Monday, August 11, 2014
Sweet Water: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train comes a novel about buried secrets and the redemptive power of forgiveness.
Cassie Simon is a struggling artist living in New York City. When she receives a call from a magistrate telling her she has inherited sixty acres of land in Sweetwater, Tennessee, from her grandfather, whom she never knew, she takes it as a sign: it’s time for a change. She moves to the small Southern town where her mother, Ellen, grew up—and where she died tragically when Cassie was three.
From the moment she arrives in Sweetwater, Cassie is overwhelmed by the indelible mark her mother’s memory left behind. As she delves into the thicket of mystery that surrounds her mother’s death, Cassie begins to discover the desperate measures of which the human heart is capable.
As a fan of Christina Baker Kline's novel, Orphan Train, I was excited to read her first book, Sweet Water. I knew that I would be in for an uputdownable story filled with fascinating characters and oodles of family drama. Well, I was right. Sweet Water is the story of Cassie, a big City gal, who decides to embrace country living in Tennessee and winds up finding out more about her family than she bargained for.
Life in NYC is not going all that well for Cassie, so when she inherits her grandfather's house in Tennessee, she thinks its the perfect opportunity to start fresh somewhere new and finally meet her mother's family. Of course, life in Tennessee is not at all what Cassie expected. From suspicious relatives to dark family secrets, every one and every thing seems to be pushing Cassie to head back to NYC. Except, she doesn't want to leave her new home just yet. Inspired to create, Cassie begins to sculpt and envision a new life for herself. Her new job at a local dive bar introduces her to some new friends and a new love. Life is inching toward livable, when gossip, family squabbles, and burglary occur. Cassie realizes that her mother's family is not one for embracing new relatives.
Kline's debut novel is engaging, well written, and unputdownable. I was hooked! I found myself following Cassie's big move to Sweet Water with excitement. I wanted to see her enmeshed with her mother's family and embarking on new adventures. Of course, I wanted a little family drama to spice things up a bit. Well, I certainly got what I wanted - in spades! Cassie's family is not too happy with her relocation to their family home - why did she get the house? Her grandmother, Clyde, is not welcoming and tends to look through Cassie instead of at her. No one seems to really want her around, well, except for her cousins. Although one of them happens to be her new love interest and that just about put me off reading the rest of the book. Why Cassie had to fall for her cousin is beyond me, but that's what Kline wrote. I didn't like this pairing and found myself rather disturbed by it. However, that is my only quibble with the story. I really enjoyed reading everything else, especially Clyde's musings at the beginning of each chapter. I liked learning about this unhappy woman - we get to learn about her past and present state of mind. Plus, we get to learn more about how/why Cassie's mom died and the dark, horrible secret that Clyde has kept buried for much too long. This is one entertaining read!
I really loved Sweet Water and would recommend it to fans of Christina Baker Kline and fans of women's fiction. This is a terrific book filled with family dramas and secrets. If you want to find out what everyone else is saying about this book, check out the TLC Book Tours schedule for: Sweet Water.