Cover Image: The Memory of Lavender and Sage

The Memory of Lavender and Sage

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Member Reviews

Loved everything about this book. The characters, the setting and the touch of magic. The story is beautifully written with well developed characters. Loved it.

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A whimsical journey into the heart of family and community. The story is a gentle ode to love, loss, and the healing touch of nature.
Many thanks to Harper Muse and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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I had a difficult time getting into this one and wound up putting it down. I liked the protagonist but the other characters felt a little too much like stereotypes and I wasn't able to stick with it.

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The Memory of Lavender and Sage is a lovely escapist read but was only okay for me. It’s well written but has a bit of a Hallmark storyline feel. While the characters felt real and interactions were realistic it bothered me that there were some things that just worked out too easily. The light magical realism touch meant that the main character had a supernatural way with plants and also was able to know how to produce multitudes of lotions, salves, and spa products in quantities to sell. The handsome local carpenter had time to voluntarily build greenhouses, rewire an old house, and do spruce up work on the town’s shopping area – after he did his money earning carpentry? I got bored in the last quarter of the book and felt like the description of the happily ever after ending drug on too long. The cover is gorgeous and I’m sure many will enjoy this book more than I did. Thanks to Harper Muse for an early copy to read through NetGalley. I am leaving this review voluntarily as my honest opinion because I love books and authors. This book came out in March 2024 so is available now.

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The Memory or Lavender and Sage is a beautiful and delightful tale about love, belongingness, and found family. I never expected to have breezed through the pages of this book but the characters has captured my heart and kept it with warmth and graciousness that it was difficult not to devour the story.
Tempèsta Luddington knew growing up that she was not experiencing the same treatment as her younger brother gets who will be the heir to the Luddington empire specially after her mother’s death when she was 13. She understood or rather convinced herself that being the first born was not enough to be favored. When her father died, Tempe felt like there is nothing that is holding her back to truly find her place which led her journey to a small town in France called Sainte-Colombe. Here, the town knows her mom and moving away from the concrete jungle of New York, she found her purpose.
I love this story! The characters, the names, the secrets and even the touch of magic! Sure, it has parts that were exaggerated and maybe too good to be true but I am all here for it! Why not? We all want a happy ending at some point and this book was offering.
Special thank you to Harper via Netgalley for the advance copy to review. I highly recommend this book.

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Reading this was like being pulled through a portal to the past 25 years ago when I lived and went to school in Provence. Such delightful characters and descriptions made this truly wonderful.

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A heartwarming story of a woman trying to find out more about her mother and finding more than she could have imagined. Tempèsta lost her mother when she was young and her father and the rest of the family didn’t treat her very well. When her father passes away and leaves her only with the money her mother saved for her, she decides to go to France and find out more about her mother. This is a wonderful story set in a beautiful town. It is everything you want in contemporary fiction with friends, love, townspeople stuck in their ways, and a town wanting to stay alive. This book will transport you to France and a place where life is a little slower and time is savored.

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I really Iiked the idea of getting an old farmhouse in France and fixing it up. This story felt much like Mayle's Year in Provence. There is countryside, a small town, and small town people. Tempy, the heroine, falls in love and finds what her life has been missing. It is a sweet story that I'm sure many will love.

Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for an advance copy.

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A cozy, heartwarming journey
Reviewed in the United States on March 24, 2024

This is the first novel that I've read by Aimie K Runyan and I'm so glad that I did!

The Memory of Lavender and Sage tells the story Tempesta, a mid 30's woman living in NYC. She is dealing with the death of her father when we are first introduced to her. Her relationships with her father, brother and grandmother are tense at best. Her mother, who had passed unexpectedly many years prior, hailed from France.

Dissatisfied with her life in NYC and longing to trace her mother's heritage, she journeys to France, starting over.

This novel reads like a love letter to France as well as food, as a foodie myself, I especially appreciated all of the care and detail that went into that aspect of the novel. It's a heart warming story about a woman who learns about her mother and also finds herself.

I highly recommend this book! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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I actually picked this book up because I thought the cover I was beautiful and I normally love a book about finding yourself and starting over.

Tempeste has never felt like she fit into her business minded family. Her mom died when she was young. She never really connected with her dad. He was more focused on running the family business than connecting emotionally. When her dad unexpectedly died her affluent family handed everything down to her brother and she got a small inheritance from her mom. With the money she decides to make some big changes. She wants to leave New York and discover more about her family and mother’s roots in a small village in France.

