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Blue Water

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New York Times bestselling author A. Manette Ansay delivers the unforgettable story of two families united by tragedy -- and one woman's deeply emotional journey toward a choice she'd never thought possible On an ordinary morning in Fox Harbor, Wisconsin, Meg and Rex Van Dorn's lives are irrevocably changed when a drunk driver slams into Meg's car, killing the couple's New York Times bestselling author A. Manette Ansay delivers the unforgettable story of two families united by tragedy -- and one woman's deeply emotional journey toward a choice she'd never thought possible On an ordinary morning in Fox Harbor, Wisconsin, Meg and Rex Van Dorn's lives are irrevocably changed when a drunk driver slams into Meg's car, killing the couple's six-year-old son, Evan. In a town in which everyone knows everybody else, it's no surprise that Meg and the driver, Cindy Ann Kreisler, were once the best of friends. Now, as Meg recovers from her own injuries, she and Rex find themselves unable to cope with their anger and despair, especially after Cindy Ann returns -- with a mere slap on the wrist -- to the life she lived before the accident: living in a beautiful house, enjoying her own three daughters, all of whom walked away from the accident unharmed. Mornings, we woke with an ache in our throats, a sourness in our stomachs, that had nothing to do with Evan. The truth was that, with each passing month, he was harder to remember, harder to see. I felt as if I were grasping at the color of water, the color of the wind or the sky. And this only made me angrier. My mind returned, again and again, to Cindy Ann, to what she'd done. When I passed Evan's room, the closed door like a fist, I thought about how Cindy Ann had destroyed us. When I saw other people's children, I promised myself that someday, Cindy Ann would pay. In their rage and grief, Meg and Rex buy a boat to sail around the world, hoping to put as much distance between themselves and Cindy Ann Kreisler as possible. Adrift in the company of other live-board cruisers, Meg tries to believe that she and Rex have left their bitterness behind. But when she returns to Fox Harbor for her older brother's wedding, she is forced to face the complex ties that bind her to the woman who has wounded her so badly. For, as Meg knows better than anyone, Cindy Ann has secrets and sorrows of her own, dating back to the summer of their friendship. Impassioned, insightful, and beautifully written, Blue Water is the story of people learning to face the unthinkable -- a compelling affirmation of the human potential for forgiveness, redemption, and grace.


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New York Times bestselling author A. Manette Ansay delivers the unforgettable story of two families united by tragedy -- and one woman's deeply emotional journey toward a choice she'd never thought possible On an ordinary morning in Fox Harbor, Wisconsin, Meg and Rex Van Dorn's lives are irrevocably changed when a drunk driver slams into Meg's car, killing the couple's New York Times bestselling author A. Manette Ansay delivers the unforgettable story of two families united by tragedy -- and one woman's deeply emotional journey toward a choice she'd never thought possible On an ordinary morning in Fox Harbor, Wisconsin, Meg and Rex Van Dorn's lives are irrevocably changed when a drunk driver slams into Meg's car, killing the couple's six-year-old son, Evan. In a town in which everyone knows everybody else, it's no surprise that Meg and the driver, Cindy Ann Kreisler, were once the best of friends. Now, as Meg recovers from her own injuries, she and Rex find themselves unable to cope with their anger and despair, especially after Cindy Ann returns -- with a mere slap on the wrist -- to the life she lived before the accident: living in a beautiful house, enjoying her own three daughters, all of whom walked away from the accident unharmed. Mornings, we woke with an ache in our throats, a sourness in our stomachs, that had nothing to do with Evan. The truth was that, with each passing month, he was harder to remember, harder to see. I felt as if I were grasping at the color of water, the color of the wind or the sky. And this only made me angrier. My mind returned, again and again, to Cindy Ann, to what she'd done. When I passed Evan's room, the closed door like a fist, I thought about how Cindy Ann had destroyed us. When I saw other people's children, I promised myself that someday, Cindy Ann would pay. In their rage and grief, Meg and Rex buy a boat to sail around the world, hoping to put as much distance between themselves and Cindy Ann Kreisler as possible. Adrift in the company of other live-board cruisers, Meg tries to believe that she and Rex have left their bitterness behind. But when she returns to Fox Harbor for her older brother's wedding, she is forced to face the complex ties that bind her to the woman who has wounded her so badly. For, as Meg knows better than anyone, Cindy Ann has secrets and sorrows of her own, dating back to the summer of their friendship. Impassioned, insightful, and beautifully written, Blue Water is the story of people learning to face the unthinkable -- a compelling affirmation of the human potential for forgiveness, redemption, and grace.

