Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for The Shimmer on the Water by Marina McCarron which was published as an ebook on 4th August and will be available in paperback later this year. My thanks to Amy at Head of Zeus for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my digital review copy via NetGalley. Do check out the post by my tour buddy for today Wendy at Wendy Reads Books.
About the Book
Three women. Two generations apart. One secret they share.
Maine, 1997. As the people of Fort Meadow Beach celebrate the Fourth of July, four-year-old Daisy Wright disappears and is never seen again.
Maine, 2022. Fired from her job and heart-broken, Peyton Winchester moves back home for the summer. Bored and aimless, she finds a renewed sense of purpose when an ad for a journalism course reminds her of a path not taken. Returning to life in her home town brings back all kind of memories – including Daisy’s disappearance when she was a young girl herself.
As Peyton begins to search for answers about Daisy’s disappearance, she finds that they might be closer to home than she thinks – and their lives become intertwined with irreversible consequences.
Format: ebook (413 pages) Publisher: Aria
Publication date: 4th August 2022 Genre: Contemporary Fiction
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The Shimmer on the Water alternates between two storylines, one in the present day and one starting in 1966.
The book is not so much about solving the mystery of Daisy Wright’s disappearance, although it does provide a number of connections between the two storylines, as about family secrets and the impact they have when they are finally revealed. For Peyton, trying to discover the person responsible for Daisy’s disappearance allows her to focus on something other than recent events in her life. ‘Getting dumped. Getting fired. Losing friends. The embarrassment of all her failures.’ Having to return to her parents’ home feels like the final humilation. Peyton feels there is a story to be told about Daisy’s disappearance, one which might help in her ambition to become a journalist. It’s not a plan that finds much favour with Peyton’s mother whose attitude to her daughter is one of disappointment and often cool indifference.
A separate storyline follows the early life of Euella and her younger sister, Minnie, in 1960s Tennessee. It’s a powerful and moving story which was the standout element of the book for me. Euella’s father and brother are both drunks prone to violent outbursts as a result of which her mother has become absent emotionally, and later literally absent. It is left to Euella to care for and protect her young sister. It’s a struggle to put food on the table and to keep them warm through the harsh winters. The family’s poverty and increasingly dysfunctional nature mean they are ostracised by the local community. Fuelled by anger and an innate fortitude, Euella is determined to make a better life for herself and her sister. ‘A plan is forming. New ideas are coming. She can feel herself changing, becoming something different. Someone different.’
The connections between the two storylines become apparent fairly early on but this doesn’t stop Eualla’s story continuing to be utterly compelling as we see her literally reinvent herself. That’s not to say she doesn’t make mistakes along the way, quite costly ones as it turns out that will have repercussions in the future. Gradually Peyton discovers more about her family, and in particular her mother. It will result in her seeing things in a completely new light and bring about a fundamental change in her relationship with her mother. It also triggers memories of events on the day Daisy Wright went missing. But after so many years can those memories be relied upon?
And the ‘shimmer on the water’ of the title? This early description of what Peyton observes as she gazes out to sea made me think it is the prospect of calm returning after a period of turmoil. ‘The sound of a boat grows louder and she turns to watch as it speeds by, the frothy white wake it leaves disturbing the shimmer on the water before it is absorbed again into the waves and the water is once again flat.’
If The Shimmer on the Water is less of a mystery novel than the book description might suggest, it is still a skilfully crafted dual time novel that explores the impact of fractured family relationships.
In three words: Moving, insightful, intriguing
Try something similar: Only May by Carol Lovekin
About the Author
Marina McCarron was born in eastern Canada and studied in Ottawa and Vancouver before moving to England. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Publishing degree. She has worked as a reporter, a freelance writer, a columnist and a manuscript evaluator. She loves reading and travelling and has been to six of the seven continents. She gets her ideas for stories from strolling through new places and daydreaming. Her debut novel, The Time Between Us, came to her as she stood at Pointe du Hoc on a windy June day and asked the magical question, what if…?