Friday, May 16, 2014

Julie's Review: The Memory Garden

Author: Mary Rickert
Series: None
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 304
Obtained: Publisher
Genre:  Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Bottom Line: A languid book where the reveal was anti-climatic
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Just get it at the library
Summary: Nan keeps her secrets deep, not knowing how the truth would reveal a magic all its own. Bay Singer has bigger secrets than most. She doesn't know about them, though. Her mother, Nan, has made sure of that. But one phone call from the sheriff makes Nan realize that the past is catching up. Nan decides that she has to make things right, and invites over the two estranged friends who know the truth. Ruthie and Mavis arrive in a whirlwind of painful memories, offering Nan little hope of protecting Bay. But even the most ruined garden is resilient, and their curious reunion has powerful effects that none of them could imagine, least of all Bay.

Review: The summary intrigued me; the first half of the book intrigued me and then I lost interest. I didn't lose so much interest that I didn't want to finish but I'm not sure if I really cared about the ending either. I don't like not caring about the characters I'm reading. I almost always want to know that they are ok. The Memory Garden is part coming of age and part dealing with the past. It is a coming of age story for Bay as Nana deals with not only her past but how to reveal Bay's past and her future to her.

Ms. Rickert has a gift for creating the scene. She creates a gorgeous and unique garden that adds to the mystery of the novel. You can visulize the wildness of the garden and how things grown together. You can also smell the herb/spice at the beginning of each chapter. These tie in nicely with the novel and what is going on within each chapter. As the reader, you know early on what Bay's reveal will be to her; therefore making that discussion anti-climatic. Also, Bay's reaction is also a-typical, which was refreshing but also a bit alarming. She seemed to accept her talent a bit too easily for a girl of 15. Also, I didn't go back and forth about if Nan was a witch because for me it was evident. Although, I think healer is a better term for her.

It also doesn't take much to figure out what happened with Eve. It was a different era for women and the consequences of such were demonstrated in the consequences of their actions. I think all of the elder ladies, Nan, Mavis and Ruthie, suffered for their part in the tragedy. They all lived their lives punishing themselves for something they truly had no control over.

I think the magic in this book should have been in the characters but I just didn't connect with them. I understood why they did what they did but in the end, I didn't care about the outcome. It could have been because I put the puzzle together pretty early with the mystery. The Memory Garden could have been magical but it left something to be desired for me. I wanted a little more for this one.



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