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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Catherine West: The Memory of You

By Kelly Bridgewater

Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?

When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.

And Natalie never says no to her father.

Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.

But finding freedom from the past means facing it.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

My first introduction to Catherine West's writing was The Things We Knew. It was an interesting general fiction novel that I enjoyed spending time with. So when The Memory of Us was released, I wanted to read the novel. I figured the novel had to do with someone's death, but I didn't know who or how. Losing my Daddy in late 2015 has affected every decision that I have made since. Death is not anyone's friend, so i was curious what this novel is about.

The setting of the vineyard in California was awaken in my imagination. I had no problem seeing the house and the rows and rows of grape vines. West does a good job at bringing the modern setting to life for me. West writing is clear, crisp, and concise. I never once lost my place in the story because of headhopping. She stayed in Natalie and Tanner's point of views for the entire story. The research into the workings of a vineyard flowed from Tanner's mouth without me doubting that he knew what he wanted.

In West first novel that I read, there really wasn't a lot of romance, but The Memory of Us turned into a contemporary romance novel, and I was turned away pretty quickly when I saw Tanner and Natalie start to fall in love with each other. I wanted to see them heal from their past hurts but did the story really have to turn into a romance novel? Since it took a turn toward the romance, the romance felt out of place from the growing hostility Tanner and Natalie showed toward each other at the beginning of the novel.

The pace of the story moved forward, but I felt that it was slow at times. It was an interesting story of learning to forgive and move on, but there were moments I wished the story was finished already. While the story was predictable and unoriginal, I did enjoy the idea of letting go of guilt and allowing dead ones to move on. Fans of contemporary romances will enjoy this novel and probably love it.

In conclusion, Catherine West's The Memory of Us is a slow-moving contemporary romance that starts out with a bang but then moves into a romance story between Tanner and Natalie, which I did not see coming. The spiritual truths of love, forgiveness, and moving on are apparent in the novel and were a good reminder to me.

I received a complimentary copy of Catherine West's The Memory of Us from Thomas Nelson Publishing and the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Name a couple of novels that you picked up that start in one genre, but as you read, it turns into another genre.  Did you like that? Why or Why not?


Last week, I interviewed Sarah Sundin and had a giveaway for two of her books, When Tides Turn and Anchors in the Storm, to TWO winners!

The winners are . . . 

Raechel L. - When Tides Turn
Stephanie J. - Anchors in the Storm


Winners have been emailed.  (Please respond within 24 hours or I will draw another name.)


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