The Memory of Lavender and Sage

Narrated by Caroline Hewitt
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Pub Date Feb 13 2024 | Archive Date Mar 22 2024

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Perhaps the secrets of her mother’s past in this tiny French town hold the key to her own future. . .

Food critic Tempèsta Luddington has always felt like the odd person out in her family, ever since she lost her beloved mother at the tender age of thirteen. When her workaholic father passes fifteen years later, Tempèsta is not surprised that the majority of the considerable family money will pass to her dutiful younger brother, Wal. Still, she is left a modest remembrance from her mother, and for the first time Tempèsta has a world of choices before her.

Lost in grief and hoping to reconnect with her memories and her mother’s past, she uses the money to buy a ramshackle manor house in Sainte-Colombe, a small village in Provence, where her mother had grown up. But she is greeted with more questions than answers. Her welcome, especially by the town’s stodgy mayor, is cold at best, and she finds herself wondering if the entire experiment was a mistake.

Yet she stays, stubbornly sticking it out, slowly learning that her mother’s legacy was more than just a nest egg. Through her mother and the village, Tempèsta learns the value of community and friendship, the importance of self-confidence, and the power of love and trust. What’s more, she sees for herself that there is magic and beauty in the everyday—even something as simple as a sprig of lavender and sage.

Perhaps the secrets of her mother’s past in this tiny French town hold the key to her own future. . .

Food critic Tempèsta Luddington has always felt like the odd person out in her family, ever since...

Advance Praise

“A standout voice in women’s fiction. I was captivated from the very first line.”—Kristy Woodson Harvey, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Summer of Songbirds

“For readers who love Under the Tuscan Sun and Chocolat, this is your next heartfelt, delightful read.”—Jennifer Moorman, bestselling author of The Baker's Man

“A standout voice in women’s fiction. I was captivated from the very first line.”—Kristy Woodson Harvey, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Summer of Songbirds

“For readers who love Under the...

Available Editions

EDITION Audiobook, Unabridged
ISBN 9781400237272
DURATION 10 Hours, 28 Minutes, 12 Seconds

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 85 members

Featured Reviews

his book is one that makes the reader think about the meaning and importance of family as well as the idea that life is something more than how much money we make or how many hours we work. The narrator, Tempesta, suddenly loses her father after having lost her mother when she was a teenager. Her grandmother is cold to her and makes Tempesta feel as if she doesn't belong in her family. Tempesta works as a food critic in the United States but decides to go to her mother's village in France and buys a small house there with the small inheritance from her mother (her brother got the lion's share, from the father), sight unseen. Although she is not initially welcomed by everyone there (some call her a witch), she comes to make a life there, coming to understand that a life is more than going to work each day and making money. She gets out of the rat race and discovers that the community is all around her and she finds her own true talents, in spite of the pressure placed upon her by her brother who wants her to come home to help him run the family business, that is literally making him ill.
There are wonderful characters in this book, beautiful descriptions and important and meaning messages for the reader (without being didactic). I definitely look forward to reading future books by Ms. Runyan.
The narrator, Caroline Leavitt, was absolutely wonderful. She had a difficult task, properly pronouncing all of the French words and phrases. She really brought the protagonist to life, right from the beginning, making us feel her frustration with her family after her father's death. Given that this book focuses almost exclusively on this protagonist, it is absolutely crucial to have a narrator who "feels" like the character and Ms. Leavitt did.
Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Muse/Harper Collins Focus for providing me with the opportunity to read this wonderful book.

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I loved this book. Each and every moment of it. Wonderful story with truly fabulous narration. Tempesta lost her mother at 13 and her life as she knew it was over. She loved her mother with every fiber of her being and once she was gone her life changed dramatically. Henceforth, she lived a life of at best being ignored and left out and at worst and what became the norm emotionally abused, alienated from family life, not invited to visit on school holidays and was verbally abused by her horrific snotty, stuck up, despicable grandmother and her father and brother followed along and not only allowed it to continue, but jumped right on the bandwagon. Sure, she was fed and housed, but the abuse and neglect happened. She was in their words, never good enough and didn’t deserve anything from them. She didn’t even have a bed to sleep in the are times he went home from college. When she would see her grandmother, father and brother living great lives on social media she finally realized she was done, not was them and not her and left to live her own life in the way she wanted. When her father passed away everything, and I mean everything went to her brother, but for the few boxes of her mothers possessions in the basement and some money that her mother had left of her own that she willed to her. She missed her mother so went to France to see where she was from and maybe, just maybe learn about her. It was once she she finally found about her heritage, who she was, who she wanted to be and the life she wanted to live that not only did she find her happy, but she brought it to everyone around her as well. A truly wonderful listen.

