A very interesting tale of years of regret, guilt, loneliness, feelings of rejection, blaming God, and oh yes, a generous helping of romance woven in.
I've heard the word "PTSD" in reference to many Veterans returning home after deployment to dangerous areas who had experienced horrific things, like seeing friends dying or even being injured themselves and feeling responsible for various accidents and loss of life.
It gave me a better understanding of how PTSD sufferers resolve these erroneous thoughts and misconceptions and stop blaming themselves through turning to God, talking to friends, family, and talking to professional therapists. They realize that they are not to blame and it helps to get things out in the open.
This is a sweet story of believing and trusting God's faithfulness and love, people forgiving themselves and each other, loving one another and feeling God's peace.
I loved it. Thank you, Fiction Guild, for introducing me to another fine author.
Natalie Mitchell has faced tragedy no one should have to face, but she is trying to hold it together. During a business presentation, she starts to have flashbacks and is barely able to continue the presentation. Natalie's father, head of the corporation, won't settle for weakness.
Natalie's grandfather, who is handling the family's winery, Mailios, recently had a heart attack. Natalie's father thinks he can take care of two problems at once by sending her to care for her grandfather. He can get Natalie away from his business for a while and have her force the closure of the now unprofitable winery.
Tanner Collins, the vintner, is trying to recoup previous losses and put the winery back in the black. Natalie's unannounced and unwanted arrival appears to put his plans in peril.
The Memory of You deals with some of the very tough issues in the novel in a realistic way. However, (and I don't want to give a spoiler) there are similarities in Natalie and Tanner's lives that are just too closely related. I felt part of the story detracted from its entirety and could have been left out, or a different scenario could have been used to explain some circumstances. I also felt that Tanner never truly dealt with his issues, and although Natalie began to cope with hers, neither seemed ready for a healthy relationship. Yet they were dropped into one. I don't know if the implication was supposed to be they were "miraculously" restored to good mental health or whether, even though things were really bad, things weren't quite as bad as they appeared to be.
Miss West does a very good job of explaining information about the winery, making it come to life and helping the reader understand facts pertinent to its operations. Her understanding and descriptions of mental health issues are credible and authentic, but she wraps up the characters' struggles too quickly.
Catherine West has written an interesting story about a young woman with PTSD, a winery and a young man trying to deal with his own heartaches. Even though there were some shortcomings to the story, overall, I feel it was well written and inspirational.
I received a copy of The Memory of You from The Fiction Guild. However, I was under no obligation to provide a review.
4 stars- "The Memory of You" is an endearing story that tugs at the heartstrings. Catherine West does a great job creating characters that are genuine and likable. Natalie and Tanner are both imperfect, empathetic characters with big life struggles. I can also relate to Natalie's anxiety. Her books are not nail-biters, but rather slow and steady stories that draw you in and grab you with their depth and emotion. The characters are flawed and must rely on God and each other throughout the book. There are several emotional scenes that are masterfully written and thought provoking. I look forward to reading more of Catherine's books in the future.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
Catherine West knows how to take a story that, if taken at a surface level is just another "poor little rich girl finds some gumption and romance," and goes so much deeper and makes it so much more. She gets me invested in characters and their circumstances and makes my heart ache for their brokenness.
Natalie Mitchell has decided to give herself a second chance. She no longer allows herself to take a passive or care-taking role based on past choices and the presumptions and expectations of overbearing family members.
Tanner Collins is a bit like some Jane Austen heroes in that he comes off as being a bit of a jerk for quite a bit of the story. But he slowly becomes more sympathetic, and the scene where he sees his office after Natalie gets through with it? It had me both smiling and snickering.
Now, I thought I had my bearings with this story - faith issues, trust issues, grief, depression, complicated families - then chapter 13 started and threw me for a loop. A new character is introduced into a sub-plot that really left me wanting more. I do love it when secondary characters pop up and say "you'd love me and my story, too!"
The Memory of You is about secrets, second chances, and forgiveness. If you enjoy a well told tale that touches your heart, a bit of mystery and a sweet romance, or just really like stories of messy families set in California wine country, then this is an excellent choice. Highly recommended and I will anxiously wait for more from this author.
This review refers to a finished copy I voluntarily received from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
After thirteen years, Natalie Mitchell is faced with going back to the place where her sister's tragic death happened, a place she's avoided since. She is forced to face her past as her father instructs her to check on the status of her grandfather's winery and possibly shut it down. When she arrives, her childhood friend, Tanner Collins, is anything but happy to see her. As they are forced to work together, they find they both have secrets in their pasts. Will she be able to face her past and move on with her life, or will it haunt her forever? Will she be able to save the winery or will she blindly obey her father's wishes as she's always done?
Beautifully written, you will not want to put this book down. I loved this book, I loved how the characters were flawed and very well developed. Their struggles are struggles that many peoplecan relate to. I love how West shows how they learn to trust God as they work through their problems. To trust that God makes no mistakes and He has a plan in everything, no matter how horrible it looks to us. I highly recommend this book, go grab yours today!
**I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for review through the Fiction Guild program. I was not required to write a positive review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.