I enjoyed this book. The house and town were really charming. I could imagine living in this rural community. I loved that Tempeste found her roots through cooking and gardening. The story was sweet and good for anyone that likes a good “finding yourself” book.

Thank you to netgalley for a copy of this advanced readers copy.

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A beautiful story of a young women, who has never really recovered from the death of her Mother, at age 13. When her father dies, she takes the money she has been given by both parents and goes to her Mother's town in France. I loved the descriptions of the French countryside and the descriptions of the food from the region. Through hard work, determination, and friendship, she finds her place in the community.

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This book is a warm hug and a bowl of hearty pasta with the lovely summer breeze blowing through the open windows.

The beginning of The Memory of Lavender and Sage shows Tempèsta coming to terms with just how unmoored she feels in her childhood home while learning that she will receive a modest trust from her mother after her father passes. Tempèsta uses this money to reconnect to her mother's past in the Provençal village of Sainte-Colombe. The unlikable characters and Tempèsta's feelings of not quite belonging in NYC at the beginning of the book act as juxtaposition to the welcoming villagers and deep roots she develops quickly in Sainte-Colombe as the book continues.

The pacing of the book is slower, just like Provençal life, but enough happened with the village and the characters that I stayed hooked. I didn't feel the need to devour this book as I usually do my reads, but rather I wanted to savor it. Sainte-Colombe is so atmospheric that I could imagine the beautiful home Tempèsta is remodeling, the delicious food and drink everyone enjoys, and all the beautiful herbs and rolling hills. I constantly found myself wanting to love on my houseplants, start an herb garden, and cook rich meals to be eaten al fresco. This book made me want to learn French, cook more often, and travel. I loved watching the characters grow and connect with each other.

The romance in this book felt ancillary and I found the chemistry between characters to be a little lacking. The rest of the platonic relationships made up for this lack, however.

I really loved this book and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a cozy read featuring found-family, magical realism, delicious food, and beautiful scenery.

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A very enjoyable, magical enchanted story!

After the passing of her father, Tempesta leaves her NYC job and family and heads to the land of her mother's family. She's felt alienated from her family since her mother's passing when she was a teenager. In Sainte-Colombe, the small village in Provence where her mother was from, she finds her place. With the help from the townsfolk, a slightly magical greenhouse and memories of her mother, she feels contentment and love. It's a beautiful story!

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a temporary, digital ARC in return for my review.

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I’m an outlier on this one. But this book was a bore, I should have DNFed. I appreciate the opportunity to read ARC.

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Thank you to NetGalley, Harper Muse, and the author Aimie K. Runyon for the opportunity to read, "The Memory of Lavender and Sage." It was a lovely story filled with family, friendship, and love. I was also thoroughly enchanted by the little French village in the book.

The story took place in both New York and a small village in France. The main character, Tempèsta, left New York after her dad died to live in a small French village where her already deceased mother had grown up. She needed to flee New York to get away from her brother and grandmother who had never treated her very kindly.

Once she was in France, Tempèsta started renovations on the house she bought with the money her mother and father had left her. She also realized she was an excellent gardener and she had a special gift of encouraging her herb plants to grow quickly. She used her herbs to create unique oils, rubs, and food she then gifted to her new friends. Later, she was able to sell her homemade herb specialties to help raise money for the small town that was fading fast.

Tempèsta also found love and friendship in her new home. These new found friends helped her to unravel important secrets about her mother and family that would change her life forever. This was such a wonderful story told with so much kindness and love. As an added bonus, there were several mouth watering recipes that were included throughout the story. A few of them were even included at the end of the book, which was such a pleasant surprise! #NetGalley #TheMemoryofLavenderandSage

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I have read and loved Aimie K. Runyan’s previous historical novels and had high hopes for her first foray into contemporary fiction. Happily, I can say THE MEMORY OF LAVENDER AND SAGE did not disappoint. Tempèsta’s mother gave her a childhood full of happiness, beautiful memories, and stories of her home in the South of France. When Tempèsta lost her at thirteen, she was left with a hole in her life and feeling that she didn’t fit with her family, ultimately making her own way. When her father dies, also unexpectedly, she isn’t surprised to find she was not a part of his will. He did, however, leave her money from her mother. This gave her the chance to explore her heritage and return to her mother’s village. After impulsively buying the only home in the area in her price range, she heads to France.
Tempèsta finds her new home in less than stellar shape and her welcome to the village a mixed bag (see also: mayor who calls her a witch and throws her out of his shop). Slowly she finds her place, uncovers secrets, and discovers that sometimes life brings you back to where you need to be.
Runyan has woven a novel that will draw you into its beauty and magic and immerse you in its world while you wish you were there to enjoy it yourself in person. I am ready to book my ticket to the village of Saint-Colombe and meet everyone I read about!
Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the novel. All opinions are my own and freely given.