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This story is every bit as lovely as lavender and sage. I’m pretty sure it cast a spell on me, because I listened to the audiobook with rapt attention, finishing in a day because I couldn’t put it down. Witnessing Tempèsta coming into her own, experiencing life in a small French town, learning more of her family history, was just wonderfully enchanting.

Caroline Hewitt did a fantastic job narrating the audiobook.

Thank you Aimie K. Runyan, HarperCollins Focus, Harper Muse, and NetGalley for providing this ARC for review consideration. All opinions expressed are my own.

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I loved this book and I've never wanted to buy a fixer-upper in the Italian countryside with a cute little green house more than right now.
Tempesta is a food critic in New York. Her mother passed when she was 13. Once she passed, Tempesta grew up feeling like an outsider by her father or grandmother. Fifteen years later her workaholic father passes away and she realizes that she wants to see where her mother is from, a small village in Italy. She takes her small inherences she received from her mother to buy a house in Sainte-Colombe. The house is a fixer upper and she received a very not-so-warm welcome from the Mayor. She finds what her heart has been missing to be truly happy in life. The message of this book was so beautifully written.

I received the audiobook version. The narrator, Harper Muse, was perfect for this story and I was very impressed with the ease they moved between English and French.

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins Focus for the audio version of this book!

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"In the space of a gap of a hummingbirds wing"...

If an author can transport me straight to the French Provençal Countryside, complete with all the sights, sounds, scents, and yes, savory tastes, without ever having to leave my couch or favorite reading nook... it is worthy of 5 stars for me. The reason for the quote? It is one of many beautiful quotes that resonated with me as I listened (I was fortunate to be granted the audiobook opportunity) to this wonderful contemporary fictional novel of a woman searching her roots in Provençal France. I truly cannot wait to try the recipes when I get my hands on a physical copy!

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This audiobook really entertained me while also letting me virtually live out my long held dream of buying a home in a village in France and growing herbs. (Seriously). I was going to just take a short listen and I got involved, then, when I did have to stop, couldn’t wait to find out what happened.

T’empesta Luddington has had more than her fair share of hardship. So when her father passes away and she learns she has the opportunity to take some time off—she smartly runs off to her late mother’s village in France! And there the magic begins. There’s so much heart, soul, smell, taste, and just pure Provence magic in this book. It’s a bumpy road—or, should I say, it’s a dusty, creaky road. But someone must do it, and I couldn’t help but hope that Tempesta was our woman. In a world that needs more gentle books, this is a page-turning charmer. Also, the audio hits all the right accents; it is equally well done.

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This contemporary women's fiction novel is about family and community and follows the journey of a struggling American food critic who takes refuge in her late mother's French countryside hometown following the death of her father.

I listened to the audiobook, and I absolutely loved the warm voice of the narrator, not to mention the story and characters. This book is like a comforting hug, and I felt as if I made new friends while I listened.

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Aimie K. Runyan has quickly become a must read author for me. I thoroughly enjoyed all of her historical fiction novels and devoured her first contemporary fiction book. I loved the nod to The Bakery in Paris! The narrator was fantastic and she did a wonderful job of bringing Tempesta’s story to life. Although Sainte-Colombe was fictional, I could clearly picture the beloved village and appreciated the author’s note about villages left to age out in France, Italy, Spain and other countries. Tempesta’s story of belonging, acceptance and found family really touched my heart and I enjoyed the other unique characters of Saints-Colombe as well. The recipes were an added bonus and I look forward to making some of them.

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In this book, a girl left afloat after the death of her father travels back to where her mother grew up to try to find something to ground her. There she found a home full of family and possibility, where she blossomed.

If you are looking for a thrilling read full of twists and turns, this book isn't for you. But the author managed to make an appealing story that made my heart ache for the slow things in life and truly made me want to drop everything to go live in a remote French village. Runyan created a character who everyone can relate to in some way; whether you are estranged from your family or trying to mend relations, or feeling lost or stuck in your career, or grieving, or feeling without a home, or searching for your meaning in life, we can all find a little bit of ourselves in Tempésta.

