Monday, 19 June 2017

Review: The Memory of Water by Karen White

The New York Times bestselling author of the Tradd Street novels returns to the South Carolina Lowcountry with a gripping tale of two sisters haunted by one tragic night...

On the night their mother drowns, sisters Marnie and Diana Maitland discover there is more than one kind of death. There is the death of innocence, of love, and of hope. Each sister harbors a secret about that night-secrets that will erode their lives as they grow into adulthood.

After ten years of silence between the sisters, Marnie is called back to the South Carolina Lowcountry by Diana's ex-husband, Quinn. His young son has returned from a sailing trip with his emotionally unstable mother, and he is refusing to speak. In order to help the traumatized boy, Marnie must reopen old wounds and bring the darkest memories of their past to the surface. And she must confront Diana, before they all go under.

Paperback, 315 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Berkley

Terri's Thoughts

As a fan of Karen White's work, I thought I would pick out a title of hers as my next audio book.  With a limited selection, I settled on this one.

As you can see by the publication date, this is not one of her recent works, nor had I ever heard of it before.  That being said, since she has not let me down thus far, I decided to see what this story had to offer me.

I am going to declare right off of the bat that this has been my least favorite of her stories so far.  Considering I have loved everything of hers that I have encountered so far, that is not a negative statement.  While I fell in love with her other stories, I only fell in like with this one.

This story centralizes on the complexity of family relationships following the wake of a tragedy.  It also deals with the impact of mental illness on relationships.  With these two themes at play, it made for a kind of heavy subject matter.  Those looking for a light subject matter may want to avoid this story, there is not a lot of rainbows and unicorns to be found within these pages.

My main issue with the story was that I had a hard time finding a character to get behind and cheer for.  I found Marnie to be too passive and afraid.  I understand her fears were rooted in the childhood accident with her mother however I just wanted her to be a little less controlled and more like the younger version of herself.  Diane I found to be extremely bitter and therefore not very likeable.  Again, I understand this was due to her mental illness and the secrets she was harboring.  Quinn I found to be like a puppy.  Blindly devoted to someone he had never met, that when he did meet that person, he was instantly in love.  It was only Gill that I could get behind and that was because he was a child, stuck in a dysfunctional family situation.

There were no surprises for me in this story.  The twist, if it was meant to be one, was guessed long before the big reveal.  I even had an idea on how the story would end, and was correct.

While this may not be my favorite story written by White, it was still well written and descriptive as I have come to expect from her work.  It was still a good story, just not great in my opinion.  It will not prevent me from seeking out more of her work (I am sure I will get through all of them eventually) as she is one of my go to authors when looking for something I know I will like.

As I listened to the audiobook version of this story, I do have to give one nod to it.  The narrator (I forget her name) did an extremely good job with the telling of this story.  She captured the bitterness in Diana extremely well and even captured the accent of Quinn quite well.  Good Job!

About the Author

After playing hooky one day in the seventh grade to read Gone With the Wind, Karen White knew she wanted to be a writer—or become Scarlett O'Hara. In spite of these aspirations, Karen pursued a degree in business and graduated cum laude with a BS in Management from Tulane University. Ten years later, after leaving the business world, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a writer and wrote her first book. In the Shadow of the Moon was published in August, 2000. Her books have since been nominated for numerous national contests including the SIBA (Southeastern Booksellers Alliance) Fiction Book of the Year, and has twice won the National Readers’ Choice Award.

Karen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and currently writes what she refers to as ‘grit lit’—Southern women’s fiction—and has also expanded her horizons into writing a mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. Her 22nd novel, THE GUESTS ON SOUTH BATTERY, was published January 10, 2017 by Berkley Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House Publishing Group.

Karen hails from a long line of Southerners but spent most of her growing up years in London, England and is a graduate of the American School in London. When not writing, she spends her time reading, scrapbooking, playing piano, and avoiding cooking. She currently lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children, and two spoiled Havanese dogs.

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