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Books where water plays a main character

Selections by Denise Friday

The Water is Wide

By Pat Conroy

The author’s account of his year of teaching on Daufuskie Island in 1969. The very rural, underprivileged community is brought to light in this account set one year before full integration in Beaufort County schools. Conroy fell in love with his tough but lovable students and brought them on several field trips, including a Halloween parade and trick-or-treating in Port Royal, when bad weather forced the teacher and students to spend the night at Hilton Head Elementary School for the night.


At the Water’s Edge

By Sara Gruen

The author of Water for Elephants delivers another riveting tale. Three bored socialites — a husband and wife, and the husband’s best friend — travel to Scotland in search of the Loch Ness monster during World War II. Each of them is there for different reasons, but what they discover about themselves, and each other, is nothing short of a nightmare. Gruen allows the twisted details of madness to seep into the story at a pace that is subtle yet brilliant.


The Weight of Water

By Anita Shreve

Two stories in one, woven together. One historical, the other fiction, both tales of jealousy, suspicion, drama, death. A modern day photographer is assigned to photograph Smuttynose, a small rocky island off the coast of New Hampshire where a double murder took place in 1873. She, her husband and their daughter sail with her husband’s brother and his girlfriend to the island for the assignment. Shreve is the master of setting scenes where a misunderstood glance, touch, thought can set off an unfortunate series of events. A sudden storm changes the lives of everyone on board.


Flat Water Tuesday

By Ron Irwin

The Fenton School, a fictional boarding school in Connecticut, is known for its rowing championships. Rob Carrey, a scholarship student spending a post-high school year at Fenton, is determined to make the four-man rowing team commonly known as the God Four. Among the races, there is only one that matters, the one against their rival. Irwin details the grueling training and preparation, along with the family expectations and pressures for some students. The three boys, and one girl, who become the God Four share their year of torment, responsibility, triumphs and tragedy. A brilliant debut.


Into the Water

By Paula Hawkins

The author of The Girl on the Train brings another story that is layered with mystery, complicated relationships and misunderstandings. A small town outside of London has an ancient history of women dying in the ‘drowning pool’, a popular swimming spot in the town’s river. Some were persecuted as witches, some took their own lives. One summer, a teen drowns in the same river shortly before a single mom turns up with the same fate. Their deaths dredge up the past and the river’s dark history, and there are clues that surface that suggest some of the accidents may have been murder. The story twists to the very last sentence.


Local children’s book

A Walk Along the Sea

By Ben Pogue

A watercolor-illustrated children’s book by Lowcountry author Ben Pogue that explores love of family and love of nature. The poem takes the reader on a journey along the water’s edge to discover crabs, shells and surf and how the ocean leaves behind “boneyards,” or maritime forests that are visible, left awash in the surf. The book teaches nature conservation and encourages the reader to get outdoors, to explore and to take care of our families and the world around us.