Jennie Shortridge opens her novel, Love Water Memory, with her protagonist Lucie Walker coming to in the cold water of San Francisco Bay. Lucie has no idea who she is or how she got there. Rescued by the emergency services and brought to hospital, she is diagnosed as suffering from “dissociative fugue”. The only clues to her life that she has to her former life are the Armani suit, Prada shoes and Gucci handbag that she is found with.
Love Water Memory is the bittersweet story of how Lucie slowly pieces her life together. When her fiance, Grady turns up at the hospital to claim her, Lucie’s first task is to rebuild her relationship with this strange man who appears to be her only connection. She returns to their home where she finds little to like about her earlier self but her loss of her memory provides her with an opportunity to recreate herself as a better person.
Grady, meanwhile, has some demons in his own past having lost his father in an accident at sea while he was just a boy. For Grady, the new, gentler and warmer Lucie takes some getting used to. Then, when Lucie’s Aunt Helen contacts Grady, the older woman becomes the key to unlocking Lucie’s past.
While the situation Lucie finds herself in is somewhat unbelievable, the main characters — Lucie, Grady and Aunt Helen — are very likeable and sympathetic and the plot is strong.
Jennie Shortridge makes good use of suspense in Love Water Memory to create a fast and enjoyable read that will leave you thinking about the importance of family in determining self-identity.
Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge is published by Gallery Books. ISBN: 9781451684834. An Advance Readers Copy (ARC) was provided by Netgalley for the purpose of this review.