The language in this book was beautiful yet not overdone and you couldn't help but fall in love with each character, even the grumpy mayor. Each character had nuance, and each character was developed in a beautiful way.

Five stars for this book for making me slow down and fall in love with life a little bit more.

Thank you to Harper Muse Audiobooks, Netgalley, and Runyan for giving me the Audiobook in exchange for an honest review. I wish Runyan the best in her publication of this book.

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This book was so beautiful, comforting. Tempesta's story as she goes on to discover her past and with that make up her future, is endearing. The use of magical realism is so sweet and adds so much to the story. Its beautifully written, I just wanted to get lost in that fascinating town of Saint Colombe, the people, the bastida, the herbs and smells and recipes.

The audio narration was beautiful and sweet.

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Absolutely delightful! A love letter to the healing power of herbs, to food, and to life in a small French village. With a little bit of romance and a dose of magical realism, this book will nourish your soul. The narrator of the audio version did an excellent job.

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The Memory of Lavender and Sage by Aimie K. Runyan is a fantastic book. I received an audiobook ARC. I've read other books by Aimie and couldn't wait to listen to this amazing story narrated by Caroline Hewitt. She really did a marvelous job with the narration.
I loved the community, the friendships, and all the food and herbs!!
This a story of a young woman’s journey to find not only herself, but to also find out more about her family and her legacy, and to find the place where she truly belongs.
Tempesta travels to her French mother's birthplace. A small Provencal village named Sainte-Colombe. With money left to her by her late mother, she purchases a ramshackle old farmhouse then adopts a kitten, and finds true friendship. Tempesta discovers some previously unknown family history and learns that she may have inherited a 'gift' from her late mother.
She discovers so much about herself and about her mother.
In this small village in Provence with its cobbled streets she describes the lavender and herbs that truly makes this heartwarming story so touching and meaningful. It's also full of hope, possibilities, and is genuinely an uplifting story with memorable characters.
Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Collins for this ARC audiobook. I loved it!!! I plan on buying the book because I understand there are recipes!!!

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Oh my heart. I’ve had this one for a few weeks and I don’t know why I didn't pick it up sooner. It was so incredibly moving.

We follow Tempesta, the black sheep of her family as she embarks on a trip to reconnect with her roots. She buys a home in the town on a whim and with it becomes invested in the well-being of this tiny, quaint, town that is saturated in tradition and customs from a time that predates Tempesta. In the midst of aiding to rebuild the town while also maintaining its charm, Tempesta is thrust into the magic of her lineage. She quickly realizes that the charm of the town isn’t the town itself, its the people that are so deeply rooted within it, the stories they have to tell and the customs they hold onto that make the town so magnetic and enchanting.

This one truly has it all. You are thrust into the alluring charms of a small old-world town in France. As Tempesta is charmed by the town, so are you. There is family tensions, found family, romance, forged friendships and have I mentioned the town is the most charming?!

Looking for a cozy read, look no further. I adored this book and am mad at myself for sleeping on it as long as I did.

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What an absolutely beautiful book!!
THIS is what reading is all about!

From love to hate. From neighborhoods to neighbors. From friends to family. From Greenwich CT to NYC to a small town in France! From absolute wealth to living on a dime. From having it all to having nothing. And, from having nothing to having it ALL!!!

This one will teach you about the unbreakable bonds of family, as well as the bonds that can (and will) be broken.

Tempesta and Wal are brother and sister.
But, you’d never know it!
They lost their free spirited, fun-loving, carefree Mom at a very young age… and their Dad, well…he’s working and trying to get by. And he has an entire empire to run…

Tempesta never really felt like she was a part of the family. Her grandma (Dad’s Mom) never accepted her and always seemed to criticize her…and she never understood why.. She never felt like a true part of the family.
But her brother…well, he was worshipped!

When their Dad also dies at a young age (but several years after their Mom), Tempesta returns home for the funeral. And she learns that there is a will. And she needs to be there for the reading.

This opens up a whole other can of worms…and Tempesta decides to make a fresh start…

She’s always wanted to go to France. Her Mom ALWAYS talked about where she came from when she was younger, but being as she died so young, she never had the chance to go back.

As Tempesta begins her journey there, many things begin happening, and she has absolutely no explanation why?!

Is her Mom with her in spirit? Was she always meant to go there?

