Cool Water leads us through the lives of the residents of Juliet. There's Lee and his farm; Willard and Marian, who run the drive-in; Norval, the banker and his wife Lila; Vicki and Blaine and their 6 children; Lynn, who works in a restaurant and her husband Hank; and of course the camel. Like a lot of small towns, everyone is connected to everyone else in this anything-but-sleepy town in drought-prone Saskatchewan.
I loved this book. It worries me a little when I hear such good things about a book as I did with this one. I usually expect too much and finish the book disappointed. This was not the case here at all. The book more than exceeded my expectations. It was fantastic. Really, really good. In its quiet unassuming way, the story kind of snuck up on me and sucked me in before I knew what was happening. I was halfway through the book in no time. Despite the sadness and suffering in the story, it still felt light and airy. It is also quite funny at times.
I'd be hard-pressed to pick a favourite character. I really liked several of them. Even though Marian said very little, she stole my heart. I really felt sorry for Norval, who knew everyone's financial woes. Vicki was stuck with 6 kids and very little income. There wasn't one character that I disliked.
I was a little surprised by the camel until I thought about it for a bit. Drought-prone, sand, hot. Of course, Saskatchewan is a great place to have a camel. I don't know why they don't have more of them.
Besides the title, there were several references to water: a creek, a swimming pool, all the talk about waiting for rain, etc. I was so caught up in the story that even I felt relief when the characters had a chance to cool off.
The setting of the story was of great interest to me. While I don't live in Saskatchewan or in a small town, I was born and raised on the prairies; right next door in Manitoba. I wouldn't live anywhere else. Usually this time of year, we start praying for rain; for relief from the heat, for the garden and for the farmers. That's not the case this year. The prairies have had rain than we can handle. More is on the way. Many farmers' fields are underwater, The Red River Floodway is in use to keep Winnipeg from flooding; and the mosquitos are multipling quickly. We are all about extremes here. Anyone have a giant umbrella?
Highly recommended. I'd look forward to reading works by this author.
Want to read other reviews? Here's one from Melanie from The Indextrious Reader, Luanne from A Bookworm's World, and one from the Winnipeg Free Press.
For more information about this book, please visit the HarperCollins Canada website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at HarperCollins Canada for this review copy.
Cool Water: A Novel by Dianne Warren, HarperCollins, ©2010. ISBN 9781554685585(Hardcover), 328p.