Book Review: Jennie Shortridge’s Love Water Memory

Posted March 15, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Jennie Shortridge’s Love Water Memory

Love Water Memory


Jennie Shortridge

contemporary romance that was published by Gallery Books on April 2, 2013 and has 336 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

A story of love, loss, and winning through.

This is an ARC provided by Gallery Books.

My Take

Oh, this was just so sad. Unhappy sad and an odd sort of happy sad. I know, it doesn’t make sense, until you read this. And this is a lovely story of a woman who loses her mind only to find it whole. It’s about family and love. About paying attention to your inner self for both Lucie and Grady.

I love how Shortridge spreads the music throughout the story: the fugue, the piano, their favorite song. Grady’s solace is water. A memory he holds from his dad, who was lost at sea so many years ago. His dad’s totem, his pride in his son, a way to retreat from the world.

You can feel the heartbreak, the fear they each experience. Terrified of making a wrong step, wanting to make things right, to protect. Always hoping. And slowly, oh so slowly, these two real people learn about themselves, the past that haunts them, the truth they need to understand. Then and now.

The end, when it comes, is so light, so perfect, and I jumped in disappointment. I want to know what comes next. And yet, it really is the perfect point at which to end this.

Okay, now for my whining:
If she’s been missing for eight days — in the psych ward for three — and Grady has been in Seattle, um, then how could she have been right there with him? I’m confused.

Did she not hear what he said? He’s been telling her how much she hates her aunt. He said he was trying to protect her. WTF.

Part of me wanted to just smack ’em both upside the head. Just talk to each other. What’ve ya got to lose at this point?

Which just goes to show how well Shortridge pulled me in and made me empathize with her characters…sigh. Love Water Memory has such a homey feel to it, especially as Lucie explores the life she has now, coming to understand the old Luce and discovering the new one.

The Story

Luce is freaked about turning 40, so they’d scheduled their wedding for her birthday. To balance. But just weeks before they are to be married, Lucie snaps and is gone.

It’s guilt on Grady’s part. He’s the reason she flipped out, when he finally got the courage to say what he felt.

Two people in love who loved for the wrong reasons.

The Characters

Lucie Walker is a controlling woman, ideal in a high-tech head hunter, not so great in a relationship.

Grady Goodall is her fiancé, an engineer at Boeing, bullied into a style of living that’s not him. He lives to swim out his frustrations. Dory is his youngest, most understanding sister, followed up the ladder by Renie, Nan, Izzy, Floss, and Eunie — the rest of his supportive sisters. His mother is Mary Faith; his dad died in a fishing trawler accident.

Dr. Emma Gladstone is the doctor in the psych ward at the hospital. Mimi is the nice Filipino nurse on night duty with the yummy adobo. Dr. Seagreave is the shrink she’s supposed to see in Seattle.

Helen is Lucie’s aunt, a retired schoolteacher working at the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club. Edward Ten Hands was the husband who died of cancer ten years ago. Lucie had loved them before her mother, Gloria, Helen’s sister, had dragged her off to California.

The ignored neighbors are the barometer by which we measure the change in Lucie: Susan with the beautiful garden and the lonely Don who wants to chop their birch tree down.

The Cover and Title

The cover is as the story is: spare and burgeoning with watercolors running a colorful path down the white background.

The title is the three crucial elements of this story, Love Water Memory. A love between aunt and niece, between lovers, amongst family. Water that is refuge and triumph. Memory that can be so elusive.


2 responses to “Book Review: Jennie Shortridge’s Love Water Memory

  1. Good review. I really enjoyed this book and liked the gentle way that it explores how family shapes self-identity. It makes you wonder — given the chance to reinvent yourself as Lucie was — what changes you might make for the future. It’s beautifully written and absolutely engaging — I was really drawn in to the story and kept turning the pages to understand more about what it was that made Lucie forget. Have you read Maggie O’Farrell? I read The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox in the same week as the Shortridge book and I thought they were a very good pairing.

    • Hey thanks! And thanks for tipping me off to Maggie O’Farrell—I haven’t read her yet, but her The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox sounds fascinating! Just from reading the description, I can see why you feel they pair up well. I’ve already put my hold in for it!