Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge
About this book: Who is Lucie Walker? Even Lucie herself can’t answer that question after she comes to, confused and up to her knees in the chilly San Francisco Bay. Back home in Seattle, she adjusts to life with amnesia, growing unsettled by the clues she finds to the selfish, carefully guarded person she used to be. Will she ever fall in love with her handsome, kindhearted fiancé, Grady? Can he devote himself to the vulnerable, easygoing Lucie 2.0, who is so unlike her controlling former self? When Lucie learns that Grady has been hiding some very painful secrets that could change the course of their relationship, she musters the courage to search for the shocking, long-repressed childhood memories that will finally set her free.
About the author: Jennie Shortridge hails from Seattle, which also provides the setting for her novel Love Water Memory (originally released in April 2013). In addition to writing, teaching writers workshops, and volunteering, Jennie also serves as a founding member of Seattle7Writers.org, a collective of authors devoted to fundraising for community literacy projects and to raising awareness of Northwest literature. Learn more about the author at JennieShortridge.com.
Judge this book by its cover? I much prefer this darkly evocative, faintly mysterious cover (Kindle and paperback editions) over the one given to the original hardback release in April ’13.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: R, for language and sexual content
Reminds me of… Kim Edwards (The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, The Lake of Dreams)
You’ll want to buy this book if … You’re a woman who enjoys smart, authentic contemporary women’s fiction. Seattle area residents will especially like its vivid Northwestiness.
Why did I read this book? It’s the She Reads January Book Club selection.
Would I read another by this author? With interest.
My take: From the opening scenes, I was completely pulled in to Lucie and Grady’s lives. Each of the narrating characters is so sensitively drawn, so nuanced, that despite his or her flaws (some more obvious than others), I couldn’t help but like these people more and more with each turning page.
I also found the idea of a do-over deeply, humanly resonant. Who among us doesn’t welcome the chance for new beginnings, a fresh start? (Another thing that makes this book an appealing choice as we begin a brand-new year.) I didn’t, however, love the sprinkling of foul language (some of it seemed rather unnecessary), and I could have lived without some of the sexual details.
Nonetheless, through all the ups and downs of self-discovery, it’s a fascinating journey that we take with Lucie as she remakes herself into “Lucie 2.0”, becoming her best self, which is also her truest self, the one that had been hidden behind a carefully sculpted (if unwitting) facade for far too long. Until what is finally revealed, after layers of unhealthy behaviors and hidden-ness are peeled away, are two (possibly three) re-created, hope-filled people who are clearly destined for a more beautiful life than the one they’ve left behind.
Thanks to She Reads and Gallery Books for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
Be sure to stop by SheReads.org this week for your chance to win one of five copies of Love Water Memory, where you can also learn why they call this novel “the one that got away.” While you’re there, take a moment to see what other bloggers are saying about this richly resonant novel.