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The Memory of Water

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3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  5,487 Ratings  ·  491 Reviews
On the night their mother drowns, sisters Marnie and Diana Maitland discover there is more than one kind of death. There is the death of innocence, of love, and of hope. Each sister harbors a secret about that night-secrets that will erode their lives as they grow into adulthood.

After ten years of silence between the sisters, Marnie is called back to the South Carolina L
...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Penguin Group (USA)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Shari Stertz
Jul 01, 2014 Shari Stertz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, chic-lit, romance
SPOILERS AHEAD

What's up with the protagonist getting together with her sister's ex husband. Am I supposed to respect her? I do not. How could you do that? Especially when your sister is unstable, to say the least.

What's up with this family and their boating issues? Seriously, DO NOT go on a boat with any of them. It will NOT end well. The other reason that this ending is a conflict for me is because White kills off a character and it seemed like she just wanted to get her out of the way. Actuall
...more
Trisha
Jul 28, 2016 Trisha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was oddly....disappointed with this one. I had expected to love it. But I think enjoying the audio version instead of a physical/ebook was a huge factor.

The voices/View Points were hard to tell apart in the audio book and I kept having to start sections over because I wouldn't catch when it switched from Diana to Marnie and then Quinn and Gil. Add in Grandpa and it was just way too many POV to juggle with an audio book
I also found it slow moving and the twists and turns not very surprising.
☮Karen
Aug 31, 2013 ☮Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenges
This book was just not for me, but I will give the author one more try only because I have another of her books on my physical shelf. It was extremely repetitive and agonizingly slow. Yes, the pace picked up at the end, but by then I already knew exactly what was going to happen to every single character and no longer cared. The writing left a lot to be desired. The editing should have caught those repetitions and the most irksome sentence of all, that when Gil figured out there was no Santa, hi ...more
Lori
May 21, 2012 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
Although this book had a slow start (which I'm finding to be the case with each Karen White book I've read thus far), I loved how it brought all of the pieces of the puzzle together. Two sisters, through a series of events relating to a family curse with bipolar disorder, come to face the reality of what happened sixteen years earlier when their mother drowned in a boating accident. I really ached for the chasm that had developed between the sisters as they each held secret their perception of t ...more
Susan Poling
Mar 25, 2008 Susan Poling rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book tells of two sisters, one of whom has psychological problems that are similar to their mother's.
This is described as the family "curse." The sisters have different memories of a boating accident when their mother is killed and they are saved. As the cursed sister tries to ensure that her son not live as cursed as she is, her sister works to free that son from a hysterical silence caused by a boating accident quite similar to his mother's.
The story is told through the voices of 5 of the
...more
Kelly Ballard
What happens when you discover the ones you love best are intent on hurting you? And what if, they are your family? This book focuses on secrets, mental illness and childhood wounds. Exquisitely written, the book reveals a family and a community still reeling from a past tragic event that threatens to be repeated today.

Marnie and Diana are sisters, born into a dysfunctional family and they spend much of their early years clinging to each other for safety. The father has left for greener pastur
...more
Marcia
Aug 23, 2012 Marcia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
As is often the case, the cover drew me to The Memory of Water by Karen White—there was just something about the steely blue-green that guided my hand to pick this book up from the New in Fiction table
instead, perhaps, the book next to it.

Once settled into the multiple narrators’ voices (the sisters—Marnie and Diana; the ex-husband, Quinn; and the young son, Gil), I found this story of a family looking to heal and be whole again very
captivating. Somewhat bothersome was the constant reminders of
...more
Lisa
Mar 23, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story really touched on the popular saying "There is two sides to every story" and how that can divide families. In addition it showed the effects that mental illness can have, the tragedies that came come out of that but most importantly to me was the hope of redemption and forgiveness sprinkled throughout the story that kept me hooked. Although it started slow for me it was well written and I would certainly recommend to others to read.
Diana
Aug 27, 2015 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book about the impact that mental illness, lies, and secrets have on families. I enjoyed the multiple character perspectives given in the different chapters. Took me a little bit to get into this one....so 4 stars
Lorrie
Jan 23, 2016 Lorrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, karen-white
I really enjoy Karen White stories. This was the exception for me. I liked it but did not enjoy it. It was dark and dealt with mental illness. It was disturbing.
Annette Martinez
Slow starting....but pretty good finish!!!
Rachael
Feb 25, 2015 Rachael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
seanat (elka)
Feb 21, 2009 seanat (elka) rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Marnie returns to her childhood home to help her nephew, who is refusing to speak, since suffering a trauma on a boat with his mother.
This re-opens old wounds between herself and her sister as they also were on the boat that ended in their mother's death many years ago. Many secrets have been buried and start to emerge.