Absolutely amazing story! Beautifully painted pictures of France, and life there!
And of course, it is NOT all roses and smiles…. She is disheartened so many times, but she will not give up!!

If you have the opportunity to read this one, PLEASE, GIVE IT A TRY. It is such a terrific story…and unlike anything I’ve read before!

Thanks so much to #NetGalley, #HarperCollinsFocus and #HarperMuse for an ARC of the audiobook which released on 2/13/24.

#TheMemoryOfLavendarAndSage by #AimieKRunyan and narrated beautifully by #CarolineHewitt.

5+ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 for me!

⭐️ Strong, independent female main character
⭐️ Overcoming hardships, including family drama!
⭐️ Love interests and new friends
⭐️ Strong neighborhood vibes
⭐️ Community coming together to make changes
💫 And, there’s a sweet cat!

Feel free to like, follow and friend me on: Goodreads,
IG @ #BookReviews_with_emsr or
My Facebook Book Club: Book Reviews With Elaine.

Thanks so much for reading!📚⭐️📖

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Thank you NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book. I cannot recommend this book highly enough! During a busy season of life personally, it was the perfect book to demonstrate what is truly important and how to slow down. An unexpected bonus came as I was listening to my audiobook while she rebuilt her greenhouse!

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This read will have you swooning to book a plane ticket to France. Family secrets that start a journey of getting a little lost so you can get found. Loveable characters that you will be thinking about months from now.

Excellent audio narration with the accents.
Thank you for the opportunity to review.

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If you are looking for a sense of charm and joy within a contemporary time period, then this is the book for you. A NY food critic moves to France and buys a rundown house. Familiar territory for sure, but the beautiful atmospheric descriptions of France, the rich characters and the amazing food had me hooked. This is a soft read, if you are looking for a deep, life changing book then this is not the book for you but if you enjoy a gentle, uplifting read, then this is for you.

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If you love found family in a contemporary French setting, where family expectations are baulked at and magical realism reveals family secrets long hidden then The Memory of Lavender and Sage are for you. I really enjoyed the narrator, Caroline Hewitt, and the charm she brought to the village and the Temp. Highly recommend!

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I love the smell of lavender. Are you with me?

And I love a good second chance, finding yourself, finding your people, finding your place in the world. Phew this book is really all that. With just a smidge of magic (and I do mean a smidge if it isn’t your usual thing) and a beautiful French village.

I really felt for Tempesta losing her mother at such a young age and never really fitting in after that. That made her redemption story all the more sweet.

The read was immersive and I could smell the lavender around her property and the other herbs in the greenhouse. It almost made me want to garden. Until I remembered I have the opposite of a green thumb. 😂

And if the story wasn’t enough, I listened to part of it and Caroline Hewitt was the perfect voice of Tempesta. Bringing that magic to life.

All the stars from me. I was enchanted from start to finish.

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This book is a treasure. It was a joy to read. While the story was in New York City, there was a lot of family drama and tension. The minute the story moved to France, the story was about wonderful characters, awesome food, beautiful countryside, special memories, ghosts, witches, and so much more.

This book starts off with a death in the family. Death of a loved one can sometimes change the trajectory of our life. Tempesta, the main character in this story, is not very satisfied with her life. So Tempesta goes on a journey to see where her mother was born. And she finds a place where she belongs and people that become her family. She takes a rundown house and makes a home. She also learns so much about her dear mother and her family history in this village.

I love the description of her relationship with her cat and the herbs she grows in her greenhouse. Get ready to use your senses as you read this book - you will smell, hear, taste and see as your read. This makes you feel like you made the trip to France with Tempesta.

This is my second Aimee Runyan book. After this one, I plan to read them all..

I just loved this book. This is a five star story from the title and cover to the end.

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Without any doubt, this book is fully deserving of a 5 star rating. The reader (or listener) journeys with Tempesta as she finds her community and gains a real sense of ‘belonging’ - and this journey makes for a truly heartwarming story. I would love to read a sequel and encounter more of this wonderful community.

This is the second book by Aimie K. Runyan that I have read and I highly recommend it. Her writing is beautifully descriptive - particularly in relation to the idyllic French village of Saint-Colombe, the smells and tastes of the herbs, food and drink.

The audiobook is superbly narrated by Caroline Hewitt. The pace is perfect, allowing the story to flow and be understood by the listener. She beautifully brings every character to life with accents, tone and expression.

