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For fans of Audrey Niffenegger and Maggie O'Farrell, The Water Children is a sensual, richly atmospheric drama of passion, betrayal, revenge, and redemption. WHAT WILL DESTROY ONE CHILD WILL BE THE MAKING OF ANOTHER. 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 For fans of Audrey Niffenegger and Maggie O'Farrell, The Water Children is a sensual, richly atmospheric drama of passion, betrayal, revenge, and redemption. WHAT WILL DESTROY ONE CHILD WILL BE THE MAKING OF ANOTHER. 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, revenge, and redemption. Owen is haunted by nightmares of the Merfolk. He believes they have stolen his little sister, who vanished while he was meant to be watching her on the beach. But he was only a child himself. Is it fair for his mother to have blamed him all these years? Catherine’s perfect Christmas was ruined when she went skating on a frozen pond with her cousin and the other girl nearly died. Yet it is Catherine who feels, as she says, “permanently trapped under the ice.” Sean grew up on a farm in Ireland. Learning to swim in the River Shannon was his way of escaping the bitter poverty of his childhood, but communing with the river spirits incurred his superstitious father’s wrath. Naomi never feared the water. She was orphaned, cruelly abused, and the sea offered a cleansing balm; she reveled in the ocean’s power. But Naomi has another secret buried deep within her, and during one searing hot summer she will be the catalyst for the coming together—and tearing apart—of the water children.


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For fans of Audrey Niffenegger and Maggie O'Farrell, The Water Children is a sensual, richly atmospheric drama of passion, betrayal, revenge, and redemption. WHAT WILL DESTROY ONE CHILD WILL BE THE MAKING OF ANOTHER. 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 For fans of Audrey Niffenegger and Maggie O'Farrell, The Water Children is a sensual, richly atmospheric drama of passion, betrayal, revenge, and redemption. WHAT WILL DESTROY ONE CHILD WILL BE THE MAKING OF ANOTHER. 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, revenge, and redemption. Owen is haunted by nightmares of the Merfolk. He believes they have stolen his little sister, who vanished while he was meant to be watching her on the beach. But he was only a child himself. Is it fair for his mother to have blamed him all these years? Catherine’s perfect Christmas was ruined when she went skating on a frozen pond with her cousin and the other girl nearly died. Yet it is Catherine who feels, as she says, “permanently trapped under the ice.” Sean grew up on a farm in Ireland. Learning to swim in the River Shannon was his way of escaping the bitter poverty of his childhood, but communing with the river spirits incurred his superstitious father’s wrath. Naomi never feared the water. She was orphaned, cruelly abused, and the sea offered a cleansing balm; she reveled in the ocean’s power. But Naomi has another secret buried deep within her, and during one searing hot summer she will be the catalyst for the coming together—and tearing apart—of the water children.

30 review for The Water Children

  1. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    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 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 an extra framework to Berry's novel. Overall a solid, enjoyable novel.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    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 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 found myself not really caring what happened to any of them.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    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 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 going and depressing; I will not look for further books by this author.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Barnett

    I chose this book as water and the sea are an inspiration to me. The novel was beautifully written and used the theme of water to explore trauma and healing. Some dark themes were sensitively explored in this novel. It was well-plotted and kept me intrigued to the final page. Recommended read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shaz Goodwin

