book reviews

Book Review: The Memories That Make Us



The Memories That Make Us
Author: Vanessa Carnevale
Published: February 2018
Publisher: Harlequin
My Rating: 5 / 5


After an accident leaves Gracie with severe amnesia, she’s forced to decide: live a life that is made up of other people’s memories of who she was, or start a new life on her own.

Gracie confronts the question: if you had your time over, would you live the same life twice?



The Memories That Make Us isn’t only a book with a gorgeous cover, but what’s written on the pages within is equally as beautiful.

The story is about Gracie, who after a car accident is left with severe amnesia. She can’t remember who she is, who any of those around her are, (including her fiance Blake), or anything about the life she used to lead. She is forced to a crossroads; does she continue her life as it used to be trusting everything to the memories told by those around her, or does she leave and start anew in order to discover who she really is.

It’s such an interesting premise. One that had me continually asking myself, what would I do in Gracie’s situation. I mean, how many people would really have an opportunity to start their life again from scratch? I imagine in a brief moment of frustration, despair or sadness, we’ve all wondered what it would be like to start again, haven’t we?

In the novel, Gracie decides to take the time to find herself. She moves to her late mother’s flower farm on the outskirts of Daylesford where she hopes being at her childhood home will prompt memories of her old life. Meanwhile, her fiance Blake is beside himself thinking he has lost the love of his life forever.

The story is told in such a simple, yet tender way. In what is becoming increasingly rare these days, the story is told through Gracie’s eyes only rather than multiple points of view.  What this singular view does, is allow the reader to entirely feel for and with Gracie. You feel her initial fear and frustration, and you grow with her as she begins to learn about the person she is. You experience her hesitation and hope, and her reluctance to break down her walls and let go of her emotions.

Set in Daylesford in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria, Australia, Vanessa immerses you in the picturesque village and natural beauty of the area. From the first scene where Gracie arrives in Daylesford, you can visualize the gorgeous setting and the once thriving flower farm and warm cottage of Gracie’s childhood. As the novel progresses, you see yourself walking right alongside Gracie as she tends to the rows of the flower beds, and spends time under her special Willow tree.

Vanessa has obviously researched her subject matter intimately, with the knowledge of flowers and flower farming in the book just enough to draw you in without giving you a lesson. It has made me want to grow flowers – and I’m not a green thumb by any means!

The Memories That Make Us, is such a special book. It wraps it’s warmth around your heart, makes you ponder your own life, and the value of our memories. Do our memories make us who we are? Or do they hold us back?

There is of course there is a thread of romance woven through the storyline; delicate, tender, heartbreaking and heart-warming. And a climax that will knock your bed socks off!

The Memories That Make Us is now available at all book shops and online. And if you’d like to know more about the book or Vanessa, you can find her here.