- Author: Bette Lee Crosby
- To be Published: 14th April 2015 by Bent Pine Publishing
- Category: Contemporary Fiction
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A MEMORY TO OUTLIVE ITS OWNER?
Ophelia Browne knows the answer is yes. She knows because she’s been granted the unique gift of finding and caring for those forgotten memories. But now she’s nearing ninety, and Browne women seldom live beyond ninety.
Before time runs out Ophelia must find a successor. Someone who can take hold of the gifts and keep the memories from fading.
Needing to get away, if only for a short time, from her life and failed relationship with her boyfriend Michael in Philadelphia, Annie Cross finds herself at Memory House Bed and Breakfast. She almost misses the sign and yet, as she approaches the pretty cottage, it feels vaguely familiar. Her visit to Memory House proves to be the turning point in her life. Ophelia Browne’s cottage in Burnsville, Virginia, is where she’s lived for most of her life. Memory House is just that; a house filled with memories. Ophelia’s own and the ones she feels when she touches the treasures she’s collected over the years.
Ophelia has a gift and is waiting for a special someone to keep the memories from fading away and disappearing. She thinks Annie may just be that person. From their first meeting they feel an almost immediate liking for each other and bond over pots of dandelion tea. Ophelia is skilled in the use of herbs and flowers, their magical and healing qualities and grows them for her own use as well as selling them in her apothecary shop.
Ophelia Browne remembers everything. She remembers things from her own life and from the lives of those who came before her. She has only to touch her hand to an object and she can feel the special memory clinging to it. But now she is getting on in years. In eleven months she’ll turn ninety. Few women in the Browne family live beyond such an age. If death comes before she finds a replacement, the memories might be lost forever.
Annie was only planning to stay a night or two but spends a week helping in the garden and listening to Ophelia’s stories. The peace and tranquility Annie feels at Memory House is like a balm to her soul and she doesn’t want to leave.
Ophelia tells Annie about her dearly loved husband, Edward, and how he fixed up the attic for their bedroom, putting in a skylight so she could lay in bed and watch the stars. Her happiness in those memories shines through and makes Annie question the foundation of her relationship with Michael when he decides he wants her back. Ophelia shows Annie an old bible and talks about who it belonged to. Then a rusty, twisted bike and a rubber ball and when Annie has flashes of a small boy laughing Ophelia knows Annie has the gift. But as Annie discovers more memories, some that have a sense of violence, Ophelia is alarmed and has cause to wonder if she’s doing the right thing.
I love the passages in between chapters written from Ophelia and Annie’s points of view, giving insights into their lives and thoughts. It’s a charming story, full of imagination and incorporating some characters from previous books who it was a pleasure to meet again. And the connection between their treasures and Ophelia’s memories is delightful. Annie and Ophelia’s personalities and the way they relate to one another is explored wonderfully. Ms Crosby’s books have a magical quality and are filled with colourful and unconventional characters who are touching, likeable and easy to relate to. Memory House is no exception and the underlying message as always, gives pause for thought. Oh, and I love the idyllic cover image, such a gorgeous cottage.
‘A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen ~ Edward de Bono’
My thanks to Bette Lee Crosby for an ARC in return for my honest review.
About the author
USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby’s books are “Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances.” – Midwest Book Review
The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby’s writing is, “A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures.”
Samantha from Reader’s Favorite raves, “Crosby writes the type of book you can’t stop thinking about long after you put it down.”
“Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”
It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky characters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win nineteen awards for her work; these include: TheRoyal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal, Reader’s Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer’s Choice Award.