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    Review of THE SEDUCTION OF WATER by Carol Goodman

    Ballantine, January 2003

    Review by Cathy Richard Dodson (see her website)

    Iris Greenfeder's life hasn't turned out the way she hoped it would. She's a struggling college English professor who's all but got her dissertation, who teaches others to write but would rather be a writer herself. She has a ten-year relationship that isn't looking like it's ever going to turn into marriage; she's still living in a one-room flat and taking money to pay rent from her aunt. She suspects life could be better. But when she writes a story based on a fairy tale told by her mother, a children's fantasy writer who died when Iris was a girl, she draws the attention of a magazine publisher who encourages her to write her mother's memoir.

    Iris' research for the book leads her back to the old hotel in upstate New York where she was raised, and where she hopes she may find a missing manuscript, the third story in her mother's book trilogy, supposedly written but never found. At the hotel, she talks to both guests and staff who have known her mother before her tragic death, and little by little she begins to uncover information that someone doesn't want discovered.

    Two people who seem particularly concerned with the story are her mother's former literary agent and the new owner of the hotel that Iris' parents once managed. While both encourage Iris with her writing project, she wonders if they don't know things about her mother's past that they aren't sharing. Iris finds too that many of the keys to the mystery of who her mother really was seem to lie hidden in the fairy tale written before her death, and as Iris follows them she's led to unexpected truths.

    I bought this book at the library book sale, and it turned out to be a real gem! I can't wait to read more of Goodman's work. Not only does her literary writing style make for a wonderful narrative, I love the way she's woven the fairy tales into the mystery, as well as developing characters you really care about, regardless of the bad choices they may have made in the their pasts. The mystery has some wonderful twists and turns and surprised me a bit in the end, which is always a good sign! I highly recommend this book!

    See more reviews of novels by Carol Goodman.

    Five Stars*

    *A Five Star ranking is a 'best book of the year' award from that reviewer. Congratulations to author Carol Goodman.

    Reviewed 6/20/05

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