30 March 2017

Book Review: The Memory of You by Catherine West

Thought-Provoking Christian Fiction

Natalie lost her twin sister in an accident when they were thirteen, and she’s been suffering the after-effects for the fifteen years since. Now she’s forced to return to the scene of the accident, her grandfather’s vineyard in California, where she reconnects with family and old friends.

And Natalie is disconnected. We see this early on—she's recently broken her engagement, she appears to have only one friend, and her relationship with her parents is distant, her relationship with her grandfather non-existent from having not seen him in fifteen years.
Natalie never knew what her mother was thinking, never knew how she felt. And couldn't imagine what it must be to live a life marked in half-finished sentences.
Her father would always find a flaw. Even her best was never good enough.

It’s rare to read a Christian novel about mental illness.

There are quite a few about returning soldiers suffering from PTSD. It’s even rarer to read a Christian novel where the heroine’s mental illness is treated with drugs. It’s as though taking drugs to treat a mental illness is seen as a sign of weakness, even though most of us happily pop pills for a headache, or get the flu jab every year. And don’t tell me physical pain is somehow different.

That painkiller isn’t stopping your body from hurting. It’s stopping your brain from telling you your body is hurting.

The Memory of You reunites two teenage almost-sweethearts fifteen years later. It's got the issues-driven emotional punch of other Catherine West titles I've read, but more of a focus on the developing relationship (aka romance) between Natalie and Tanner. It's a story of unearthing secrets, acknowledging truth, and finding reconciliation for both Natalie and Tanner.

It's a fascinating lesson in how wrong our assumptions can be—and how that can mess with our relationships, with God and with family and friends. 

Recommended. Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can click here to find out more about Catherine West at her website.

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