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4.0 out of 5 starsA Quick, Enjoyable Read
Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2019
A quick, enjoyable read, The Memories We Hide, tells the tale of Laura, a beautician who is unhappy with her career and life choices. When her mother's cancer enters its final stage, Laura returns to her home town, a small country area she fled 10 years ago after the tragic accidental death of her high school boyfriend. What follows is a story about soul searching, flashbacks, missed and future romance, the horrible truth behind the real reason Laura fled, and the memories she hid from herself about that fateful night on the train tracks. I found the characters enjoyable, the mystery behind her boyfriend's death intriguing, and the reveal of the truth an interesting surprise. Definitely recommended.
Jodi Gibson's debut novel, The Memories We Hide, follows Laura through her grief, both old and new, and the battle she faces inside herself. She returns to her small hometown and is overwhelmed with memories and becoming reacquainted with old friends. The memory theme Jodi kept throughout the story was intriguing and revealed a little more of the underlying mystery with each one. Frankly, I couldn't put it down. I gobbled this story up every chance I got--I had to know what happened! Jodi Gibson took me on an intriguing, fascinating, and sometimes heart-wrenching rollercoaster ride. I'm looking forward to seeing more from this author.
The book's premise has merit and with some editing it has the potential to make its mark. The major stumbling block I had with this tale was the narrative. In the telling of this story, the prose was repetitive and pedantic. It seemed every other sentence began with 'Laura' or 'Tom'. The dialog was very sparse for the first half of the book as the story was being 'told'—not shown.
I also felt that the writing style was the underpinning for the vast emotional chasm between the characters and the reader. Laura, Tom, Ryan, and Rachel felt one-dimensional and not relatable in the least.
Another issue I grappled with was that the journal entries were a hindrance in capturing the tone of the story. I just could not imagine an 18-year old man-child being that philosophical. Finally, with the denouement, as each character began to confess what they knew about that night and who was last person to see Ryan alive, the passage became almost farcical, a blame game of musical chairs.
In the end, I couldn't find anything redeemable about any of the characters—other than Tom—and was not invested in their individual nor collective HEA.
Thank you to BookSirens and Jodi Gibson for a free copy of 'The Memories We Hide' in exchange for an honest review.
4.0 out of 5 starsThe Self-Preservation Instinct in the Sub-Conscious Mind Protects
Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2019
Having fled her small town in her teen years following a tragic accident, Laura Murphy returns after ten years to be with her terminal mother. Sometimes, the mind is forced to take heroic measures to shield the person from an event too horrendous to accept and Laura had spent those years steadfastly refusing to revisit the event.
The debut of this author's contemporary women's fiction explores the problem of understanding and coming to peace with the past. Until those issues have been determined and resolution implemented, there can be no peaceful future.
The narrative tackles some major family matters, depression, friendships, young love and relationships that tie for life as well as the crush of betrayal. There is a lot to sort through and the mystery of what happened is gradually revealed.
Inherent in the anguish, however, is the repetitive nature in the storytelling. There were times either the protagonist or support characters spilled into wringing emotional scenes. Laura is not as well-developed as she might be, and her scenes flipped back to the school years in an effort to recall the details.
Ryan, the lost love, is developed by Laura's memories as well as a personal journal. Tom, a close childhood friend is most engaging and sympathetic but also possesses closely held secrets.
The author waxes prose at times, with interesting turn of phase or description, but I missed some investing into the people of the small town. The sense of hopelessness and frustration in the depressed young interwove a powerful statement. The climax came with a ring road of disclosures almost shocking and one more far-reaching than you'd have guessed.
I received this digital download from the publisher through NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. The conclusion is satisfying but the book would benefit from one more pass through an editor. Recommended for those more inclined to emotional family struggles and women's fiction. 3.5/5
5.0 out of 5 starsForgot I’d finished and went back to read more...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 28, 2019
Loved this book! Loved how all the little stories fed into the main story and I actually forgot I’d finished the book and went back to read more 🙈 can’t wait to find out what will be next to read from Jodi 👍🏻
Its a great feeling when you pick up a book by a new author and it gets you in straight away!! Laura returns home to the country as her mother is seriously ill and she wants to spend as much time with her as possible as the prognosis is not good. She leaves behind her life in the city and her fiancee. Coming home also means she has to re-live the horror of her old boyfriend who was tragically killed when she was a teenager.
After her mother's passing Laura must decide what to do with her life and while she is there she reconnects with Tom who was one of their 'gang' when they were young. She has many decisions to make regarding her life moving forward, does she want to return to her old life or has a return to her childhood home rekindled her passion for living in the country. She needs to come to terms with a lot of things, but most of all Ryan's death and the mystery surrounding it. After coming across a mystery box whilst sorting out her mother's affairs she is determined to find out exactly what happened that night.
This was a most engaging story and had me turning pages constantly which is the sign of a good book for me. I was amazed that this was a debut novel. The author has done a great job in making the characters totally believable and drew you to a very satisfactory ending as well. I look forward to what this author produces in the future. This would appeal to readers of Womens Fiction or Rural Stories.
Jodi Gibson's debut novel, The Memories We Hide, has the reader rethinking their own childhood memories. Can you really trust them? 20 year-old Laura thought she could, but on returning to her home town in country Victoria to care for her dying mother, she discovers the memories of that fateful night her childhood sweetheart, Ryan, died, were not only skewed, but mixed up with secrets and the suppressed memories of her friends.
The Memories We Hide is a heartwarming story of love, growth, teenage depression and how secrets and guilt can eat away at the truth.
4.0 out of 5 starsPoignant and thoughtfully written
Reviewed in Australia on March 13, 2020
The theme of relationships with those who are precious to us is at the heart of this intriguing and poignant story. Jodi Gibson depicts life in rural Australia perfectly, evoking the small town that as both comforting and suffocating to protagonist Laura, who returns home after ten years away to confront her past and be with her mother who is gravely ill with cancer. The relationships between Laura and her mother and Laura and old friend, Tom, are well written and highly moving. Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 starsUnexpected twists keep you guessing
Reviewed in Australia on February 25, 2020
I found myself staying up late to finish this story because I became totally invested in all of the characters. I didn’t guess any of the plot twists and the author did an excellent job of making the different modern era time periods flow to suit the story. There were themes of grief and mental illness but these were handled with sensitivity. And the romance, past and present, made the story complete for me s a reader. An enjoyable read. I would read more books by this author.