Customer Reviews for

The Water Dancers

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 5 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2004

    Review - The Water Dancers

    Our local library reading club is here in the San Francisco Bay area, where the author of ¿The Water Dancers,¿ Ms Terry Gamble, resides. We were able to enlist her the other evening to join our review session covering her novel. It¿s too bad that most readers will never enjoy the good fortune of a somewhat informal chat with an author while discussing one of her recent works and how she goes about her craft. It provides a very different perspective. I first read ¿The Water Dancers¿ six months ago and recommended it to our reading club. In preparation for Ms Gamble¿s attendance, I gave the novel a second reading last week, which for me is always the ultimate test of a novel¿s real worth. During a second read do the characters still seem interesting and fresh? Does a rereading of the dialog provide new character insights? Are there elements of prose and style and structure that went unnoticed during the initial read because attentions were so fixed on plot points? And for this reader, ¿The Water Dancers¿ holds up as an exceptional novel, even with a second reading. Potential readers out there can gather the main plot points from any number of other reviews, so I won¿t bother to repeat them here. I only gave ¿The Water Dancers¿ four stars, but I¿m a hard grader. Most of the novels I pick up and read these days rate two or perhaps three stars, and often that¿s because I¿m feeling compassionate. One of the principle strengths of this novel is the way the Indian characters are drawn. I read a lot of novels covering the Native American cultures, and I¿ve grown more than tired of the patronizing way Indian characters always seem to be presented with extra sensory mystical insights into the religious beyond, and the supernatural powers to spot the Great White Buffalo stampeding across the distant plain. Terry Gamble¿s characters of Rachel Winnapee, Ben Winnapee and Honda Jackson act, talk and feel to the reader like real people experiencing and reacting to the real world. Two of the novel¿s most powerful scenes occur in the beginning and ending, when Rachel¿s grandmother and Lydia March appear to Rachel as ghost-like apparitions rising into the sky as they die in the flames of their burning houses. And yet these scenes did not feel to a reader like something from The X-Files. On the other hand, the white characters (with the exception of Ada and Bliss and Hank) seem so uniform in their physical, intellectual and emotional weaknesses that, for me, it becomes the principle shortcoming of the novel. At times the novel seems to incorporate the cliché that white people descended from wealth are evil by definition. By the end of the novel Ms Gamble is able to imbue some of these characters with more depth and understanding, but I wish she would have done it from the beginning. And then again, maybe that¿s just me. I loved that the sparse physical descriptions of the characters worked so well as a contrast to the detailed descriptions of all the surrounding physical geography. Ms Gamble¿s repeated descriptions of Rachel¿s hair as wild and ¿unbraided¿ was one of the subtle guides to our understanding of Rachel. But the real reason to pick up and read ¿The Water Dancers¿ is the prose. The writing within the novel is exceptional. Sentence structures are direct, rhythmic, paced, and always graceful. Those adjectives don¿t seem to fit together, but Terry Gamble¿s prose makes it all work. The novel was such an easy read that at the end you will need to stop and draw a breath to remind yourself just how good it was. Ms Gamble has another novel due out next year. So pick up ¿The Water Dancers¿ now, enjoy the read, and wait with baited breath like the rest of us for her upcoming novel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2003

    Engrossing read

    Ms. Gamble's Water Dancers is an evocatively written, well-researched tale taking place in the years after World War II on the shores of Lake Michigan. Primarily the story of three characters -- a wounded war vet who is the son of a wealthy family, a young Native American employee of that family, and their son, Ben, the story describes life in wealthy summer communities where people of different classes come together, yet live far separate lives. Particularly well-portrayed is how loss and disillusionment can give way to new, redefined relationship with land, class and family. The contrast between native life and that of the moneyed summer class is quite well drawn, as are the sympathetic but unsparing portraits of the character

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2003

    Evokes the Beauty & Rhythm of Northern Michigan

    In this well-written and very readable book, author Terry Gamble presents a wonderful story that unfolds over a 25 year period. It begins during World War II when wealthy families from St. Louis would move for the summer to Northern Michigan, to enjoy the beauty of Lake Michigan and the inland lakes. They would bring with them all of their social values, as well as their servants! Rachel Winnapee was a young Native American girl from the area who was hired by the March family to work as a 'charity case' servant at their summer home. She falls in love with the Marches' younger war-injured son, but their cultural and class differences make a long-term relationship impossible. As the story unfolds, Rachel struggles with her Native American identity and her own personal growth as a woman, a lover, and a mother. Good story -- I recommend it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 5 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1