The Weight of Water, by Anita Shreve

Cover ImageFinished 7-13-10, rating 4.5/5, fiction, pub. 1997

“Rich, I swear I think marriage is the most mysterious covenant in the universe.  I’m convinced that no two are alike.  More than that, I’m convinced that no marriage is like it was just the day before.  Time is the significant dimension-even more significant than love.  You can’t ask a person what his marriage is like because it will be a different marriage tomorrow.  We go in waves.”

page 166

Jean is a married mother of a five-year old girl and a photographer.  She and her family are on her brother-in-law’s  boat on the islands off of Maine researching a story for a magazine feature.  As Jean takes pictures of the island where a horrific crime took place in the 1800’s, she becomes convinced that her husband is having an affair with her brother-in-law’s beautiful girlfriend.   This story is spliced with the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

It is haunting, sad, and drew me in right away.  Beautifully told by alternating the past with the present I was even more invested in the old mystery surrounding a double murder and life on the inhospitable islands at the time.  It was made better because it is based on a true story.  Shreve used the old courtroom transcripts word for word, but made up the rest.  It definitely made me curious about the real murders.

This is not a long novel and one that will keep you riveted.  I never did fully connect with Jean, but I was fully engaged in the story.   It left me thinking well after I finished reading and that is about as good a recommendation as I can give.  I absolutely loved it!

This is from my personal library and was chosen by Piroska and Wanda.  Here’s what Wanda had to say…”One of my all-time favourites.”