Title: The Memory of Water
Author: Karen White
Release Date: March 4, 2008
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
From the back cover:
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.
Karen White is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her latest book, The House on Tradd Street [review], was an amazingly written book that was as gripping as it was beautiful. The Memory of Water is equally as haunting, and though I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as The House on Tradd Street, I still thought it was an excellent novel.
The setting of the book is in the Lowcountry marshes of South Carolina. White does an amazing job describing the locale. Though I have never visited the area, I have a vivid picture of it in my head from White’s descriptions. They are as beautiful as they are haunting.
White is also a master at building suspense. She manages to keep the reader hooked throughout the novel without giving out too much information. The disquieting feeling her novels evokes in the reader is reminiscent of Carol Goodman, whose virtues I have previously extolled in this blog. [Review of The Night Villa][Review of The Drowning Tree]
The character of Marnie was extremely well written; she had many ghosts of her own that she had to face. Diana was a little more difficult. She was very difficult to sympathize with, and the way she treated Marnie was disappointing at best and cruel at worst. When the mystery is finally revealed at the end of the book, Diana moves even further away from the reader.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Memory of Water. It had a little bit of everything – mystery, character development, a wonderful setting, and the connections of family. I’d definitely recommend it to other readers and can’t wait to pick up another one of her novels.