Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Book Review: Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge

January's SheReads Book Club choice is a novel with a fascinating premise: a woman is found standing knee-deep in the San Francisco Bay, with no memory of how she got there or why she arrived. In fact, Jennie Shortridge's Love Water Memory tells the story of Lucie Walker, who arrives at her watery destination with no memories at all; she doesn't know who she is, where she came from, or what her life was like.

After her picture is broadcast on the news, two people come forward: a man who says he is her fiance and an elderly aunt. After Lucie is released to her fiance's care, Shortridge relates the story of her quest to find both her memories and herself. Through Lucie, Shortridge poses questions for us all. Is who we are innate, or created? If you lost yourself, as Lucie did, would you still be you? Or another version of yourself?

Love Water Memory is a deeply charming book with characters who will fully win over your heart. My one complaint with the novel is that I would have (and wished to) read about twice the amount that Shortridge wrote. At 336 pages, it wasn't a thin novel. Yet I longed for more. I could easily have read 500 pages or more about Lucie and Grady. I wished fervently for a prequel, one in which we learned more about their lives before -- both separately, and then together. Although Shortridge expertly weaves the past into their present-day, I nevertheless wished for more.

Grady's family, full of half a dozen sisters and a father lost at sea, would be worthy of an entire novel themselves. Lucie's family and their story would fill the pages of a novel all on their own, as well. Although I seriously doubt Shortridge will return to their previous lives, perhaps she will make this new fan happy and write a sequel so that we find out more about Lucie and Grady's future.

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