The four viewpoint naratives here did seem too many. Could probably have done without Quinn's, never really liked his character, his expectation that his son's aunt should just d
...more
Sheryl
Nov 03, 2012 Sheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition


this is a book about two sisters whose lives fall apart after their mother drowns. Since her death, the once close sisters have grown apart and the reason for this is explored in the story. After years of living in Arizona, sister Marnie comes back to the south carolina town that she grew up in and to the place where her mother died. She returns after being asked by her brother-in-law to come help with her young nephew, who has stopped speaking, after being in a boating accident with his mother.
...more
Katie
Jun 14, 2011 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is definitely one of the more serious Karen White books I've read lately. It has her usual style of mystery with a touch of romance, but also touches on more serious issues - like bipolar disorder and how it can affect everyone around the person suffering - and it also shows the chapters from a different perspective in real time, which is something different.
The part that I found most intriguing was how she wrote Gil, one of the character's nine-year old son, who is suffering trauma an
...more
Lisa Brick
So I picked this book up after not being able to finish it. It started out kind of slow and at times I was confused if we were going backwards in the story or forwards. I did like everyone's different point of view. At times the discriptions were a bit long winded and I skimmed some parts. (view spoiler) ...more
Kristin
Jun 20, 2012 Kristin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had the unfortunate "luck" of being read after many really amazing books (like The Invisible Bridge). So many I am judging it a bit harshly. Perhaps normally I'd give it 3 stars, saying "I liked it." But right now, I'm just going to say "it was okay." Because I liked it okay, but the book didn't stand out from any other basic novel I have read. Decent characters, decent story. The one good aspect of the story is that is gives you a bit of insight into manic depression (especially what ...more
Kristy
Jul 02, 2009 Kristy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys water/the beach
I felt that this book was difficult to get into, especially since I had not read anything by Karen White before. Once you get past the first half of the book, it gets to the point where you can't put it down. It was not my favorite novel I have ever read, but I enjoyed it because it was a compelling novel about sisters, and since I have a sister I understood a few of the things that Marnie and Diana Maitland went through. It has also taught me a little something about flawed relationships, wheth ...more
Lynn
Dec 15, 2016 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
3 1/2 Stars. Lyrical writing but a bit too predictable which made her main character seem dim witted. I wanted to tell the one main character, Marnie to open her mouth and ask more questions and to use her brain. She would have figured out the answers she was looking for.
Judy Collins
Not as good as some of her others but good. On the night their mother drowns, sisters Marnie and Diana Maitland discover there is more than one kind of death. There is the death of innocence, of love, and of hope. Each sister harbors a secret about that night-secrets that will erode their lives as they grow into adulthood.

After ten years of silence between the sisters, Marnie is called back to the South Carolina Lowcountry by Diana's ex-husband, Quinn. His young son has returned from a sailing t
...more
Angel
Jun 05, 2012 Angel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read other books by Karen White and I'd have to say that this book was my least favorite.

I liked the setting of the story, but the number of similes and metaphors was annoying along with the incredible predictability.

I had the twist figured out early on. Didn't care for the four viewpoint narratives. I often got the two sisters confused.

Gil sounded way too mature for his age.

The story just seemed too forced.

I appreciate the author taking a stab at bi-polar disorder. It is a terrible illn
...more
Kris Irvin
This book was so. freaking. slow. After the first 70 pages, it's all filler until the last 10 pages. Ugh, I was so bored reading this book. It was frustrating especially since it's pretty obvious what the main conflict is over, so you figure out the big mystery about 200 pages before the main characters do and you sit there for the rest of the time going "YOU ARE SO DUMB." None of the characters sound any different from each other, despite one of them being a 9 year old boy. Really, the story ha ...more
Audrey
May 12, 2011 Audrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Becky, D'Ann, my mom
This is a wonderful book, full of family secrets and strong well defined characters. It's such a beautifully written book, I was drawn into the story and I felt as if the characters were very real to me. Karen White has a lovely way of describing life in the lowlands that made me want to go and visit and walk along the beaches.
Linda
Jun 23, 2008 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book because it was a fast read (Seattle visit/airplane book) and because it was about a topic I don't usually read about, mental illness. It was a good story (except for the part when mothers try to kill there children so they won't grow up to have mental illnesses) with a fairly happy ending.
Ashley
Sep 15, 2013 Ashley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
I gave up. I had just finished reading a Karen White book about sisters and family secrets and what is this book about? Sisters and family secrets. I was not interested at all so it's in the gave up pile.
Janet O
Feb 06, 2016 Janet O rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is no reason to read this book.
Lynne
Aug 24, 2010 Lynne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Started it but hated the writing so I moved on!
Wendy T
I enjoy this book, but it is definitely not a favorite of mine.
Susan
Oct 05, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: karen-white
Powerful!
Linda
Dec 06, 2008 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Colorfully written, interesting characters, just enough mystery, adventure & romance to keep me reading. I liked it & plan on reading more of this author.
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Bookworm Bitches : September 2011: The Memory of Water 57 271 Jun 04, 2017 04:20PM  
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After playing hooky one day in the seventh grade to read Gone With the Wind, Karen White knew she wanted to be a writer—or become Scarlett O'Hara. In spite of these aspirations, Karen pursued a degree in business and graduated cum laude with a BS in Management from Tulane University. Ten years later, after leaving the business world, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a writer and wrote her first ...more
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“They say that not matter how old you become, when you are with your siblings, you revert back to childhood.” 106 likes
“Miles and years become suddenly invisible when you find yourself back where you started from, as if you've learned nothing and you are once again the person you once were.” 43 likes
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