Select one of the keywords
Water Lily    by Susanna Jones order for
Water Lily
by Susanna Jones
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2003)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Waterlily is a Bluebeard style psychological thriller set in the Orient. Two destinies are on a collision course. On one hand is Runa, a feckless young Japanese teacher whose affair with a younger student has been discovered. She flees (with her sister Nanao's stolen passport) pursued by imagined hordes of press, police and ex-colleagues.

Then there is Ralph, who comes East in search of a second wife. He named his Thai wife Apple and muses on her fate often; she disappeared and he told everyone that she had returned to her own country. The author skillfully presents a spooky character from his own point of view. He's on medication and seems to have a tendency to violence. He doesn't have much luck finding his 'Eastern Blossom' through the Japanese agency; for some reason none of the candidates will accept him.

It becomes clear that Ralph and Runa will meet and the reader becomes increasingly anxious about the result as more of Ralph's relationship with Apple is revealed. And why is Ralph so reluctant to have his brother fix his leaking roof in his absence; what is it about his attic? The two meet on a ferry to China (where Runa/Nanao hopes to get help and direction from her friend Ping) and events unfold, not quite predictably, as Runa wonders if 'the heron' (Ralph) might provide a short term solution to her problems.

You'll enjoy Waterlily if you like a big dose of psychology and some horror in your mystery. The author is skilled at slowly revealing the backgrounds that push her protagonists to the crisis point, but also leaves plenty of room for the reader's imagination. Though I preferred her debut novel The Earthquake Bird, I found Waterlily a compelling read.
[b:Review by Sally Selvadurai
^bc]R]una Wada, an English teacher at a private school, takes flight from her indiscretions, leaving behind a lover and her sister. She has decided to flee to China from her native Japan, to find the one person she feels she can trust - Ping, a free spirit who introduced Runa to many activities outside the usual upbringing of a Japanese girl.

Ralph Turnpike is a middle-aged Englishman looking for true love through brides-for-sale services. He has already had one Asian bride, Apple from Thailand, but that did not work out. Ralph is extremely shy and not good with the opposite sex; he's nervous, sweaty and totally incompetent around them.

Ralph and Runa both take the same ferry from Kobe to Shanghai. Their meeting happens dramatically and they begin conversing, each shielding their true emotions, their true identities, each with their own agendas. The sea cradles their secrets as they are sucked deeper and deeper into an unlikely partnership.

Susanna Jones writes intensely and provocatively. This book leaves the reader more saddened than satisfied, more disgusted than elated, wishing that human existence wasn't sometimes such a disaster, so meaningless, so wasted.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews