Thursday, January 30, 2014

SHE READS BOOK CLUB-JANUARY: Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge

Title: Love Water Memory
Author: Jennie Shortridge
Genre: Adult Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: January 14/2014
Acquired: Print copy provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

If you could do it all over again, would you still choose him?

At age thirty-nine, Lucie Walker has no choice but to start her life over when she comes to, up to her knees in the chilly San Francisco Bay, with no idea how she got there or who she is. Her memory loss is caused by an emotional trauma she knows nothing about, and only when handsome, quiet Grady Goodall arrives at the hospital does she learn she has a home, a career, and a wedding just two months away. What went wrong? Grady seems to care for her, but Lucie is no more sure of him than she is of anything. As she collects the clues of her past self, she unlocks the mystery of what happened to her. The painful secrets she uncovers could hold the key to her future—if she trusts her heart enough to guide her.


There will NEVER be a time in my life, when I won't want to read books about people losing their memories-forgetting every single thing and person that they spent years attaching themselves to, and then having to relearn, relove, and rebuild everything they use to be, or in the case of Love Water Memory, everything they could have been, but didn't know how to be. I loved where this book started, I loved how the middle of it had me in a whirlwind of emotion, and uncertainty, and I applaud Jennie Shortridge on bringing us all to a conclusion that I DID NOT see coming. The cover, and title of this book are so SPOT on. All three of these words: love water memory, were so intricately connected to the plot line, flowed so seamlessly into one another, that I completely lost the urge to place commas between them.

Love Water Memory was about Lucie Walker, in a big way, and in smaller, but just as important ways, it was about Lucie, a husband, and an entire lifetime that she could not seem to remember anymore. Add to that the fact that she knows, in her deepest self, that something is terribly wrong. The book begins with Lucie standing knee deep in San Francisco waters. She's lost all recollection of who she is, why she was found there, and more frighteningly, who she may be forgetting about. When her husband, Grady Goodall, arrives at the hospital to claim her, all guards are up. As a reader, I was immediately suspicious, and was relieved when I read that Lucie felt the exact same way. She voiced her reservations straight up, and straight out. This book was not trying to be a psychological thriller, as so many of it's amnesia-filled peers are (see, Before I Go to Sleep). We weren't hunting the bad guy in Love Water Memory, only many truths. 

Written with a hand, and a mind, that understood the need for slow-goings in a narrative such as this, Jennie Shortridge created a story that even had ME questioning who I really was. What if I lost entire YEARS of memory, what if I lost every single thing in my head that made me, me? When I began to slowly start over, would I be the same person I was, before I forgot? Love Water Memory had just the right pacing, in it's revelations, in it's character building, and most importantly, in the realistic amount of time it took for two people to fall in love again. It wasn't a fairy tale rekindling, it didn't even come close to being perfection- it was painful, and resentful, and completely frustrating to follow. I appreciated Lucie's apprehension, every step of the way. But I COMPLETELY fell for Grady's unrelenting love for his wife. My GOD, it was deliriously wonderful to be inside of Grady's head as he lusted, and yearned for a person that use to more willing to reciprocate those feelings. I liked that we were given the perspectives of the exact same situations, from both Lucie AND Grady. It totally got rid of the need for a novella ;).

I had qualms though, and it came in the form of one character: Lucie's aunt, Helen. I loathed that woman, as was probably intended. But I couldn't get myself to UNloathe her, even when I should have. I just found her character to be a little harder to follow, and wish that there was at least SOMETHING redeeming about her that I could have clung to.

The conclusion of Love Water Memory was a MIND BLASTING moment. I couldn't have guessed the reason for Lucie's terrible gut feeling even if I TRIED, and trust me, I tried. Jennie Shortridge dealt a clever hand with that revelation, and I think it's an ending that I will remember for a long, long time. 

If you want impactful fiction, Love Water Memory is a book that you NEED to add to your TBR.

Recommended for Fans of: Before I Go to Sleep, The Vow, Women's Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery.


Seattle author Jennie Shortridge's latest novel, Love Water Memory, released in April 2013. She has published four other acclaimed novels: When She Flew, Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe, Eating Heaven, and Riding with the Queen. Her nonfiction work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, and her one-and-only published short story, "Simpatico," launched her novel writing career in 1997. When not writing, teaching writers workshops, or volunteering, Jennie stays busy as a founding member of, a collective of authors devoted both to raising funds for community literacy projects and to raising awareness of Northwest literature. In her previous lives she has been a plumber, a cook, and a working musician. No, she cannot fix your toilet, but she is hard at work on her next novel.

For more information than you could possibly want to know about anyone, read this.

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Thank-you She Reads for allowing me to participate, and to Gallery Books for sending me a print copy to review this month!


  1. Great review! This sounds like a good book, I'll definitely have to check it out some time. You mention in your review that you like books where the inidvidual forgets everything - I highly recommend Archetype by M.D. Waters. It comes out next week and it is really really good! The main character Emma, has forgotten her past and has to relearn everything about herself.

    1. Hey, thank you so much!
      Oh nice! I've been hearing a LOT about Archetype. I'll definitely check that one out soon.

  2. Fascinating! There is nothing like novels where characters suffer amnesia or memory loss. It definitely adds another layer to the story. I really like the title and cover image- they play well together! I hate when covers don't match the story.


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