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The Water Children: A Novel
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The Water Children: A Novel

liked it 3.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  223 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews

From the icy banks of a secluded country pond to the fevered core of a historic London heat wave and immersion in an abandoned underwater village in the Tuscan mountains, four young people—each of whose lives has been irrevocably altered by water— converge in this brilliantly plotted drama of passion, betrayal, rev
ebook, 336 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 562)
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The Water Children is well-written and decently plotted and characterized. It is rather predictable, but there is something soothing about watching the story follow its necessary path. I have to say though, as an American the multiple references to Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies were pretty lost on me. I now understand it is a classic of British children's fiction, but I had never heard of it. After I finished The Water Children, I found The Water Babies online and skimmed it, so that added ...more
Shaz Goodwin
May 02, 2011 Shaz Goodwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Four lives. Four defining moments which will bring them together. Owen Abingdon is haunted by nightmares of the Merfolk. He believes they have stolen his little sister who vanished while he was meant to be minding her on the beach, but he was only a child himself. Is it fair for his mother to blame him? Catherine Hoyle's perfect Christmas with her cousin from America was blighted when they went skating on thin ice and Rosalyn nearly died. Somehow, instead of being praised for raising the alarm, ...more
Apr 16, 2014 Joodith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have really struggled to finish this book; I didn't like the characters at all, and whilst the subject matter appealed to me, the actual style of writing was just a little over the top for my tastes. I actually skipped a few paragraphs here and there just to get through it, and at times found myself thinking....just get to the point and stop with all this descriptive stuff. It felt like the author had entered a writing competition and just had to stuff everything in.

All in all I found it heavy
Jul 10, 2012 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book started off with a lot of promise. The initial stories about each character were interesting, however, the transition from childhood to adulthood was nonexistant..(how did Sean become such an asshole???). This book relied on the cheap modern gimmick of switching viewpoints which really needs to just be banned at this point. I had no sympathy for Naomi, who in spite of her childhood abuse was not like a person at all, more like a wraith just out to use people and commit evil acts. I fou ...more
Hester Maree
Jun 22, 2016 Hester Maree rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: human-drama
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tamara Epps
This review is cross-posted at Captivated by Books

In London 1976, four totally different become entwined and all have to face up to the realities of their pasts – all involving water – if they are to cope with the present. Catherine nearly drowned in an icy lake; Owen lost his little sister to the sea; Sean was outcast for his love of the river of his hometown in Ireland; and Naomi’s past is as much a mystery as her present is. Through lies and deception, they all become endangered as problems a
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jo Bennie
Dec 01, 2014 Jo Bennie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b
This book is as much about water as about the characters, about the contrast between the summer drought of 1976 and four people bound, ironically, to the element of water so lacking during that long hot summer.

In The Water Children four children are scarred each in a different way in connection with water, through drowning, falling through ice and of water as a refuge from an unbearable present. Naomi, renamed Mara, is the eldest, an orphan raised in terrible deprivation and punishment, coming
Jun 28, 2012 Jiin-yu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In some ways, Anne Berry's novel is a beautiful and lyrical rumination on the healing and destructive powers of water. Centered around four characters, each of whose lives (and families) have been altered by water, the novel maps how their lives collide with each other. However, water itself, in its capacity to take life, to soothe, to overwhelm, to cleanse, is a character in its own way, yoking some of the characters to their past, while freeing others.

This novel is not a plot driven novel. Qui
Mar 31, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Water Children' is not a quick read, nor is it, at times, an easy read. It is, however, a compelling and absorbing story that requires much concentration and raises a lot of questions.
A story of how one incident from childhood can shape the rest of a person's life, their character and their destiny.
Catherine, Owen, Sean and Naomi all have a strange relationship with water and this is what connects them in later years.
Catherine and Owen are both aware of how water has the power to destruct;
May 27, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A couple things to begin with - first, the mystical, life-giving, life-taking qualities of water; second, the tragic consequences of a child's death, multiplied when it happens when another child is watching the child who dies.

Anne Berry has taken these two forces and written a marvelous story of four people who share an intimacy with water. She's a poet, of course - you can tell from the metaphors and descriptions and insight, especially her ability to show how we all keep our child selves ins
Pamela Todd
May 03, 2011 Pamela Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2011
The Water Children was eerily beautiful from start to finish.

The style of writing had a cloying, choking feeling to it which made it more compelling and gripping. The Water Children follows four people with deep connections, and very different ones, to water: Catherine, Owen, Sean and Naomi.

