- Series: P.S.
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (July 1, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062361007
- ISBN-13: 978-0062361004
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 607 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sweet Water: A Novel (P.S.) Paperback – July 1, 2014
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From the Back Cover
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train comes a novel about buried secrets and the redemptive power of forgiveness
Cassie Simon is a struggling artist living in New York City. When she receives a call from a magistrate telling her she has inherited sixty acres of land in Sweetwater, Tennessee, from her grandfather, whom she never knew, she takes it as a sign: it's time for a change. She moves to the small Southern town where her mother, Ellen, grew up—and where she died tragically when Cassie was three.
From the moment she arrives in Sweetwater, Cassie is overwhelmed by the indelible mark her mother's memory left behind. As she delves into the thicket of mystery that surrounds her mother's death, Cassie begins to discover the desperate measures of which the human heart is capable.
About the Author
Christina Baker Kline is the author of six novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train as well as A Piece of the World. She lives outside New York City and spends as much time as possible on the coast of Maine. Learn more about Christina at www.christinabakerkline.com.
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That's a polite way of saying this book is downright painful.
First off, a warning...I will probably tiptoe into spoiler territory. I try to avoid that when I write reviews, but I'm kind of in the "why bother" mode in this one. So, if you still want to read this book at this point, you may want to tune out now.
I will say that Kline's writing talent is evident here. Her prose is readable and mature, but not heavy-handed. The problem with this book is not in the writing, it is in the construction. The plot is barely there and ill-defined. Is it about Cassie trying to "find what she's looking for" with her mother's family? Is it about Cassie's Grandmother's secret? Is it about Cassie's quest to find out what happened to her mother? The answer to all those is this: um, kinda, sorta? I don't think Kline ever had a clear idea of what this book was about and the reader certainly doesn't as they make their way through the story.
Then there are the stereotypes of southerners. Let's see...we have the catty frenemies, the holier than thou preacher's wife, the wild child (there are a couple of those), the old drunk, and the town gossip. All of these characters have shown up in any number of superficial Southern novels, movies, or TV shows. And, if that wasn't enough, there is probably one of the most offensive (and, really, inaccurate) Southern stereotypes out there. I'll give you a second....yep. We have a fair dose of explicit cousin on cousin action. Now, Kline does try to diffuse the situation by stating that they aren't "real cousins" because one of them is adopted. But, then she includes a few post-coital observations about how much the two look alike--very pointed observations (which are both yucky and annoying because she never closes that loop...).
Yes, I know...you need a shower now.
As I said, the one positive aspect was Kline's language. It was the one thing--well, that and the fact that I knew what she could do in Orphan Train that kept me going. However, I'm not going to let this book turn me off Kline's writing. As I said, this was her first novel and, when you compare it to her latest, you can see how much she has grown. If anything, it makes me more likely to read her next book. But, save yourself from the experience of this book and just take my word on it, okay?
A teen would enjoy the read because it is a surface one. I did like the author's use of metaphors and similes, and there is a comical element to the characters too. As a southerners I recognised several of her character's traits that are native or natural to the region. Although I gave it two stars I'm glad that I read it.