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The Memory of Water (Center Point Premier Fiction (Large Print)) Hardcover – Large Print, July 1, 2008

4 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The enduring ties between two estranged sisters drive the darkly engaging latest from White (Learning to Breathe). Marnie Maitland, an Arizona school teacher, returns to her South Carolina Lowcountry hometown after a 10-year absence at the request of Quinn, the ex-husband of Marnie's sister, Diana. Quinn believes Marnie can help Gil, the nine-year-old nephew she's never met, who has refused to speak since a sailing accident almost claimed Gil and Diana's lives. As Marnie begins to bond with Gil (and with Quinn), she instinctively senses that Diana's simmering anger toward her is tied to the childhood sailing accident that killed their mother but spared the two girls. Marnie remembers little of the accident, which is cloaked in mystery, as is Diana's obsession with the Maitland curse (related to a murky blasphemy from previous generations) and the mental illness that runs in the family. As Marnie tries to get at the truth, the first-person narrative is tersely handed among the four leads. Careful plotting, richly flawed characters and a surprising conclusion mark this absorbing melodrama. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Booklist

Marnie Maitland returns to the South Carolina Lowcountry after years of self-imposed exile. As children, she and her sister, Diana, were deeply damaged when their mother took them sailing in a storm and drowned. Now Diana’s son is left mute after an eerily similar accident. Marnie, a special-needs teacher, has come to help her nephew recover. Faced with the evidence that her sister has inherited their mother’s self-destructive illness, Marnie is forced to remember that terrifying night and to reconcile the rift their mother created. In this moving novel, White explores the bond between sisters, the link between artistic genius and mental illness, and the keen hold a place can have on a person. She vividly describes the lush Lowcountry and the pull of the sea. A chilling revelation, a love story, and a bittersweet ending add to this gripping tale. --Aleksandra Walker --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Center Point Premier Fiction (Large Print)
  • Hardcover: 447 pages
  • Publisher: Center Point Large Print (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602852227
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602852228
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,938,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up being a voracious reader and it was a natural step to turn my interest to writing. I have published 19 award-winning and bestselling novels including my latest release, THE SOUND OF GLASS, a multi-generational story of love, loss and mystery set deep in the South Carolina Lowcountry of Beaufort, South Carolina. THE SOUND OF GLASS, was released by New American Library, a division of Penguin Random House Publishing Group, on May 12, 2015.

I write what others have termed "grit-lit"--southern women's fiction, as well as a contemporary paranormal mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. All of my books are set in the US South, and feature a female protagonist at a crossroads in her life.

I live near Atlanta, Georgia with my husband, two children, and the cutest Havanese dog, Quincy, whom readers may recognize as General Lee in the Tradd Street series. Quincy recently became a big brother as the adorably cute Sophie Belle, also a Havanese, joined our family.

Up next: A collaborative novel, THE FORGOTTEN ROOM to be released on January 19, 2016, written by yours truly along with the very talented Lauren Willig and Beatriz Williams. On May 31st, FLIGHT PATTERNS, a Southern tale set in Apalachicola, Florida, and in September, SPINNING THE MOON, a double-edition of my first two books IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON and WHISPERS OF GOODBYE, reworked with a new cover. Happy reading!

For more about me and my books, please visit my website at www.karen-white.com or connect on social media: Facebook: Facebook.com/karenwhiteauthor, Twitter: @KarenWhiteWrite, Instagram: @KarenWhiteWrite and Pinterest: KarenWhiteBooks.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a pleasure to read a novel that has it all together - characters that are real and easy to see, a setting that draws you in and wants to keep you there, and a plot that keeps you wondering right up to the last minute. This was not a book I plowed through at breakneck speed. I was savoring it too much - it's one of those ones you really don't want to end. The surprising thing I learned when I completed the book was that Karen White doesn't live anywhere near the water - and she has never sailed! You will swear that she is sitting in an oceanfront cottage writing this story - with her sailboat tied to her dock. Bravo, Karen, for all your research. The rich detail of the characters, home, town and sailing experience, is perfection!