30 review for Blue Water

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    3.5 stars. This is the story of a horrible drunk driving accident in which a 6 year old boy is killed. (Not a spoiler). The 6 year old's mom was driving him to school and the drunk driver was an old high school friend of hers, also driving her kids to school. This tells the sad story of how both families struggle to deal with the after effects. The author was able to make me want to keep turning the pages to find out how everything would turn out.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    The first book I've read by this author, I intend to go find everything she's written and devour it. Blue Water is a beautifully written, poignant novel about grief, marriage, friendship, and how people try to get away from it all; in this case, the couple who lost their son sets sail on the ocean. I found this section of their onboard life extremely fascinating and an interesting element to the story. I highly recommend this book for those who love serious, realistic fiction.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    We were required to read this book for my English 101 class my freshman year of college. I was sure I was going to hate it. Boy was I surprised. What does it take to forgive someone who takes something from you that you can never get back? I've highlighted, underlined, and re-read passages from this book several times over, and the lessons I learned from it still stick in my memory today. Excellent fiction that could be 'real life.'

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    This book confuses whining with drama; the more whining the better; and so many bad events in one book?! Too many to be realistic. I also don't believe this author has ever really sailed a boat there were many mistakes there. Then it always make me cringe when the author lets the cover of their book depict an erroneous picture of the novel! At least half of the book was about sailing a large sailboat, but on the cover is pictured a small row boat! Really? This was a forgettable novel. This book confuses whining with drama; the more whining the better; and so many bad events in one book?! Too many to be realistic. I also don't believe this author has ever really sailed a boat – there were many mistakes there. Then it always make me cringe when the author lets the cover of their book depict an erroneous picture of the novel! At least half of the book was about sailing a large sailboat, but on the cover is pictured a small row boat! Really? This was a forgettable novel.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    This is the second book I read by this author; the first book was Vinegar Hill and I too, loved that as well. I felt this book was a study of human character and the depth of forgiveness. The book centers around a couple's loss of their six year old son, and the very complicated live of the woman who accidentally killed her son. This book is not predictable rather genuine. Maybe I should have given it five stars.....let me know what you think.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    I was disappointed by this book. The storyline seemed like it would be a good one, capable of real, deep emotions. A mother loses her only son to a drunk driver, and the drunk driver happens to be a friend. It all happens in a small town where everyone knows everyone else. Can the mother forgive the friend, especially given that the friend has her own childhood demons? But to be honest, I felt like the book followed a basic outline that so many books of a similar topic follow.... Tragedy I was disappointed by this book. The storyline seemed like it would be a good one, capable of real, deep emotions. A mother loses her only son to a drunk driver, and the drunk driver happens to be a friend. It all happens in a small town where everyone knows everyone else. Can the mother forgive the friend, especially given that the friend has her own childhood demons? But to be honest, I felt like the book followed a basic outline that so many books of a similar topic follow.... Tragedy happens, victim runs away to escape the pain, victim eventually realizes she must face the pain to get any kind of peace, and then victims chooses whether to forgive or not. And while the book purports to take on the topic of forgiveness, I don't think it does the topic any justice. There is one scene where a group of women debates whether they could forgive a certain injustice done to their child, and then Meg comes to a realization and returns back to her hometown. I think whether a woman can forgive an injustice to her child is a MUCH more complex decision. And a much longer process than the book shows. I just didn't enjoy the main characters (Meg and Rex), and I didn't believe their process of grieving (beyond the fact that the both dealt with their grief differently). I rather liked the end of the book, but I didn't find the timeline very realistic.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    I was excited to read this book as I enjoyed Vinegar Hill. It's been many years...Blue Water I didn't enjoy quite as much if memory serves but what is similar is the always unique human situations and emotions. Not quite what I expected, but in a good way. It's worth the time to read the authors response at the end of the novel on why she wrote this book. It brought a bit more clarity for me. I don't want to give the ending away but I'll say I think it ends the only way it can, as it would true I was excited to read this book as I enjoyed Vinegar Hill. It's been many years...Blue Water I didn't enjoy quite as much if memory serves but what is similar is the always unique human situations and emotions. Not quite what I expected, but in a good way. It's worth the time to read the authors response at the end of the novel on why she wrote this book. It brought a bit more clarity for me. I don't want to give the ending away but I'll say I think it ends the only way it can, as it would true to life. And I admire abs appreciated that.