love-water-memoryReviewed by Jax Kepple

Over and over while reading Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge, I was faced with the author fostering a story that promoted quintessential cliched and middle-of-the-road characteristics, so much that the story became indistinguishable from other more well-written books and left me uninterested.

The premise is intriguing: Lucie is found standing in the water in San Francisco with absolutely no memory of her life before or how she got there. Her fiance, Grady, comes to pick her up and they go back to life in Seattle where she adjusts to living in the house they shared and coming to terms with her condition while attempting to make amends with her aunt Helen, her neighbors and Grady’s family.

Almost immediately the small-minded descriptions begin: San Francisco is described as dark, foggy and literally full of homeless people. The only hotel Grady can find is an “hourly” one in the gay part of town. He is swimming in the pool in his underwear because he forgot to bring a swimsuit but the Hispanic maid gets yelled at by motel staff for bringing her daughter to swim. I was very surprised about this – the author could have chosen to not get into this at all and just have had Grady stay at a Holiday Inn with a regular pool. I thought it would have led to some revelation in the end but…nothing. There was no point to this description of San Francisco at all.

Lucie has to deal with the fact that she was kind of hard and cold in her previous life, but Grady loved her anyway and she had a successful recruiting business. But that is discarded and not even reconciled at all by the author and again with the banality: the new Lucie hates the modern furniture and aesthetic of their house and loves the cozy chair that is Grady’s, the new Lucie hates the designer clothes that the old Lucie bought and wears workout clothes…but not to workout because the new Lucie hates working out! Could this be any more generic?

Towards the end, it is revealed why she wound up in the water, but at that point the twist wasn’t really a twist and the shock was minimal. I had so many doubts and questions about this book (should Lucie be allowed to drive when she has this mental fugue?). In the end, it is a generic fluff with zero character development under a guise of a medial condition stemming from an emotional incident. The attempt to pander to commonplace sensibilities left the story insipid and lacking of any sort of unique identity.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Jax is in an accountant at a hedge fund. She resides in NYC with her husband.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.