    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, 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, Catherine gets blamed. Sean Madigan grew up on a farm in Ireland. Learning to swim in the Shannon was his way of escaping the bitter poverty of his childhood, but it also incurred his father's wrath. He flees to England, but his heart belongs to the Shannon and her pulling power is ever near! Unlike the other three, Naomi Seddon didn't fear the sea. She'd been orphaned and placed in a children's home in Sheffield and cruelly abused. The sea offered her a way out and she revelled in its cruel power. The "water children" meet in London in the searing hot summer of 1976 and Naomi uses her siren's charm to lure Owen, Catherine and Sean into her tangled web of sexual charm and dangerous passion. A holiday in the Tuscan mountains with a flooded reservoir and its legend of the beautiful Teodora who drowned there brings this emotional drama to a powerful climax. Will the power of family, love and redemption finally help the water children conquer their fears and triumph over their childhood traumas? ~~~~~~~~~~~ When I first started reading the Water Children I found the writing hard to adjust to as to me it felt as if I was reading a report, merely an observation. I didn’t think my emotions would be engaged but having said that, I admit to becoming very involved and sobbing my heart out in places! This traumatic and psychological tale starts with an introduction to the childhood of Owen and then Catherine and is the foundation that then leads us on to the summer of 1976. I thought Anne Berry captured a child’s perspective really well and the fear that can carry over to adulthood. The trauma that affects the family involved in Owen’s life and changes everything is very well written and felt very real. As a child myself in 1976 my memories are of beaches, swimming pools and fun. I don’t remember the discomfort of the heat at all. As an adult of course, I could quite well identify with how the ‘adult’ world coped and this setting in London for the main body of the story at this time added heaviness and torpor that wouldn’t have worked quite so well somewhere else. In no way is this slow to start and the momentum is kept going throughout. From the very beginning we know from the synopsis that something irreparable is going to happen that will leave weeping wounds. The ‘darkness’ kept me enthralled and although I wasn’t comfortable reading some parts of the story, I had to keep reading to find out more, to find out if there was a healing, a coming full circle to wholeness. I loved delving into the ‘shadow’ through this story. I enjoyed being taken out of my comfort zone. The symmetry of the story as a whole from beginning to end is a very clever concept and ties everything up beautifully. Despite the poignancy, the ending enchanted me and left me feeling satisfied that everything was as it should be. A good feeling to finish a story on!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jolene

    I didn't love this book, though I was compelled to read to the end. I think the author writes well, the vocabulary was challenging in places and even I had to look up a few. The beginning was interesting and I felt like this book could really go somewhere. The child characterizations were interesting and I wanted to know what happened to them. But I felt like Catherine was nearly ignored as an adult, and I was shocked by the attitude that Sean seemed to have developed. As a child he didn't seem I didn't love this book, though I was compelled to read to the end. I think the author writes well, the vocabulary was challenging in places and even I had to look up a few. The beginning was interesting and I felt like this book could really go somewhere. The child characterizations were interesting and I wanted to know what happened to them. But I felt like Catherine was nearly ignored as an adult, and I was shocked by the attitude that Sean seemed to have developed. As a child he didn't seem like the womanizing, jerk he is as an adult. In the end I felt disappointed. The ending has some positives, but the depth of pain and sadness outweighs it. I can't wait to delve into something a little more uplifting.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Khawla

    I really enjoyed reading this novel, easy to read

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ann Tuxford

    started off chapter 1 and 2 ok, then into chapter 3, the swearing and fornicating started. Stopped reading. Did not finish.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Boniface

    Average, got better at the end

  10. 4 out of 5

    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 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 and issues are passed around between them, climaxing in a dramatic ending. I did appreciate this novel mostly being in present tense; but unless you wish to learn how to (and how not to) pull this off, I didn’t find many other reasons to read this book. The blurb for this book (not the one above, as I write my own ‘What’s It About?’ section), implies that it is a story of three people with tragic pasts involving water who all become trapped and endangered by meeting Naomi who revels in the “sea’s cruel power”. As you can tell from my round-up, this is not the story I was presented. I felt I wasn’t reading what I had been promised and I realise that this has probably had an impact on my negative experience of reading this book. Personally I found it was about two people with terrible memories of their past regarding water, and two people who find comfort and solace within water. This novel is written from four points of view. I agree that different viewpoints don’t always need to be given the same amount of words but, for me, I felt that this novel became very unbalanced for large sections – it would have been better to tell this particular story through an omniscient ‘narrator’ rather than through one character at a time. For me it felt more Owen’s story for the majority; and it was his story I became interested in and felt wrong-footed when it was wrenched out from beneath me, to be replaced by another character’s point of view. It made it difficult to completely immerse myself into the events as, just as I started to it would become disrupted by the change of view. Anne Berry deals with some very complicated and extreme situations in ‘The Water Children’. Unfortunately I feel that the chopping and changing of stories, past and present, made it impossible for me to empathize with any of them. As a reader I want to become entrenched in the story and characters, to blot out real life and allow myself to follow the events and connect with the emotions as if it were happening to me. Without this it becomes difficult to care what happens or to want to spend any time within that world; I know for me that this book took longer to read than most simply because I didn’t really give a damn about what was happening. Despite all this negativity, I do have the reference the incredible beauty of Berry’s descriptions. As a writer I certainly feel that there is a lot to learn from this book. The visions painted are at times breath-taking and have a high impact, it is just a shame that the story itself doesn’t have much to offer the reader. I wouldn’t really recommend this book to anyone other than fellow writers in need of a clear example of what works and what doesn’t within writing and storytelling. However, if you enjoy stories told from multiple viewpoints and regarding very intense situations, then you may find you will enjoy it. Overall rating: 1.5/5