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    Well written and engaging. The authors characters are fully developed and believable. AND the book had a worthy theme of forgiveness. Loved it. Well written and engaging. The author’s characters are fully developed and believable. AND the book had a worthy theme of forgiveness. Loved it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    On an early morning, Megan is driving her son to school when she his hit by another driver resulting in the death of her young son. Megan knows the driver, was at one time, close friends with her until an issue of trust and understanding came between them. While they were not enemies at the time of the accident, any hope of even civility between the two is now gone. Megan can no longer stay in the home where her son was such a lively presence and follows her husband's dream to leave all ties On an early morning, Megan is driving her son to school when she his hit by another driver resulting in the death of her young son. Megan knows the driver, was at one time, close friends with her until an issue of trust and understanding came between them. While they were not enemies at the time of the accident, any hope of even civility between the two is now gone. Megan can no longer stay in the home where her son was such a lively presence and follows her husband's dream to leave all ties behind and sail around the world with no thought of returning to a traditional lifestyle. The experience proved that just removing themselves from the physical reminder of their son, the memories and heartache will always be there. Megan's husband begins drinking heavily and Megan begins remembering the brief time when she and Cindy Ann, the driver who hit her car were friends. She eventually returns home to make sense of all that has happened. Many books have dealt with the issue of the death of a child, the effects it has on friendships, family relationships, and the marriage. Much of the book was predictable, but what I really enjoyed was the description of life at sea. I am no sailor, but I felt every emotion and every physical pain and every lack of household convenience that Megan felt. I was as glad as Megan to get back on land. I was worried about the ending, but at the last minute, Megan made a decision that I cheered.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    My first venture into this authors work, picked up on impulse from a local book shop. The story follows Meg and her husband Rex, in the aftermath of the untimely death of their only son, six year old Evan. Stuck in a small town, the couple decide to buy a boat and sail the world, island hopping, and generally attempting to distance themselves from everything that reminds them of their sons tragic death. Ultimately, Meg decides to return to their hometown for her brothers wedding, who just My first venture into this authors work, picked up on impulse from a local book shop. The story follows Meg and her husband Rex, in the aftermath of the untimely death of their only son, six year old Evan. Stuck in a small town, the couple decide to buy a boat and sail the world, island hopping, and generally attempting to distance themselves from everything that reminds them of their sons tragic death. Ultimately, Meg decides to return to their hometown for her brothers wedding, who just happens to be getting married to the sister of the woman who took her sons life. The book began on a positive note; I enjoyed understanding Meg's character and the relationship with her husband. The author describes the typical emotions that most people go through when they are faced with a bereavement, with heart-rendering honesty, which I'm sure many people could identify with. Meg's grief, is at times, overwhelming to read about. Overall, I found the storyline becoming weaker and less believable as the book progressed, which is very disappointing considering how strongly the writing began. Some of the characters became less interesting and/or important since the start of the book. Furthermore, different characters became more prominent, which is confusing to say the least. I wouldn't rush out to buy another book by this author, although having said that, if another synopsis caught my attention sufficiently, I would agree to trying their writing again.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    A young boy is killed in a car accident with a drunk driver. This is the story of his mother and how she deals with the aftermath. The situation is complicated by the fact that the driver was an old friend of the mother's, and they live in a small town where there's no such thing as a secret. The parents of the dead child take to the ocean to live on a boat for awhile. This is something they've always wanted but couldn't do with a small child. Everything goes great and they live happily ever A young boy is killed in a car accident with a drunk driver. This is the story of his mother and how she deals with the aftermath. The situation is complicated by the fact that the driver was an old friend of the mother's, and they live in a small town where there's no such thing as a secret. The parents of the dead child take to the ocean to live on a boat for awhile. This is something they've always wanted but couldn't do with a small child. Everything goes great and they live happily ever after, totally forgetting about their past. Just kidding. They do befriend other boaters with similar situations and learn more about the drunk driver's own struggles, some of which were unknowingly brought on by our protagonist. Oh, life. A good, if sad, read about our responsibilities to each other and finding empathy for those we think are our enemies.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Steph Hundt

