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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Memory Box

A beautiful, timeless and heartrending story of love in a time of war

Narrator: Rachel Atkins

ISBN: 978-147226595

Publisher: Headline

Publication Date: 12/07/2021

Format: e-book and audio

Narrator: Rachel Atkins

My Rating: 5 Stars +++


A heartbreakingly beautiful novel, The Memory Box unlocks an unforgettable epic story of love and war from the million-copy-selling author of The Letter, Kathryn Hughes. If you adored The Nightingale, The Tuscan Contessa, or My Name is Eva, this book is for you.

Some love stories can't be forgotten...

Jenny Tanner opens the box she has cherished for decades. Contained within are her most precious mementos, amongst them a pebble, a carving, and a newspaper cutting she can hardly bear to read. But Jenny knows the time is finally here. After the war, in a mountainside village in Italy, she left behind a piece of her heart. However painful, she must return to Cinque Alberi. And lay the past to rest.

After a troubled upbringing, Candice Barnes dreams of a future with the love of her life - but is he the man she believes him to be? When Candice is given the opportunity to travel to Italy with Jenny, she is unaware the trip will open her eyes to the truth she's been too afraid to face. Could a place of goodbyes help her make a brave new beginning?

Will you be the next reader to lose your heart to The Memory Box?

My Review

A beautiful, timeless, and heartrending story of love in a time of war that will sweep you away. I loved it!

I adore everything the talented storyteller Kathryn Hughes writes. She dives deep into the hearts and souls of her characters, and they come alive on the page. THE MEMORY BOX is powerful and spellbinding, and the audiobook was swoon-worthy, narrated by the extraordinary Rachel Atkins. I was glued to the audiobook (and the book) for days and could not wait to get back to it.

Unforgettable. The characters still linger after the last page is turned.

Kathryn is engaging, witty, funny, and sassy, and her dual timelines are the BEST. Hughes is one of my favorite historical fiction authors of all time. Both the past and present are equally as compelling. Every book is absorbing and tantalizing, drawing you into the lives of her vivid characters and everything going on around them. Her style is unique and unlike any other author. This is a Top Books of 2021 list!

Jenny (who just turned 100 yrs old) is one of the best characters. I fell in love with her immediately. She has had a rough life and is stronger for it. She resides in the Green Meadows retirement community.

She reflects upon her past with the young Candice, who works as a caretaker at home. As she looks through her precious keepsakes in her memory box, she realizes there is one important painful journey she must make before it is too late. She must go return to Italy.

Jenny is smart, funny, feisty, razor-sharp, wise, and what I would hope to be at her age. I also enjoyed the gay friend, Frank, whose partner had passed, and he moved into the home as well.

Candice, her caregiver, and employee, is a highly relatable character with a crappy manipulative, abusive, dirtbag-controlling boyfriend, Beau, and Jenny is just the person to mentor and guide her. (her banter was laugh-out-loud).

Their Italy trip was truly mesmerizing. I laughed out loud and wanted to push Beau off a cliff. He was one nasty guy. There is so much backstory here, and it feels as though you are sitting down with a cup of tea or coffee with your grandmother, and she is telling you a story of her past.

Intimate and entrancing! Wouldn't that be fun if we could get our grandparents to spill their deep dark secrets?

There are jaw-dropping twists and surprises before the book ends, which will keep you glued to the pages. Utterly, unputdownable and spectacular. Deft, lyrical, and supremely satisfying. Her characters will steal your heart.

At the end of the book, the author writes about her Inspiration for THE MEMORY BOX, which I adored with some key recommended reads about women in Italy, the war, and more about this time tragic period in the forties and fifties.

You will laugh and cry. I have read all her books. In addition to this one, check out The Secret, The Key, The Letter, and The Promise. Her audiobooks are highly engaging and transporting.

It is a story of love in wartime, secrets kept deeply buried, grief, forgiveness, and love.

If you have not read this author, highly recommend reading every single one. I am not particularly a huge fan of historical fiction, but trust me, this book and all her books are the BEST!

Heartwarming, powerful, riveting, and thought-provoking. Character-driven and plot-driven, fans of Catherine Ryan Hyde, Elizabeth Berg, Patti Callahan Henry, and Kristin Hannah will devour this one.

A special thank you to Headline and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. Also purchased the audiobook narrated by the fabulous Rachel Atkins - always a treat!

My Rating: 💗💗💗💗💗

Pub Date: 08/05/21

Blog Tour US 09 Dec 2022

About the Author

Kathryn Hughes, author of digital #1 and

international bestseller The Letter, as well as The Secret and The Key

Kathryn Hughes was born near Manchester, UK in 1964. After thirty years working as a secretary and bringing up two children, she finally realised her dream of writing a book. Her debut novel, The Letter, set in her hometown, was first published in 2013 and since then has become an international best-seller, translated into 30 languages. Her other books include The Secret and The Key. This summer sees the release of her fourth book, Her Last Promise, a sweeping tale of a daughter's quest to unravel the secrets of her mother's disappearance.







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