Review

Love Water Memory

by Jennie Shortridge

A woman stands deep in frigid water, scanning the sky. She knows she must be searching for something that is just beyond reach. But what is that elusive object? When a man approaches her, her legs are so numb she is unable to turn to look at him. She wonders if she is dead. If not, where is she? When she looks down, she sees that she is dressed in a skirt. She holds a pair of high heels in her hand and has a purse slung over her shoulder. When the stranger asks if she is okay, she honestly answers that she has no idea. She can't even tell him her name. She sees a banner announcing the Alcatraz Open Water Invitational and realizes she must be in San Francisco. She also knows the name of the President of the United States, but why doesn't she know who she is or why she was standing in San Francisco Bay?

"[T]he irresistible mystery at the heart of the tale and the true-to-life emotions of the two main characters lend an urgency that pulls us onward, making for a very enjoyable read."

In the psychiatric ward she is transported to via ambulance, she discovers that she enjoys many things, such as buttered bread and the color orange. She wonders if she has always liked these, or if they are new favorites. She spends three days talking with doctors and police, who convince her that she is suffering from amnesia. Finally, in response to TV "help us identify Jane Doe" coverage, her fiancé calls from Seattle to say that her name is Lucie Walker. She is nonplused at the news that she is engaged and that her intended is on his way to claim her. She can't even remember this unknown man's name after the medical staff tell her. Meanwhile, she looks for clues to her own identity in her handbag, where she finds a mind-boggling assortment of makeup. Is she the type of woman who would wear all of these potions?

The morning her fiancé/stranger is to arrive, Lucie is distracted by reporters from a local TV station, who are determined to witness and record the reunion. When a tall, lean man enters, Lucie notes that he appears to be of Native American heritage. He ignores the others in the room, staring at Lucie with intensity. In response, she is amazed to find herself relaxing as she gazes at him. His eyes fill with tears when she asks if she is really "Lucie Walker." He stops crying until she asks him for his name again. When he tells her, Lucie muses that "Grady Goodall" doesn't even sound familiar.

Grady gazes at Lucie. He is so relieved to have found her at last! She hasn't changed much physically from the day they met five years ago. It's been a tumultuous relationship with prickly Lucie. Now, when Lucie asks how old she is, he gently informs her that she's turning 40 in two months and that they have been planning a big party not only to celebrate the milestone, but also to include a marriage ceremony. Lucie appears to be amazed by this news, but Grady suspects that she ran away in the first place to avoid the upcoming event. However, the medical team informs them that her condition was brought on by severe emotional trauma. As Lucie returns to the house she shares with Grady in Seattle, the two of them must work together to try to solve the mystery of the traumatic event that triggered her amnesia.

Lucie's predicament is so intriguing, and she and Grady are depicted so realistically (as flawed but likable), that it makes for an irresistible page-turner from Jennie Shortridge. Although the pace of the plot lags at times, the irresistible mystery at the heart of the tale and the true-to-life emotions of the two main characters lend an urgency that pulls us onward, making for a very enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on April 12, 2013

Love Water Memory
by Jennie Shortridge

  • Publication Date: April 2, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • ISBN-10: 1451684835
  • ISBN-13: 9781451684834