    I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The story centered on a couple who had lost their 6 year old son in a car accident while on the way school. The main character Megan, discovers that her old friend from high school is the one who caused the accident by driving drunk. In order to escape the pain and memories of their old life, Meg and her husband Rex decide to attempt to leave the past behind by buying a sailboat and heading out into the "Blue Water." I enjoyed this book because it highlights the I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The story centered on a couple who had lost their 6 year old son in a car accident while on the way school. The main character Megan, discovers that her old friend from high school is the one who caused the accident by driving drunk. In order to escape the pain and memories of their old life, Meg and her husband Rex decide to attempt to leave the past behind by buying a sailboat and heading out into the "Blue Water." I enjoyed this book because it highlights the complexities of grief and loss. Also, I liked learning about sailing as this is a topic about which I have very limited knowledge. I felt that the storyline got weaker and more unrealistic as the book progressed but overall I found it to be a worthwhile read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tex

    "You can spend a year at sea waiting but one day it becomes impossible to endure even another hour."--Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The analogy of the deepness of the ocean compared to vast emotions runs through this book. Personally, I cannot imagine (as much as I love the salt water) spending weeks or months or years living where your vulnerabilities are so exposed. For a good deal of the book, I was anxious trying to think of what might happen--either emotionally or while Meg and Rex were floating "You can spend a year at sea waiting but one day it becomes impossible to endure even another hour."--Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The analogy of the deepness of the ocean compared to vast emotions runs through this book. Personally, I cannot imagine (as much as I love the salt water) spending weeks or months or years living where your vulnerabilities are so exposed. For a good deal of the book, I was anxious trying to think of what might happen--either emotionally or while Meg and Rex were floating across the Big Water. Made me think and I liked it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Polly Petersen

    An intimate look at how a mother deals with the loss of her young son in an automobile accident caused by a drunk driver. The sorrow, the anger, the inability to find solice lead her and her husband out of their small town to set sail in the blue water. Adrift at sea, it is not until she is forced to confront past relationships and sorrows on her return at Christmas that our protagonist is able to find a way to forgive an move to a new place of healing.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Barb Anders

    Beautiful writing from this author about a very sad subject- the death of a child because of drunk driving...made even more horrible as the person that was driving was a friend of the mother. In their grief, the couple leave by boat to sail the ocean and get away from the live they've known....but return for her brothers wedding to face the friend and things that happened in the past. Great book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    This was a truly compelling and well-written book about loss, grief, and the ability to forgive. The only reason it fell short of 5 stars for me was that, given the subject matter (the loss of a child in a drunk driving accident), the story was oddly devoid of strong emotional moments.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lee Roversi

    this book really made me ponder the notion of grief and forgiveness. after closing the book, it stuck with me for a couple of days. nothing like a book that makes you think and roll the story around in your mind and heart.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shirley

    Starkly beautiful prose. Captivating story line with relationships and intimations woven throughout. Do we all remember a phrase/question that shifted the terms of a friendship/situation? I breezed through this book on a trip to Europe and finished wanting more!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    I usually love Ansay's writing. This book was an exception. I was thinking I'd give it a 2-star rating, but changed it because of the ending to a 3-star (I'm not telling you a thing about the ending - but it was better than I expected). The plot was interesting at first and then de-railed into a hodge-podge of trendy issues. It was as though Ansay had a bucket of issues and a deal with her publisher to toss in as many as she could in one novel. And, it must be said that the constant and I usually love Ansay's writing. This book was an exception. I was thinking I'd give it a 2-star rating, but changed it because of the ending to a 3-star (I'm not telling you a thing about the ending - but it was better than I expected). The plot was interesting at first and then de-railed into a hodge-podge of trendy issues. It was as though Ansay had a bucket of issues and a deal with her publisher to toss in as many as she could in one novel. And, it must be said that the constant and unrelenting time shifts was definitely the most irritating portion of the book. Let's have chapters or even linked paragraphs in the same time - but to have shifts within paragraphs - yikes! As for the characters, well, Meg is convincing to a point as a mother who loses her child tragically. Rex is a mess and didn't strike me as believable. The folks Meg and Rex meet along the way are all caricatures of Jimmy Buffet. I'll never live on a boat if it's like the author described.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Grace Bogaert

