Member Reviews

Fantastic read, have read previous Kathryn Hughes books and they have been brilliant so I was looking forward  to this one and it did not disappoint
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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.   What a story!   I was drawn in from the beginning and could not put it down.   Even when I stopped reading I was thinking of the characters.   It was not your typical historical fiction book and kept me drawn in with all of the twists and turns all the way up to the end.   This is the second book I have read by Kathryn Hughes and it did not disapoint.  I will be recommending this book!!!
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My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to read an advance copy of The Memory Box in return for an honest review.

This book kept me captivated from start to finish.
The parallel stories of Jenny and Candice are both heartbreaking and life affirming. And as for the ending……I would never have guessed it. 
This is more than a love story, more than a novel about memories. This book shows just how much one person’s story can affect another’s life. Despite the huge age difference between Jenny and Candice, they become more than just carer and the cared for. They become friends and confidants. 
Jenny has reached the momentous age of one hundred years old. She is determined to lay some very old ghosts to rest and shares her story with Candice a young carer at the home where Jenny now resides.. This novel takes us from pre war Manchester to Wales and onto Italy as Jenny relives her life and the choices she made. 
Candice lives with her boyfriend Beau, but as Jenny’s story unfolds, Candice begins to realise that things may not be as they seem. 
Beautifully written, this novel will enchant the reader and is in my opinion a must read.
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An excellent novel about love and family. I was engrossed with the characters immediately and enjoyed the story enormously. It taught me a lot about World War Two and how people lived and died. A wonderful tale that I’d highly recommend!
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a free ARC of this book.I have chosen to write this honest review voluntarily.
This is the first book I have read by this author. The final pages of the book are used to makes it clear that some of the events are historically correct, albeit that the group of characters are fictional. The story is told from the viewpoint of Jenny, she's reached the age of 100 living in an expensive care / residential home without any living relatives. She becomes close to one of the young carers, and shares her life story with her as they travel to Italy for a commemorative event. 
The plot is excellent, with unexpected twists right to the end, and the story is told at a good pace. The characters were realistic, and mostly likeable. I was enthralled throughout, I fully recommend this as an engaging read you won't want to put down.
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Wow … I have just finished reading this book and I’m speechless. 

This story had me laughing and sobbing. Hooked in straight away and couldn’t put down. 

The way Kathryn Hughes transports from the present to the past is like no other. It flows naturally. 

The story is heart wrenching and jaw dropping all at the same time.
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Okay, new author for me here!
This book intrigued me, and I am huge fan of the dual timeline narrative, so I was so excited to get approved on NetGalley. A few weeks ago, I was casually browing my Goodreads books when I saw that Hughes is from Altrincham, my hometown! I sent her a Tweet and we had a great chat about growing up there.
I felt this book calling me, so I started it earlier than I had planned, but I got hooked in straight away. Jenny, the 100 year old woman with a difficult past, also walked with a limp and used a crutch like myself so I definitely identified with this character! She was superbly written, as were the others. I have to say it, Beau made my blood boil throughout and I can't think of a less appropriate name for him than Beau!
The dual timeline was executed very well, with the characters and timelines well defined so there was no confusion about when events took place.
I have to say, there wasn't as much of a mention of the actual memory box until later in the book, but the twist at the end made me gasp!
I loved this book and would recommend it to historical fiction fans and those who like dual timeline narratives.
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The Memory Box by Kathryn Hughes. Headline, 2021.

This engrossing book tells Jenny’s story at twenty-one, during World War II. First in Manchester and Wales with her brother Louis, and then in Italy.  And at her 100th birthday, in 2019 in an English nursing home with her best friend Frank, and her favourite caregiver Candace, who is twenty-two.  And then in Italy with Candace.  

As Jenny says, there is nothing wrong with her brain; along with a polished wooden jewellery box of mementos, she has a lifetime of memories in her head that she pulls out slowly to Candice in small snatches during their time together, partly because she wants Candice to do something for her, and perhaps partly because she wants Candice to learn from some of the mistakes that Jenny made around the same age. 

Jenny and Candace’s stories are more complex than I expected; as I read, I was keen to learn what happened next. The writing is excellent, with consistent, well-developed, interesting, and appealing main characters.  

