"Cool Water"

Cool Water by Dianne Warren

This was one of those books that left me wondering whether or not I liked it. I didn't love it, and I didn't hate it, I was simply disappointed with it. It kept me entertained well enough for a couple of days but I don't expect to remember the plot or even the characters very long.

There are five stories taking place simultaneously. The first one is about Lee, the adopted son of a farmer and his wife who died and left the property to him. Lee is trying to run the farm on his own but most of the story we are told about him is played out as he rides a stray horse many miles away from the farm and back again.

Then there are the Shoenfield brothers, Ed and Willard. Willard had lived with Ed and Ed's wife Marion, and since his brother's death Willard has lived with the fear that Marion would move away leaving him alone.

Blaine and Vicky Dolson have six children and serious financial problems. Vicky tries to keep up with all that raising six kids entails; Blaine becomes more and more frustrated as the financial pressures mount and their relationship begins to feel the strain.

Next is Norval and Lila Birch. He is the bank manager, she is a control freak and their eighteen year old daughter, Rachelle, is pregnant and planning her wedding.

The fifth story is about a truck driver, Hank Trass and his wife, Lynn, who runs the Oasis Restaurant. Lynn suspects Hank is not faithful to her and she's taking her anger out on the restaurant staff.

These people all live in and around the small town of Juliet in the Canadian prairies. They all know each other and sometimes their paths cross in the course of the story but I thought this felt more like a series of short stories with overlapping characters than a cohesive novel. There isn't a very clear plot line running from start to finish. I think if I put more thought into Cool Water I would see more of what the authour intended, but I just can't summon up enough interest and I have other books calling my name.

I think the problem for me is that there are too many stories to deal with effectively in the 328 pages given to them. The characters themselves are well constructed and authentic but the book ended just as I was getting involved. I'd have liked it more if there had been fewer stories told in more depth.

Having said all that I still recommend the book, because it's well written with good characters. You might love it as much as others have. I wish I had, and I  hope you do.


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