Memories in the Drift by Melissa Payne
Expected publication Date : December 1st 2020
Publisher : Lake Union Publishing
Genre : Fiction / Women’s Fiction
Pages : 281
Melissa Payne, bestselling author of The Secrets of Lost Stones, returns with another haunting and hopeful novel about redemption, the power of memory, and a woman’s will to reclaim her life.
My name is Claire. I’m thirty-six years old. It’s September. I know what I’m doing and why I am here…for now.
Ten years ago, Claire Hines lost her unborn child—and her short-term memory—following a heartrending tragedy. With notebooks, calendars, to-do lists, fractured pieces of the past, and her father’s support, Claire makes it through each day, hour by hour, with relative confidence. She also has a close-knit community of friends in the remote Alaskan town where she teaches guitar to the local children. It’s there, in the reminders.
As determined as Claire is to regain all that’s disappeared, she’d prefer to live without some memories of her before life—especially those of her mother, Alice, who abandoned her, and Tate, the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart.
But when Alice and Tate return from the past, there’ll be so much more for Claire to relive. And to discover for the very first time. Through healing, forgiveness, and second chances, Claire may realize that what’s most important might not be re-creating the person she was, but embracing the possibilities of being the person she is.
Previous book I read by the same author-
*** Note: I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. ***
Memories in the Drift was poignant and touching fiction that revolved around Claire’s everyday struggle with anterograde amnesia, her past and emotions. It was about alcohol addiction and recovery, abusive childhood, loss, forgiveness, redemption, second chance, memory loss, family, friendship and love.
Writing was emotive, vivid, beautiful and flawless that hooked me from the beginning, dropping me in middle of Claire’s life in Whittier, Alaska. It was written in first person narrative from Claire’s perspective. I was prepared for emotional read but haven’t imagined it will make me cry and sad.
Plot was great. Book started with Claire struggling with amnesia, maintaining her daily schedule with extensive planning and note keeping of the conversations and her feelings in diary that her brain failed to do, that gave her semblance of normal life, independence, and control over her life and memory. But even with all struggle she preferred to live without some memories, memories of past, of two person who abandoned her and hurt her most- Alice, her alcohol addict mother and Tate, her ex best friend and boyfriend. Now that they have returned back in her life how Claire would give her mother and ex a second chance and learn to forgive and trust again.
I was curious to find out what happened to her, what caused memory loss which was told bits by bits through her memories of before that was written in Italics which that kept drifting into her mind and present. The transition from present story to past/before was seamless. Claire’s voice was amazing, it had all the right amount of emotions that cling to my skin, seeping through pores and reached my heart and soul. Her voice gave depth to her character and her condition.
The setting of Whittier, the one roof city was atmospheric. It added gloominess and loneliness to Claire’s story and yet like Claire I found it beautiful. I can’t believe Whittier had only one fourteen storeys building in which all the town people lived and other small buildings are school, restaurants, bar and market. All small details included about Whittier- the tunnel between buildings, tunnel connecting Whittier to Anchorage, harbour, history, hydroponic garden, wildlife, beauty of mountains and lakes, close-knit community, life style of people- was amazing.
All characters were realistic and relatable. Alice was great character. Her alcohol addiction didn’t make her best mother when Claire was child but I liked how much effort she was putting in to help Claire once she recovered addiction. I loved her for never backing from harsh words Claire threw towards her and handling her tantrums and emotions with so much care and love.
Ruth was lovely. She was Alice’s friend and neighbour. I loved her for how she filled the gap of mother in Claire’s life when Alice couldn’t, making sure Claire gave Alice a second chance, clearing the fog in Claire’s mind and helping her and Alice in all way she could. Claire’s friends Sefina and Harriet were great too.
I didn’t like Tate at first. Even though I could understand his reason for getting away from Whittier and how tough it might be for him to stay with Alcoholic abusive father, I didn’t like him for breaking Claire. He knew how it would affect her after Alice left and yet he left and broke her heart twice. He was lucky Claire forgave him more easily than I would have. But as book progressed, I started liking him for he staying7 by Claire’s side and patiently waited for right time and won her heart and trust once again. I love him for accepting and loving Claire for how she was. He truly was a good man.
Maree was adorable 10 years old kid. She was such caring, lovely, understanding, sensitive, and creative girl and I loved how she reminded Claire things and never got tired of it and even defended Claire. She gave life to Claire and the story and I loved every scene she was in.
Claire was the best character. It was easy to empathize with her, feel and understand her. I can’t imagine how I would cope if I don’t have any sense of time, forget new people or events, don’t remember what I ate in breakfast or what I was talking about just minutes before or forget something that is most important in life. But Claire was such a strong, brave, smart person who made sure she would have control over it. Her way to keep notes and diaries of important things and every conversation, specific coloured socks to remember days, reminders, board to read first thing in the morning… It was brilliant. But like her friends, I could see how difficult and exhausting it might be for her, not experiencing and feel the moments in trying to write them. It was so damn sad to read her struggle and hopelessness in her voice when she confronted their worries.
Even more heart breaking was her emotions every time she met her mother and Tate. After reading her past and abandonment issue, I could feel her anger and hurt. But I think her anger was more intense for her mother than Tate which was not fair as I think Alice and Tate’s demons were not that different but Claire let Tate in her life more easily than Alice. I loved how slowly and gradually Claire’s character developed. Even though she forgot every time she met Alice and Tate again, she could feel the change, feel less anger, more accepting and more love and learned to trust them again by the end of the book.
Twist and turns were good but I could see them coming quite early and it was easy to predict things and even end but still I enjoyed every moment in the book. Events from Climax till end were tense and emotional. End was perfect.
Overall, Memories in the Drift was emotional, touching, exceptional, beautifully written and executed fiction that I recommend to all fiction lovers.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about this book and my review, have you read this book already or any book by the same author? Have you read a book with main character suffering from short term memory loss?
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