“What is love, she wondered, and what is memory? Where did the two intersect, and when would it no longer matter which came first?”
*I received an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
The synopsis of Love Water Memory intrigued me, I needed to know more about the woman that lost her memory and with that her entire life. I was eager to find out how one comes back from this, does Lucie become that same person she always was or someone new entirely? The answers were weaved seamlessly throughout the book and Love Water Memory was a beautifully well-written tale.
Lucie had no recollection of leaving her life behind, the first lucid memory she had was wading into the water of San Francisco while the worried public looked on. Lucie had no idea how she got there or what she was looking for, even worse she didn’t know who she was. Within days she was ‘claimed’ as she had a fiancé at home, frantically looking for her but how could Lucie be expected to slot back into her old life when she felt like a stranger in her own skin?
“Lucie sobbed. Why would her brain do such a cruel thing, erase her life and everyone in it?”
The story followed Lucie’s journey as she had to come to terms with what happened and also who she now was. Gone was the Lucie of old and in her place was this newer version and one determined to uncover the secrets she had previously spent so long trying to bury.
Love Water Memory was a thought provoking story; I couldn’t help but feel for both Lucie and Grady-her fiancé-in that situation. They were strangers to each other, yet Grady held all this knowledge of Lucie and their life together. Both Grady and Lucie questioned if they should remain together, if they could/should love this new version of each other and what it now meant for their future. It really was an interesting storyline.
I really took to Grady right away, I have no idea why but I was in his corner from the beginning. He was dealing with his own past problems and carried around his own loss as well as wanting to heal Lucie. He also felt guilty, as the last memory he had of Lucie was the argument that took place before she fled and consequently disappeared. Grady tried his best for Lucie and the recovery period was realistic. Of course, I wanted everything to be better right away but this was impossible they had secrets and truths to uncover first.
“He could handle these truths, he realized, because the sum of them was Lucie.”
Lucie could start over as a new person as she didn’t have the memory of her old life. It was good to see Lucie become independent and make decisions because she chose to herself rather than out of obligation. In turn, that led her to the only remaining family member she had left. Her aunt Helen held the answers to Lucie’s fragile mind and when it all came out it was heartbreaking to discover that Lucie’s mind was protecting her from a previous life of loss and devastation.
Towards the end I still had a few unanswered questions like what Lucie was searching for in San Francisco, I knew why she had gone there but I did wonder what she was hoping to uncover and why she ended up in the water and what happened during those days in between. I did like the author’s answer at the end of the book and she simply put “not everything in life can be known. Some mysteries remain forever,” no matter how saddening that may be, I agree in this case it is certainly true.
Love Water Memory was a character driven story and it worked so well, I got to really know Lucie, Grady and Helen well; all their quirks, idiosyncrasies, and what made them the people they were. Third person narrative is usually not my favourite to read yet, I really enjoyed the author’s writing. I was able to flit to the mind of each character and feel what they were hiding from everyone else. This is not an in your face story with lots of action and angst, it’s slow, powerful and packs the same punch just in a different way. I am definitely interested in reading more of this author’s work.
I don’t cope well with open endings, I can’t help it, it’s the soppy romantic in me. I need it all laid out for me to see. Of course, I would have loved an epilogue or even one more chapter detailing what would happen but with that being said, the way in which the book ended suited the tone of the story perfectly and it is left open for your own interpretation. I am imagining a happy one. :-)
“I want to talk with you forever, Lucie. I hope you want that, too.”
Love Water Memory was a change of pace from the books I normally read; it was a welcomed change, a thoroughly enjoyable and well-written one at that. I suggest you check it out for yourself and cheer for Lucie and Grady to find their way back to each other as I did.
Jennie Shortridge has published five novels: Love Water Memory, When She Flew, Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe, Eating Heaven, and Riding with the Queen.
When not writing, teaching writing workshops, or volunteering with kids, Jennie stays busy as a founding member of Seattle7Writers.org, a collective of Northwest authors devoted both to raising funds for community literacy projects and to raising awareness of Northwest literature.
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