Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

3.5 stars!
It’s a little odd for me to read a book and not post the review until weeks later. In this case, part of me just wanted to delay posting the inevitable truth: I didn’t really love this book. K.A. Tucker is one of my all-time favorite authors and a really cool lady – what she writes, I read. Though well written, Burying Water was a bit boring and I wasn’t invested in the story or characters. I’m rating this book 3.5 stars because there wasn’t anything substantially wrong with it, but then again, there wasn’t anything substantially amazing about it either.
This book certainly started off with a bang. The heroine wakes up in a hospital severely injured and on top of that, has no recollection of what happened to her or who she is. Renaming herself ‘Water’ for the little tattoo on her body, she’s offered a room at a large horse farm and starts to rebuild her life, but always aware that her present is temporary, completely contingent on whether or not she remembers her past.
Jesse Welles is her next door neighbor who’s super handy with cars. He’s also the one person who knows who she is and her past before being ‘Water.’ Though Water doesn’t recognize him from before, she feels at ease with him and instinctively knows that this man was important to her. As the days pass, Water remembers tidbits and gets flashbacks of events leading up to the day of her brutal ordeal, until finally, the entire truth surfaces.
I think I would’ve enjoyed this book more if it weren’t for the way it was set up. It’s written in alternating past/present scenes, with Water in the present and Jesse in the past. The mystery around Water’s past unfolds fairly quickly for the reader so that buries a lot of the suspense for me. I like it when the clues are subtly presented, not blatantly written out, and especially not as early as the 16% mark. And then the mystery itself I just didn’t like (view spoiler)
Don’t get me wrong, this book was really well-written and that aspect alone kept my interest. I did like how everything was resolved in the end and how the book focused on deeper meanings like the bonds of friendship, forgiveness, and second chances.
This book is indeed a very ambitious story that incorporates past/present shifts, dual POVs, and characters falling in love twice – perhaps it was just too much to tackle all in one book because in the end, nothing really stood out for me.
ARC provided by Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.