There is great dialogue, often with Candice using her Manchester vernacular. Descriptions of  Wales and Italy and of comfortable, contented nursing home life are equally vivid.  

This lovely book was an unexpected pleasure to read.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of The Memory Box for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.   #TheMemoryBox #NetGalley
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Thanks to Headline and Netgalley for ARC.  

This is an interesting premise for a novel - a woman turning 100 looks back on her century and most importantly the upheavals of her youth.  She enlists her young carer to hear the tale and undertake what will probably be her final journey, to lay ghosts to rest.  

This started well, with Jenny Tanner an engaging protagonist.  The story is a real page turner, covering evacuees, 'enemy aliens', love triangles and family drama across a sweep of 80 years.  Sadly for me, I thought the characterisation was inconsistent and the men in particular were reduced to cliche.  I thought the story dragged a bit, especially in the latter third and the denouement was a long time coming and not very satisfying when it did.  

However, I'm aware that this is not my usual style of reading material and that many people will get totally swept away by the period detail and the romantic elements.
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I instantly was curious to read this book after it stated it was similar to the Notebook which is one of my favorite movies and books..
Premise .

Jenny Tanner opens the box she has cherished for decades. Contained within are her most precious mementoes, 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?
This was another one of those cool dual historical reads that ties in two different protagonists and their different love stories. It was beautifully written and you felt like you were in Italy all throughout the book. It would make a gorgeous movie.
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Kathryn Hughes, I have missed you!!

It's been over two years since I read her last book and I have been desperately waiting to get my hands on this one! Like all of the others, The Memory Box did not let me down. It was a fast and easy read.  Fans of The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult will love this one!

Jenny Tanner is a feisty and quick-witted centenarian residing in a posh care facility. On her 100th birthday, she is heavily reminded that her time is quickly running out. Jenny decides to reveal her Memory Box with all its belongings to her close friend and favorite caregiver, Candice. Long buried secrets and painful memories are held inside this box. Ones that she cannot bear to take with her to the grave. 

This story will lead you on the journey of a strong, resilient young woman throughout Europe during WWII. From England to Wales to Italy, you will experience "all the feels" as the tale unfolds. 

I hope you love this book as much as I did...as well as all of her others!  5 HUGE STARS 

Thank you to Kathryn Hughes and NetGalley for allowing me access to this DRC!
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A really brilliant story. I liked uncovering Jenny’s story over the course of the book and loved both the modern and historical threads of the story.
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I have loved every single one of Kathryn Hughes books, but this one…was my absolute favourite! So well written and I loved the back and forth of the story. I loved the way that Candice befriended Jenny in the care home and the natural role of friendship that blossomed into so much more. Jenny’s story was harrowing in so many ways, what she endured during her younger years, overcoming polio, losing her parents to the war, her and Louis’ move to Wales for safety, her relationships with both Nico and Lorcan. I loved the way it ended too, it’s not often a book makes me cry, but this one did several times. I feel like I was there, living through the war in Italy, it’s unthinkable what happened. A truly beautiful story that I made last as long as possible! I honestly didn’t want to finish this book!

A huge thank you to Netgalley and Headline for gifting me this book in return for an honest review.
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The Memory Box is a wonderful story of Jenny, who reaches a 100 years of age and has one wish that she still needs to fulfil but she needs someone to help her do it. In to the story comes Candice a carer at the home Jenny lives at and their trip to Italy together. 
This is an amazing story and covers the lives of two women and tells their stories. Jenny was evacuated in the Second World War with her younger brother Louis and has an uplifting story to tell. Candice is in a relationship with a controlling and bullying young man and only realises when the two women are in Italy and Jenny steps in to save her. Loved the duel story line from 1940 to 2019. And the little twists and turns. 
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
Highly recommended it.
Thanks NetGalley for the early read.
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Oh how I loved this book! I stayed up all night reading it, I just couldn't walk away from Jenny's story. I read The Letter by Kathryn Hughes four and a half years ago, it was before I wrote reviews but I remember loving that book as well.