Karen has a wonderful facility for leaving a trail of information that eventually adds up to a plausible conclusion. I love those "Aha!" moments and the pleasant re-thinking one goes through as the pieces fall into place. This is my first Karen White book, so I now have the pleasure of looking forward to reading the others!
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Format: Paperback
When I read Karen White's The Memory of Water it was like watching an artist paint, with every word she writes you can actually see the landscape she describes come to life.
It was a haunting tale of mental illness and about those who survive it and those who don't.
A bewitching tale of love and loss and love found at last, about the story of sisters and a love that only sisters can share and understand.
This book is a must read for any of you out there that love great fiction.
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By A Customer on March 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
After being away from her hometown for almost a decade, Arizona school teacher Marnie Maitland returns home to McLellanville, South Carolina. She only came back to the Low Country because her former brother-in-law Quinn begged her to help her nine-year-old nephew Gil whom she has never met.

As Marnie and Gil connect and to a lesser degree she with Quinn, her sister Diana resents her intruding in the life of her son and for that matter hers. Marnie realizes her sibling is angry with her and assumes the reason is the boating accident when they were kids that killed their mother while they survived. Whereas Marnie recalls little of that fatal day, Diana has tied the accident to the "Maitland Curse" that has haunted the family for decades.

THE MEMORY OF WATER is a strong family drama due to the four prime players feeling real especially their flawed interrelationships. The story line smoothly changes viewpoint between the quartet so the audience sees different looks at the same event or issue; especially how the sisters interpret their mother's death. With a final plausible yet surprising twist, readers will be LEARNING TO BREATHE while waiting for her next tale.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Paperback
Karen White is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her latest book, The House on Tradd Street [review], was an amazingly written book that was as gripping as it was beautiful. The Memory of Water is equally as haunting, and though I didn't enjoy it quite as much as The House on Tradd Street, I still thought it was an excellent novel.

The setting of the book is in the Lowcountry marshes of South Carolina. White does an amazing job describing the locale. Though I have never visited the area, I have a vivid picture of it in my head from White's descriptions. They are as beautiful as they are haunting.

White is also a master at building suspense. She manages to keep the reader hooked throughout the novel without giving out too much information. The disquieting feeling her novels evokes in the reader is reminiscent of Carol Goodman, whose virtues I have previously extolled in this blog. [Review of The Night Villa][Review of The Drowning Tree]

The character of Marnie was extremely well written; she had many ghosts of her own that she had to face. Diana was a little more difficult. She was very difficult to sympathize with, and the way she treated Marnie was disappointing at best and cruel at worst. When the mystery is finally revealed at the end of the book, Diana moves even further away from the reader.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Memory of Water. It had a little bit of everything - mystery, character development, a wonderful setting, and the connections of family. I'd definitely recommend it to other readers and can't wait to pick up another one of her novels.
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Format: Paperback
As a huge fan of Karen White's two other books [FALLING HOME and AFTER THE RAIN, both 5-star reads], I looked forward to reading more of her work. However, this book was so very slow and the characters were so very flat that I had to force myself to turn the pages. After awhile, I thought that I had become as depressed as the bipolar sister. Couldn't even finish it.......

I'd love to see her return to the style of HOME and RAIN, where there was character development, an authentic Southern mood AND a plot that actually moved along.
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Format: Paperback
Marnie Matlaind returns to her Lowcountry birthplace after being gone for a decade to help in the healing of her traumatized nine-year old nephew she's never met.

At her return, Marnie is forced to face the demons of her childhood, the drowning death of her mother, and the Maitland curse that has haunted her family for generations.

White uses first person narrative with each of the four main characters. This allows the reader to see different angles of the story. The characters are quite real and believable, as is the anguish that each feels due to the mental instability that seems to have been passed down through the Maitland family.

A suprising ending answers several unknowns and brings an amazing and powerful conclusion to this family drama.
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