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'm just going to dive right into my thoughts on this one because I honestly can't tell you much more about the story than the synopsis does without giving away crucial points. Besides, I think you are able to get the gist of it from above. I am always pulled towards stories that involve water in some way. Perhaps because I am a bit terrified of water myself, I'm not sure. When I came across the Goodreads giveaway for The Water Children, I was enthusiastic. The story is not just based on one wate I'm just going to dive right into my thoughts on this one because I honestly can't tell you much more about the story than the synopsis does without giving away crucial points. Besides, I think you are able to get the gist of it from above. I am always pulled towards stories that involve water in some way. Perhaps because I am a bit terrified of water myself, I'm not sure. When I came across the Goodreads giveaway for The Water Children, I was enthusiastic. The story is not just based on one water event, but four. Bonus! Thankfully, I was a lucky winner in the giveaway and I got reading as soon as I received the book. However, what started out as a promising read quickly became somewhat of a chore to read. I think I will start off with what I liked about this book. Not only did it involve the water events, but it also had family drama, abuse and plenty of stressful situations to make my heart race. The chapters alternated between characters, and I was anxious to see how they were all going to connect. I was pleased with the character progression and where the story went, for the most part. However, even though I did find myself interested in the world of these four unlucky people, I just couldn't immerse myself as much as I would have liked. The story was interesting and yes I did enjoy that part, but I felt like it took forever to get there. This book is only a little over 300 pages yet it took me nearly two weeks to finish it. I often found myself thinking I must have read at least thirty pages, but no, it was only five. I just didn't enjoy the author's writing style. It was almost as if, and I mean no disrespect to the author in any way, she sat down with a thesaurus and changed every third word to something more fancy than need be, and then added another three or four descriptive words: "He conjures cypress trees, tall and swarthy, tickling a sky streaked with violet. He sees fields felted with scarlet corn poppies and sucks in air clotted with spiky, black-and-cream, swallow-tailed butterflies. He sees vanilla stained the color of the ochre earth, hugged by lemon trees. The soporific scents of rosemary and wild thyme assail him, along with the lulling drone of drowsy bumblebees. He does not see the sunlight diluted in the gloom of Lake Vagli, dappling the moss-cloaked walls of the drowned village" page 182 Is it just me? I just couldn't get passed it. Unfortunately, this really did take a lot away from the story, which I found quite promising. So if you are looking for a heavier read or you prefer very descriptive novels, this is for you. I won this from the Goodreads First Reads program

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    '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; '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; one of them almost drowning in an icy lake, the other feeling responsible for the death of someone else by drowning. Sean and Naomi do not fear water, but are still obsessed by it. Sean taught himself to swim in the River Shannon and Naomi has created an alternative watery life for herself that cancels out her terrible childhood spent in a children's home. As adults, their lives become entangled, with Naomi being the main dangerous and alluring link. This is not a plot-driven story, it unfolds slowly and gently, with each character being built up so that the reader can understand their reasonings and their behaviours. Except for Naomi who starts out as a mystery, with flashes of her past life teasingly inserted into the plot in small snippets. This is Anne Berry's second novel and I enjoyed it very much, maybe not quite as much as her first book; The Hungry Ghosts which I loved, but it is still a fascinating and compelling read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jiin-yu

    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 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. Quite a lengthy amount of time is spent establishing the characters and their paths, and when they finally do come together, the external action is fairly straightforward, linear, and expected. However, the substance and beauty of the novel comes through Berry's prose, in her exploration of her characters' inner lives and how they have been, and continue to be, profoundly shaped by water. The characters are all flawed and broken, in their own ways, and with the novel told from changing perspectives, the audience inhabits their space and the characters become sympathetic and understandable (if not particularly likeable) people. Its a lovely, meditative book. Its not particularly fast-paced or full of surprises or turns, but it is quietly reflective on the burdens that tie us to our past and the struggles to move beyond them.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jo Bennie