Over the course of the book, emotions and past memories unfold to make this a dazzling book from an author I will be keeping my eye out for in the future.

The stark contrast between the icy waters and stiflin
Jul 06, 2012 Cara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun-or-frivolity
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A small group of disparate people who were shaped substantially by water in their youth converge in London during an unforgiving heat wave. As the city swelters and tempers grow short, the threads of their stories weave tighter and tighter amid unhappy marriages, unplanned pregnancies, desperate people, and dangerous actions. I found the novel engaging from nearly page one with interesting characters and scenes that are mostly believable (some try too hard, but just as many others hit it spot-on ...more
Harry Annan
Mar 11, 2015 Harry Annan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great read....complex...tremendous writer...glowing imagery and descriptions.
Troy Lindeman-Wyner
Great book!! Heart wrenching to read but worth it!
Jul 19, 2014 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely, magical prose and captivating characters.
Jul 06, 2013 Ophelia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely beautiful. I started to read it and gave up the first time - the main character was a little too strange and frightening for me (you'll see what happens early on in the novel). But I re-read it, and it is without a doubt a brilliant novel. It inspired me to write the beginning of a story after I had read it, I wanted to try and copy the beauty and the delicacy of Berry's style of writing, especially her description of minute detail; it's just so pure and honest, poured out from the he ...more
Jenee Rager
This book is very slow to start. As it kept flipping through the characters I found myself wondering when something would happen, how it would all be connected, and if I'm honest I found myself a little bored and confused. About 50 pages in the back story was established and all the characters entered the story together. At this point the book did get somewhat better, although I felt that only Owen was a fully drawn character, and the rest were merely after thoughts brought in to move the action ...more
didn't finish, didn't really like it too much.. couldn't get into the writing style
Sally McRogerson
A reading group choice which I didn't expect to like, although it opened with a scene on Saunton Sands, which I know and love so it was off to a good start. I can't say that it was the best book that I've ever read but I enjoyed it a lot more than I anticipated.

We got to meet the author rather than discuss the book, which was a double edged sword. It was interesting to hear her perspective but annoying not to get to the usual discussion which is the bit I enjoy.
Kate Double
I loved the beginning of the book. What happens to a child that leaves a sibling they are supposed to be attending alone for something tragic to happen was really interesting, but I wish there had been more about that storyline. Some of the other characters were interesting as well, but I wanted to know more. I liked that I didn't really know where the story was going for much of the book. But ultimately, I did not care for how it all came together.
Peggy Graves
I read this book with one eye shut. I was afraid to read who was going to die next. This is not a pretty book or a sweet story. Just like life, the story is a struggle for the characters. Such pain. And just like life, you ache for them. One of the restored relationships at the end of the book made me cry. Quite poignant. Just like life, sometimes we realize the need to appreciate who we have. And just like life, it's really all about love.
Nov 21, 2013 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the premise of this book; four individuals having life-altering interactions with water as children (hence the title) and how those events affect their adult selves. Once they became adults (very little transition) the story line dragged on and on. The predictable climax of the story wasn't til so close to the end of the story. Ehh.
May 13, 2012 Kris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a first reads give away that I was anxious to read. Unfortunately the book was not my cup of tea, so to speak. I found it somewhat depressing and the book was not what I expected. I think Anne Berry is a wonderful writer, yet I had a difficult time really enjoying this book.
Nov 14, 2012 Penny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was on the new shelf at the local library so I thought I'd try it.
It involves 4 people from childhood through adulthood with many flashbacks. All have something to do with drowning, near drowning, fear of water, or water. All their lives become entangled.
I thought this book was a bit slow to start but when it got to the last twenty percent (read on Kindle) I thought it was very gripping. It is very clever how the stories linked together, so I do think it is worth a read!
Apr 28, 2014 Loretta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a very tough read, slow and just hard to get into. However, the last 100 pages really picked up and kept my attention. Overall it was a little disturbing of a read but glad I finished for me book club :-)
Aug 21, 2012 Wanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too many lengthy descriptions and more difficult to follow because of Irish and London phrases.
I came close to giving up on this book, more than once.
Now I'm glad I stayed with it. Such a compelling story.
Corinne Halberg
Sep 24, 2012 Corinne Halberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captivating story of children who experience grave things dealing with water into fearful adults in awe of its majesty. Very enjoyable! It's dark but it explores the human mind in a great way.
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“But not one tear did I shed for their delight. I was her brave warrior, brave as the warriors who marched through my dreams.” 1 likes
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