Jenny is a centenarian in 2019 and she and her carer, Candice have a close bond. Candice has an ass of a boyfriend named Beau. When Jenny asks Candice to accompany her to Italy Candice jumps at the chance. This story is mostly told from Jenny's point of view, in two timelines...1940 when she is 21 and 2019 when she is one-hundred. We also get the odd chapter from Candice's point of view in 2019.

I loved the 1940 chapters, which is usual for me. For some reason I always enjoy the before chapters more, no matter the genre. During this time Jenny falls for two men, while on a farm in Wales. She was sent there, from Manchester, with her almost five years old brother, Louis. Their mother sent them there for safety reasons during WWII. I loved little Louis, he was so sweet and precocious. 

Candice has dreams and desires, she wants to better herself and go to beauty school, but her jerk of a boyfriend just keeps getting in her way and bringing her down. I loved how these two ladies stuck up for each other and stayed the course to follow their dreams. The ending was such a surprise and pure bliss. I cannot wait to dig into another of Ms. Hughes books! All. The. Stars.
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This is a beautifully written dual time line book.
2019 - Jenny turns 100 in her nursing home and after celebrating, her carer Candice takes her back to her room.
They take a look in her precious memory box and memories of the past prompt Jenny to ask a big favour. Would Candice accompany her back to Italy so that she can attend a commemoration ceremony?
Candice lives with her controlling boyfriend Beau, who isn’t happy about her going on this trip and leaving him alone.
1940 - Jenny and her younger brother Louis are evacuated from London to a farm in Wales to escape the bombs. Here she meets Lorcan and Nico, who are both vying for her attention. 
The story is told by both women and as the book goes back and forth in time we discover how some heart breaking choices and buried secrets affected Jenny’s life.
With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this arc in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a dual timeline story and jumps between 2019 and 1940. Some language, sex, and violence. Feels a little like a soap opera but kept me reading to find out what happened to the characters. 

2019
Jenny turns 100 in a nursing home and doesn’t have any family. She asks her caregiver, Candice Barnes, to help her make a journey to Italy on an anniversary to lay the past to rest. Candice has a lousy, clingy, possessive, controlling boyfriend named Beau Devine who is a singer and songwriter. He blames his behavior on being orphaned when his parents are killed in a car accident leaving him alone. Jenny is good friends with Frank, a kind old man in his 80s at the nursing home whose partner recently died. 

1940 
Connie Tanner, a widow, sends her kids Jenny and Louis to the countryside to be safer during the war. Jenny is 21, Louis is 5 but acts younger. Jenny is a dressmaker with bad lungs and leg from polio when she was 12. Lorcan Evans is 22 and picks them up to help his parents Bryn and Delyth/Del Evans. He was close to his maternal grandpa and learned to whittle from him. 
Young and handsome Domenico/Nico Bernardi, also 22, moved from Italy ten years earlier and helps his parents Enzo and Valentina/Lena run their cafe/gelato shop. He calls her Jennifer and is a huge flirt. The town turns against them when Mussolini declares war on Britain, Enzo and Nico are arrested and Nico disappears. 

The author does a good job showing the results from choices the characters make and their attempts to make amends. 
Thanks to NetGalley for a temporary digital copy to use for my review.
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This was a fantastically, emotional, heartfelt read. I really loved it. It's about memories, loved one and facing the forgotten skeletons of the past. Both Jenny and Candice were strong, likeable and highly credible characters. They were well researched and well written. As were the settings, the atmosphere and this historical facts. I really really enjoyed it and I highly recommend it.
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The Memory Box by Kathryn Hughes is a wonderful story of Jenny, who reaches a 100 years of age and has one wish that she still wants to fulfil
 and she asked Candice the carer in her home to assist her and travel with her to Italy.
This is an amazing story and covers the lives of two women and tells their stories. Jenny was evacuated in the Second World War with her younger brother and has an uplifting story to tell. Candice is in a relationship with a controlling and bullying young man and only realises when the two women are in Italy and Jenny steps in to save her.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
Highly recommended
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A beautiful book from start to finish! A lovely story with more than its fair share of heartbreak and tragedy. Brilliantly authentic characters throughout and a tale that will stay with me for a while.
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