Can we indeed trust our memories, especially in the view of a tragic event?
Laura Murphy thought she could, that was until she returned home.
When Laura returns home ten years after the death of her childhood sweetheart Ryan Taylor, her past begins to unravel and memories she’d long pushed aside begin to resurface.
Having trouble reconciling truth and memory, Laura reconnects with childhood friend Tom, to try and find closure, but Tom has issues of his own. Not only is he faced with the threat of losing his farm, but he is also hiding a secret that could change everything for them both.
Will Laura and Tom find the answers they need to move forward, or will they discover that memories can’t always be trusted?
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. Returning, however, has begun to push powerful emotions stemming from the accident so long ago that ended the life of her boyfriend in the last week of their twelfth year.
The mind is forced sometimes to take heroic measures to shield the person of an event too horrendous to accept. And though Laura had spent those years steadfastly refusing to revisit the event, attempting to shove it out of her life has only resulted in confusion, her heart unsettled and unable to quell the feeling that the terrible memory is just beyond her reach and inability to resolve.
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 shape life as well as the crush of betrayal. There is a lot to sort through and the mystery of what happened is gradually revealed as Laura attempts to sift through the snatches of her memory to attain the truth–perhaps too difficult to bear.
It’s a heavy subject and the novel worked to create a small-town vibe, collective secrets slowly 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 scenes flipped to reliving the moment during the school years sharing obscure details and YA angst.
Ryan Taylor, the lost love, is a character well-fleshed by Laura’s memories as well as a personal journal. Tom, a close childhood friend is most engaging and sympathetic but also possessed of closely held secrets.
The author waxed prose at times, with an interesting turn of phrase or description (“The rain formed a diagonal drizzle that slid slowly down the windowpane“), but I missed some investing into the small-town feel of the people. The sense of hopelessness and frustration in the depressed young interwove a powerful statement.
The climax came with a ring 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.
Genre: Australian & Oceanian Literature, Small Town & Rural Fiction, Women’s Friendship Fiction
- ASIN: B07VBCHJ53
Rosepoint Publishing: 3.5 of Five Stars
The Author: Jodi Gibson is an Australian author of women’s contemporary fiction. She writes in two genres – character-driven contemporary drama, and light-hearted rom-com.
Her contemporary dramas revolve around the lives of seemingly ordinary people and usually involve secrecy, lies, and a touch of mystery.
Her lighter style rom-coms are the perfect escape from the mundaneness of everyday life with characters who will make you laugh, cringe, and whom you’ll love spending time with.
When she’s not writing you’ll find Jodi managing our family bathroom renovation business, kid-wrangling, and tending to the many animals on her mini-farm in regional Australia. You’ll also often find her with my nose in a good book, or in the kitchen baking and dreaming of her next traveling adventure.
2019 V Williams