Monday, May 22, 2023

Book Review: The Memory of You


By Sara Steven

A gorgeously uplifting story about memories, storytelling, love and friendship, about the journeys we take and the people we meet, what we remember and how there are some things we can never forget. Alex would like to believe she’s a woman who has it all. Or that’s what she tells everyone, including herself. But this is far from true. Actually she’s on the cusp of losing her home, her dream career as a writer is in tatters, her ex won’t speak to her, and her mother’s gone forever. But then a chance meeting with a stranger named Hope gives her the opportunity of a lifetime, when Hope jokes that perhaps Alex should take over her job in a café while she goes travelling. Just at that moment, it sounds like the answer to all her problems. So Alex persuades Hope to let her step into her shoes for a month. She brushes away Hope’s attempts to explain about the café, instead demanding to know more about the owner Tom . But she should have asked to know more. Because the ‘Wrong Order Café’ isn’t like anywhere she’s ever been before. And Alex’s life is about to change forever… (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Lately, I’ve been blessed by unique storytelling, and The Memory of You fits that description and then some! It’s not everyday a reader gets to experience such interesting perspectives when it comes to love, loss, and navigating change. But that’s what I felt I got when journeying through Alex’s world. She is the type of character who might be dealing with a lot, but on the surface, no one would ever know it. So much of that is a defense mechanism brought on by personal pain. While the world sees her as an accomplished author who has her life in order, only she feels she knows the truth.

I can only hope for a chance encounter with someone like Hope! At first, Alex sees what Hope has to offer as a potential lifeline, but when she experiences the Wrong Order Café, that outlook changes. The Café doesn’t apologize for incorrect orders. In fact, there are many reasons it’s encouraged, and those reasons stir up a lot of deep emotion within Alex. Which only serves to scare her off. It is so much easier to compartmentalize and keep everyone at arm’s length, and that includes her past and her memories. The Wrong Order Café and its inhabitants don’t enable that kind of behavior at all, only bringing everything she’s tried to keep hidden from even herself to the surface. 

Something Alex reflected on a lot is how her recent writing didn’t showcase emotional depth. I think I have that same issue within my own writing, so I could totally relate and identify with that sentiment. Given what she’s been through, I could also understand why that was. Slowly, the Café changes her and opens her up more, which is shown in her experiences with the people who either work or visit there, as well as in her outlook towards her own writing and that of others. 

I think one of the biggest things I appreciated about The Memory of You is how it shines a light on dementia in a unique way. I don’t know if a place like the Wrong Order Café exists in real life, but it really should. There is hope and living beyond a diagnosis. I loved Alex’s story–it was a well-deserving five-star experience!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK * Amazon US

Samantha Tonge is the bestselling and award-winning author of over 15 romantic fiction titles published by HQ, and most recently Aria. Her first book for Boldwood, Under One Roof, was published in February 2022 and her move to Boldwood marks a broadening of her writing into multi-generational woman’s fiction. She lives in Manchester with her family.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regarding your book review ... Yes! A real restaurant exists in Japan since 2017. You could have done a bit of research