Saturday, 4 September 2021

The Memory Box by Kathryn Hughes


Jenny Tanner opens the box she has cherished for decades. Contained within are her most precious mementoes, amongst them a pebble, a carving and a newspaper cutting she can hardly bear to read. But Jenny knows the time is finally here. After the war, in a mountainside village in Italy, she left behind a piece of her heart. However painful, she must return to Cinque Alberi. And lay the past to rest.

After a troubled upbringing, Candice Barnes dreams of a future with the love of her life - but is he the man she believes him to be? When Candice is given the opportunity to travel to Italy with Jenny, she is unaware the trip will open her eyes to the truth she's been too afraid to face. Could a place of goodbyes help her make a brave new beginning?

Kathryn Hughes is back with a new novel, The Memory Box and it is quite simply her best book yet. Jenny and Candice are characters who will leave a lasting impression on me.  As Jenny begins to tell her carer Candice her life story she asks her to accompany her on a trip back to Italy as there is something she need to do before it is too late. Candice has a pure heart of gold and wants to help Jenny to make her last journey but her partner is less than impressed about her going.

It was such a heartwarming and gentle storyline that slowly unravelled unpredictable and shocking revelations. What Jenny experienced during her life was such a rollercoaster of highs and lows and she is very honest about her mistakes and doesn’t try to paint a perfect picture and it is from some of the experiences she has faced that she starts to see similarities in Candice’s current situation.

Candice is such a sweet natured young woman who hasn’t had the best of starts in life and my heart went out to her, she was so naïve and just wanted to see the best in those around her. She is such a hard worker and has ambitions in life, I was rooting for her to reach her goals but the relationship with her boyfriend had alarm bells ringing from early on I just hoped that Jenny was going to be able to make Candice see the light.

The storyline is told from both the current day and then also in the past when we travel through Jennys memories of her life growing up and I particularly liked reliving her past memoires with her and having the insight into how the young lives were affected by the war.

This was such a tender and unpredictable read that does touch on abuse and has loveable and relatable characters with all their flaws. There were a couple of moments that had me gapping like a fish when things came to light and I love it when a book can pull the wool over my eyes.

This is by far my favourite book by this author and that is saying something as each and every one of this authors books have been so beautifully written with a storyline of depth and emotion.

Kindle                  Paperback

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