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Actual rating 4.25.

I've been a fan of Runyan's writing for many years now, and was very intrigued to hear that she was branching out from her usual historical fiction books to write a contemporary fiction story. The small village in France she created was like a lovely dream, definitely a place I'd like to visit, and the people seemed real. I had some issues with some of the interactions that didn't seem to be realistic, or in some instances weren't fully expressed, such as the resentfulness/anger of Tiberi towards Tempesta. That just never came through and was confusing when it was referred to later on. The magical realism was a fun touch, but I would've liked to see it delved into a bit deeper. The main issue for me was that this story stayed closer to the surface than I'd've liked, and I didn't get a great connection with the characters. I loved that Runyan included recipes for several of the items mentioned during the story, that's always a nice touch. Overall, it was a fun read and enjoyable to spend time in the village.

My thanks to Harper Muse, the author, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

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3.5⭐️s rounded up. Beautiful descriptions of the food and herbs, and lots of fun in the recipes.

I liked Tempesta as a character and the difficulty she worked thru in belonging somewhere but having to fight to be accepted. I thought it was a relatable and well thought out plot line to invest in a city, but fight for your friends and decide whether to do the same for those who continually discount or reject you, or to let them go.

I do wish there was more description in the emotions of the characters. There were times in the dialogue, there would all the sudden be a basic descriptor on what the character felt and it sort of took me by surprise, as there was nothing else leading up to that emotion. Or it was just a quick mention and not deep where it would have given much more life. The descriptiveness in the recipes, smells, and plants were so well thought out and painted, it just seemed an odd contrast not to do the same for the people.

Also the magic part of this was a little odd. I didn’t hate it but it didn’t feel necessary to the story and made it a little fairy tale-ish.

Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book. All opinions are mine.

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I've read a few of this author's books and enjoyed them so much. This one was excellent. A page turner for sure. It kept me turning the pages while also listening to the audio from my public library.

This is a stunning book. A story about family and how people in families sometimes treat each other. Or make a difference in children/grandchildren. This one starts out with Tempesta in her father's bedroom after his death. Her brother Wal is also there. They are the only children and stand to inherit the wealth their father left. Their Grandmother Luddington is also there. She's a real piece of work. I didn't like her at all....

When Wal basically inherits everything he and Tempesta are somewhat shocked. But Tempesta was left her mother's money. It was nothing in comparison but it was quite a bit and both Temp and Wal were happy about that. Grandmother Luddington was her usual selfish person and said some very mean things to Temp. Not to anyone's surprise either.

Tempesta took the money and went to France. She wanted to see where their mother was from and maybe get to know more about her. She had died when Temp was only thirteen and Temp had vivid memories of her and the stories she always told her about her home in France. Temp buys a place without seeing it and is sorely surprised at what she finds. She thinks it's never going to be fixable. But she learns better. She meets Tiberi and he fixes her house and greenhouse and her. Temp learns so much about herbs and plants and becomes a big hit in the town. after which she is finally accepted as one of them.

There is a lot going on in this book and it's all tied up so neatly and perfectly. From being a New York journalist who writes about restaurant, restaurant critic, to a village called Sainte-Colombe in France. Tempesta finds the belonging she longed for since the loss of her mother. She and her brother become close and her life is full.

I can picture the house in the country with the meadow surrounding it. The greenhouse. The main house. The roof even. The town with it's not at all modern shops. The people. Hills of lush greenery. It all looks so beautiful in my mind. That is how well this book is written.

Do not miss the author's notes at the end. And there are delicious sounding recipes after that. I may have to give at least one a try.

Thank you #NetGalley, #AimieKRunyan, #HarperMuse, for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book.

Five big stars...

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Wow Loved it What a way to debut in a new genre of writing. Being one of my favourite historical authors, I thought I would try Aimie’s new book The Memories of Lavender and Sage. It was unputdownable, beautifully written, and a great story. I fell in love with the characters of this small French town, it left me wanting to be part of this small town. The description of oils, rubs etc was enough to get your taste buds and nose humming with excitement. Love, loss, heritage, tradition, family, finding confidence and growth all played a huge part in this highly recommended read. I look forward to reading more of not just Aimie’s historical fiction but also the contemporary novels in the future. 5 stars

I would like to thank Harper Muse, NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read this complimentary copy for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#TheMemoryofLavenderandSage #NetGalley

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