#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Loft by Bette Lee Crosby #BookReview Contemporary Fiction with a Touch of Magic

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.

This week’s choice is The Loft by Bette Lee Crosby, the second book in the Memory House Collection, published in September 2015. Lovely stories with a touch of magic.

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The Loft ~ Memory House Collection #2

  • TheLoftAuthor: Bette Lee Crosby
  • Published: September 2015 by Bent Pine Publishing
  • Category: Contemporary Fiction
  • five-stars

50 YEARS OF MEMORIES ARE HIDDEN IN THE WALLS OF THE LOFT…
Annie only needs to find one… the one that will save Oliver’s life.
On the day of their wedding, Annie saw nothing but happiness ahead, but when an accident calls her back to Memory House, her world is changed forever. Ophelia Browne, the woman who taught Annie to find the memories in a forgotten object, is leaving the house and she’s leaving all those powerful memories behind.
After only three nights in the loft, Annie must now find the single most meaningful memory in Oliver’s mind. If she finds it in time, she can save his life, if she doesn’t…well that’s something she can’t afford to think about.

Annie Cross’s life changed completely a year ago. The change began the day she found Memory House Bed and Breakfast and met Ophelia Browne. Annie thought Ophelia was just a sweet old lady who had a way with herbs and wonderfully scented and seemingly magical potpourri. But Ophelia taught Annie things she never would have believed. And now she was marrying Oliver, in the same church where Ophelia married her late husband, Edward, as a direct result of finding memories in forgotten objects. The minute Annie touched the old bicycle, and began working on sprucing it up, the memories started with an echo of a boy’s laughter. That’s what lead her to Ethan Allen Doyle and from there to his son, Oliver. 

You can tell me seven ways from Sunday there’s no such thing as magic, and you might be right. But since I’ve allowed my heart to believe in the things Ophelia taught me, my life is filled with the magic of love and happiness.

Alone again in Memory House after Annie and Oliver’s marriage, Ophelia decides to drive to church. What happens next changes her life and her outlook. Annie loves Ophelia as if she were her own mother. She and Oliver move back into Memory House in order to look after Ophelia when she’s well enough to come home. While spending time in a rehabilitation centre Ophelia comes to a decision after making new friends and seeing the promise of a new life. A life lived in the present instead of the past. Continue reading

Memory House ~ Memory House Collection #1 (Advance Review)

  • MemoryHouseAuthor: Bette Lee Crosby
  • To be Published: 14th April 2015 by Bent Pine Publishing
  • Category: Contemporary Fiction
  • five-stars

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.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

About the author

3222582USA 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.

Author links ~ Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads