Monday, February 3, 2014

Review: Love, Water, Memory by Jennie Shortridge

In Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge, we meet Lucie Walker as she is coming to awareness that she is in a body of water and has no idea how she arrived there. It quickly becomes clear that Lucie has had a break with reality and now has no memory - she doesn't know her identity nor how she arrived in the San Francisco Bay. When she is finally reunited with her fiance, Grady and returns with him to Seattle, Lucie's immediate history begins to reveal itself but there are obviously secrets and pain in her childhood unknown to both her and her fiance. With her old self now a stranger to her, can Lucie, or more importantly, Grady make peace with the person that has emerged?

 Prior to her break, Lucie Walker is an extremely well put together but guarded person. She can be curt and intense and is rare to show emotion. With an extensive collection of makeup and expensive clothes and accessories, Lucie wears it all as armor behind which she hides. As her wedding plans with Grady intensify and they begin to argue, Lucie suddenly flees after a particularly bad fight. She is missing for days and then comes to in the San Francisco Bay without any memory whatsoever. When Grady is finally reunited with her, he learns her memory loss has been diagnosed as a dissociative fugue and that it is generally associated with severe emotional trauma. This prompts Grady to reflect on how little he knows of Lucie's history and childhood. Meanwhile, the new Lucie is a stripped down version of her old self - the armor is gone and Lucie is much more real than she was before losing her memory. Interestingly, she now yearns for connections to others - especially family - wheareas the old Lucie thrived on independence and shunned Grady's family. Lucie begins to not like what she learns about who she used to be and knows she must seek to understand what caused her to be that person.

 My Thoughts
Before I started blogging, I read Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge and remember being very affected by the book and struck by how well the author hit on emotions subtly with words. Fortunately, I found more of the same in Love, Water, Memory. Lucie is a tightly wound clock and after the incident she is unwound bit by bit. The author expertly reveals the emotional damage suffered by Lucie.

As much as this book is about Lucie and her history, it is also about Grady and his history. Although not as traumatic as Lucie's, it has certainly shaped him in interesting ways and adds a dynamic to his relationship with both old and new Lucie.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it gave me a lot to think about - especially about the armors we wear and what they are (or are attempting to) shield from the world. They do an inadequate job of dealing with past hurts - the only way to be free of those is to deal with them.  Highly recommend this book!

This book is the She Reads selection for January - you can find other reviews here 


  1. I have not heard of this author or book, but you have piqued my curiosity. What a way to start a story!

  2. I liked this one a lot too! Jennie Shortridge is one of those authors I know I can depend on for a solid read.

  3. I've never heard of this author but the book sounds interesting. I'm going to have to add it to my TBR

  4. It sounds like this book has a lot of heart in it. I'm adding it to my wish list.

  5. I may have skipped this one for She Reads this month (shhhhh, don't tell anyone), but your review made me think I was too hasty to do so. I am now intrigued and am going to have to see if it is still available in my work library. Thanks, Colleen!

  6. I'm glad you liked it. It fell a little short for me, didn't love either of the characters.

  7. I haven't heard of the author, but this sounds like a good book... unusual cover, too. I'm adding it to my list!

  8. Thanks for an intro to an author new to me, but I feel like I've heard this storyline told several other times before.

  9. Nice post...great review. THANKS.

    How are you doing? Going to the BEA this year?

    Stopping by from Carole's Books You Loved February Edition. I am in the list as #29. My book entry is below.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Entry

    There are also two giveaways on my blog. Check them out if you like.

  10. I'm glad you had read Eating Heaven and were able to compare that to this - I felt the same way about the way Shortridge handled the emotions in that one and I'm glad to hear she's done it again.