    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 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 of age in the Summer of Love, deeply disturbed and desperate for love. Owen bears the weight of a childhood mistake which cost him the affection of his mother, Catherine is unloved by her narcissistic mother and seeks to escape, and Sean feels trapped by his small farm Irish upbringing. All come into each other's orbit in London during the summer of 1975 and the life of a new child - Catherine and Sean's baby Bria - becomes the price of redemption for all four. But more than that, this is the first fast read I have come across for a while that is beautifully and heart-rendingly written with passages of description that are just wonderful. In some ways, the narrative is quite simple, but it's Berry's talent that makes this book so beautiful

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    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 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 inside us. But she's not so much a poet that her love of language gets in the way of her story. This is not a tough, literary read - although it is literature. And although it's about trauma and loss, searing loss, it's also about redemption. Recommended for anyone with the patience to give its slightly slow start time to get in gear, and anyone who is looking for a thoughtful, beautiful read, not the next best-selling thriller. Thanks to firstreads for the opportunity to read this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Todd

    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 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 stifling summer heat made this book come alive for me, pressing harder down so it haunted my every thought. When reading The Water Children, I felt every fear, every breath of heartache and every murderous thought. This book is a sure winner for people who like a but of substance, a bit of an emotional roller coaster and a growing tension.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Waven

    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 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). It is planned and plotted neatly, with good atmosphere and fairly tight writing. I think this would make a very good summer book, or general not-too-dense read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the story of four people with unusual relationships to water. Owen's sister drowned in the ocean when he was supposed to be watching her, Catherine's beloved cousin fell through the ice while skating on a pond and almost died, Sean learned to swim and fell in love with the Shannon when the rest of the town regarded it as a creepy killer, and Naomi felt clean from the degradation of her childhood in a horrible orphanage only in the sea. As adults, their lives become intertwined, and the s This is the story of four people with unusual relationships to water. Owen's sister drowned in the ocean when he was supposed to be watching her, Catherine's beloved cousin fell through the ice while skating on a pond and almost died, Sean learned to swim and fell in love with the Shannon when the rest of the town regarded it as a creepy killer, and Naomi felt clean from the degradation of her childhood in a horrible orphanage only in the sea. As adults, their lives become intertwined, and the sickness of some threatens to destroy them all. But surprisingly, after most of the book being filled with dread and some pretty horrible stuff happening, we get a hopeful happy love for an ending.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hester Maree

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The author takes up ninety pages to relate the childhood backgrounds of four characters. They are all linked to the dominant water theme in a "journey" to better things for all. Owen is haunted by nightmares of Merfolk after his little sister drowns in the sea when he is supposed to be babysitting her; Catherine fears water after an incident when she and her cousin nearly drown in a frozen pond while ice-skating; Sean teaches himself to swim in rebellion against his sadistic brother and bullying The author takes up ninety pages to relate the childhood backgrounds of four characters. They are all linked to the dominant water theme in a "journey" to better things for all. Owen is haunted by nightmares of Merfolk after his little sister drowns in the sea when he is supposed to be babysitting her; Catherine fears water after an incident when she and her cousin nearly drown in a frozen pond while ice-skating; Sean teaches himself to swim in rebellion against his sadistic brother and bullying father; and sad, abused Naomi sees water as a healing cleanser of her "blackened", impure body. Before the end of the book there is yet another suicide.

  20. 4 out of 5

    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 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 along.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ophelia

    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 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 heart. Gripping and flawless.

  22. 5 out of 5

    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. 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.

  23. 4 out of 5

    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. 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.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    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. 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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary Lynn

    This one took me a while. Children is not a book that gives, but rather takes. It demands instead of provides, not bothering to look back and make sure the reader is still on the ride, eagerly attentive. The characters are spellbinding, different yet mortal, distinctive and touching. The ending was almost too perfect for real life, though fulfilling for readers with need of some sort of silver lining in the eternal rain shower one observes in these histories.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    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. 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.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chrissi

    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!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    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.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    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. 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.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Penny

    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. 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.

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