Thank you to the audio publisher, HarperCollins Focus for an audio copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you. This was a fabulous listen. I loved the story behind it with all of the family issues. It was very close to my own story. Thank you Aimie for the story, Netgally and the publisher for selecting me.

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I gave this book 5 stars. I loved it so much! The magic was so neat and the setting was just gorgeous. The lodge interest and the drama was just spot on for me.

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I thoroughly enjoyed The Memory of Lavender and Sage. Who wouldn't love to embark on a journey of finding one's self and heritage.

This book is as charming as it is heartwarming.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. All opinions are my own.

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What a wonderful book! I totally sank into this read and didn't want to stop. This book, with a lovely cup of London Fog Latte (Lady Grey tea with Lavender) and some biscuits were the perfect way to relax. It's a beautifully written story with fabulously detailed characters and plot that I feel like I'm in Provence. I didn't want it to end. The narrator has the perfect voice for each of the characters and for the French speaking. Magnifique!

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If the title isn't evocative and beautiful enough, the story within The Memory of Lavender and Sage will grip you. It has so many layers. Tèmpesta is a character who feels like she doesn't fit into her family. Her mother was born in Sainte-Colombe, a tiny village in Provence in France.

I've never been to Provence, but I do have some lavender beauty products bought back for me as a gift and I love lavender fields which is something the area is famous for.

Tèmpesta and her brother, Wal, grew up in Grenwich, Connecticut, but Tèmpesta's dreams of one day being in her mother's village have followed her throughout life.

I loved the details of Tèmpesta's upbringing and the little details her mother bought to their family home: the food she cooked, the rustic furniture and the colorful quilt. I felt Tèmpesta's love for her mother so strongly and my heart ached for her since her loss.

She had to try to conform to what her father wanted in terms of more modern, darker, monochrome home decor, and took 3 degree subjects. I was happy to find that two were of her own choosing.

What I loved about Témpesta was that she never let anyone define her, and was so loyal to her mother's memory and wanted to keep it alive.

I didn't like her grandmother Lucille, or Wal or her father, and was glad that Tempeste always fought to forge her own path in. life.

She was someone to root for, and I was thoroughly invested in this audiobook, which was so wonderfully narrated by Caroline Hewitt, who perfectly captures the book's atmosphere, plotlines and characters.

The writing is evocative and detailed. The pacing is perfect, like a sun-drenched summer day in lavender fields.

Aimee K. Runyan writes beautifully and this is my first novel by her. It won't be my last. I think I've found another favourite author.

The Memory of Lavender and Sage is a real, heartwrenching, realistic, and completely immersive winner of a novel that I won't forget in a long time. I listened to it in a day.

Thanks to Aimee K. Runyan, Harper Muse Audiobooks, and NetGalley for my audiobook in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

5 stars but it deserves more.

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I love the author’s historical fiction. Her jump into women’s fiction is absolutely amazing. It’s romance and magical realism and found family amid the beauty of Provence.

The descriptions are vivid. I wanted to jump right in a become a part of this village as well as head to Tempèsta’s house to enjoy the herbs in her greenhouse and have her cat rub against my leg..

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The story is written with such detail that, as a reader, I could feel and have strong visuals of the village. The author, Aimie K. Runyan, has a captivating voice that felt calming and brought an added sweet peace listening to the story. The details and warmth that drew me into be story added a desire to be immersed into the lifestyle of Sainte-Colombe. Tempèsta did not fit into her family’s (dad) expectations of a fast paced wealthy NYC lifestyle. When she took the opportunity to submerge herself into her mother’s home in Sainte-Colombe, she unraveled the mystery of her mother’s early life before NYC. This brought comfort and more connection to Tempèsta with the village and the community within to save it. While helping save the village, she also saved the relationship with her brother whom was committed to the family cycle of heavy work stress in NYC.
A beautiful story with immersive details, allowing the reader/listener to truly feel the emotions of the story.

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Aimie's books are filled with strong charming characters that find their way into your heart and just won't let go. Her stories are always fascinating and the settings so well described you can picture it like a movie playing out in your mind. This novel had me enjoying my time in a small village in Southern France learning about delicious foods, herbs and how to use them, making new friends and finding a place to call home. With a little bit of romance and a smidgen of magic, this heartwarming book will leave you with all the feels.

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