Review

Waterwoman

by Lenore Hart



WATERWOMAN is the mesmerizing tale of two sisters, Annie and
Rebecca Revels, growing up on an isolated island off the coast of
Virginia between the two world wars. Rebecca is beautiful,
sweet-natured and adored by all who know her. Annie is plain,
awkward and overlooked. The sisters accept their roles in life well
enough until a jealous rivalry tears them apart and costs them
nearly everything they have.

Annie Revels is four-years-old when her sister Rebecca is born.
Jealous right from the start of the attention Rebecca receives,
Annie clings to her grandmother, Granny Jester --- the only person
in the Revels family who seems to remember Annie even exists.
Granny Jester dotes on Annie, and even though she says she came to
help take care of baby Becca, Annie comes to believe she really
came just to play with her. All is well until the day Granny
happens to see Annie nudge a just learning to stand Rebecca off the
edge of her bed. Granny Jester immediately and wholly withdraws her
love and attention from Annie, calling her a selfish child and
telling her she'll bring her mother nothing but grief in the years
to come.

Time passes, Granny Jester dies of a stroke, and the girls'
mother's health deteriorates rapidly --- she never quite recovered
from the birth of Rebecca and spends most of her time in bed. Being
the older sibling, Annie takes on much of the work around the house
and garden while Rebecca spends her days combing and styling her
mother's hair, looking at fashion magazines and daydreaming. Annie
spends a fair amount of time daydreaming herself --- she longs to
be out on the water with her father, a fisherman. He tells Annie
that being a waterman is no life for a lady but occasionally
relents and lets his daughter tag along. Annie pays close attention
to everything her father does out on his boat and fantasizes that,
one day, she'll have her own boat and make a living as a
waterwoman.

When George Revels dies in a fishing accident, a stunned but
determined Annie gets her chance. Knowing she can't depend on her
mother to provide for the family, 20-year-old Annie sets out on her
father's fishing boat to assume her place as head of family. The
work is unbelievably demanding, much more difficult than Annie ever
imagined. She literally works her fingers to the bone and still
barely manages to make ends meet. Worse, the other fisherman resent
her presence on the water and offer no help. That is until the day
she meets Nathan Combs.

Nathan works as a guide for a local resort and is not at all
spooked by the sight of Annie in her father's old trousers and
flannel shirts toiling out on the water. When Annie runs aground
one day, Nathan quickly comes to her rescue and the two fall for
each other on the spot. They meet each other out on the water
nearly every day, but Annie keeps Nathan a secret from her sister
and mother, certain that if Nathan ever laid eyes on Rebecca she'd
lose him in an instant. However, the day comes when Annie feels she
must invite Nathan out to the house for dinner in order to take
their budding relationship to the next level. The night goes well
--- Nathan doesn't seem to notice Rebecca at all --- but Rebecca
definitely takes notice of Nathan. It is the beginning of a bitter
and ruthless tug-of-war in which neither sister is willing to back
down.

First time novelist Lenore Hart has created a tightly woven and
complex story of loyalty and betrayal. So real are her characters
and their faults that we're not sure which, if either, sister we
should be rooting for. Although this is ultimately Annie's story,
you can't help but feel for Rebecca and see her side of things as
well. A must read for fans of Christina Schwarz or Lise
Haines.

Reviewed by Melissa Morgan (morgan9800@yahoo.com) on January 24, 2011

Waterwoman
by Lenore Hart

  • Publication Date: June 1, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
  • ISBN-10: 0425184714
  • ISBN-13: 9780425184714