorona has been haunting the town of Sueño, a small border town in New Mexico, for generations. She seems to primarily target teenage girls. If she drags you under, you don’t die: rather you come out a shell of your former self, and go through life as a sad, emotionless zombie. Your daughters are cursed as well, but less so, and so on through the generations. Mercy is living under the burden of multiple generations under La Llorona’s influence, and knows that she’s a target, because she might have a chance to break free. Unfortunately, she doesn’t manage her escape; La Llorona gets her…but not all the way. Instead of Mercy becoming a zombie, whenever Mercy’s tears touch the ground, catastrophe follows.
The story is told solely from Mercy’s point of view, as if we were sitting next to her and she were telling us about her life. The writing is conversational in tone, and recursive; she’ll say things like, “Remember about that boy I told you about? Well, let me tell you how he came to work for me.” That means that things are not entirely chronological, and that there is some repetition. This style worked for me, but I wanted to note it because I know it won’t work for everyone.
Instead of going through the plot, let me return to what I said initially about the book: that it’s atmospheric and haunting and beautiful. There is a strong sense of place here; the text is very grounded in the soil of the New Mexican borderlands. The way La Llorona is handled here is very creepy: women who have been dunked by her have wet hair and red-rimmed eyes—all the time. But the ultimate story about hope and breaking away from generational patterns, and which includes some gorgeous imagery, is a lovely one, wrapped in a lovely package.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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