    A compassionate and wonderful portrayal of all sides of a tragedy. Meg's voyage to the Caribbean and back moves with a steady clip through turbulent seas and finishes with a satisfying end.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Griffith

    Exciting story unfolds after Meg and Rex lose their son in a tragic car accident.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pat Giese

    another exceptional story by this Wisconsin writer. The grief over the loss of a child and the ability to forgive the person responsible are powerful emotions exhibited in this sad story. Running away to live on a sailboat does nothing to assuage one's grief nor to achieve the relief of forgiveness.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mary Montgomery hornback

    This is my third book by Ansay. She is an incredible story teller and has a brilliant talent for revealing the souls of her characters. I really liked this book, hence, I consumed it within 24 hours. I dont know anything about sailing...this May or may not have been realistic. However, Ansay accurately and poetically captures the struggle of forgiveness. This is my third book by Ansay. She is an incredible story teller and has a brilliant talent for revealing the souls of her characters. I really liked this book, hence, I consumed it within 24 hours. I don’t know anything about sailing...this May or may not have been realistic. However, Ansay accurately and poetically captures the struggle of forgiveness.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andy Plonka

    The amount of willing suspension of disbelief that the reader needs to suspend in this book is great. I realize she wants to create situations where choices are not clear cut, but there are so many of these choices in this story that it is difficult to handle.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gwen Kooi

    I definitely did not see the final twist coming! Which made the book all the more realistic. A beautiful story about love, pain, longing and hope. Starring perfectly human characters living utterly believable lives.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    What would you do if the unthinkable happened? That's what this book is about. The story grabs you and keeps you hooked until the end.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Louise Jones

    i have never read anything by this author although have heard of vinegar hill . I would have given this book more stars but found it so confusing with going backward and forward in time and sometimes had to keep going back abit al to re cap who was who in the story !!! I have read maybe a bit to many stories about to move forward in life u have to for give the crime and the person who committed it also the story had few tie ins which were diffficult to believe was true !!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    Forgiveness. There is no healing without forgiveness. Meg & Rex live in Wisconsin, just north of Milwaukee, and one day as Meg was driving their son, Evan, to school, another car, driven by an old friend, Cindy Ann, runs into them, killing Evan. It turns out Cindy Ann was drunk, driving her own 3 daughters to school as well. Meg & Rex try to escape their grief on a boat in the Caribbean and with lawsuits against Cindy Ann. But as the back stories unwind, Meg and Cindy Ann each find Forgiveness. There is no healing without forgiveness. Meg & Rex live in Wisconsin, just north of Milwaukee, and one day as Meg was driving their son, Evan, to school, another car, driven by an old friend, Cindy Ann, runs into them, killing Evan. It turns out Cindy Ann was drunk, driving her own 3 daughters to school as well. Meg & Rex try to escape their grief on a boat in the Caribbean and with lawsuits against Cindy Ann. But as the back stories unwind, Meg and Cindy Ann each find forgiveness before a future is possible for anyone.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    an intriguing read, likely to trigger recognition of similarities (of character flaws to your own flaws or others that you know and their flaws), likely to spur recurring moments of "hmmmm..." Mental health issues need to be brought out from under the rug, and this book 'teases' by giving glimpses of how different characters and strangers deal with 'situations' that arise. No easy answers.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    Started off as a four star for me, but as the book progressed it started to slide. What was needed was a hefty edit to eliminate extraneous details and characters. The story could have been a deep dive into grief and forgiveness, but I was too distracted by the clutter of issues, characters and shifts in tense. But it was engaging enough to finish, and I was satisfied with the ending.

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