Book Review: The Memory Garden by M. Rickert

The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert
Published by Sourcebooks, Incorporated on 2014-05-06
Genres: Contemporary Women, Family Life, Fiction, Ghost
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Incorporated

Nan keeps her secrets deep, not knowing how the truth would reveal a magic all its own

Bay Singer has bigger secrets than most. She doesn’t know about them, though. Her mother, Nan, has made sure of that. But one phone call from the sheriff makes Nan realize that the past is catching up. Nan decides that she has to make things right, and invites over the two estranged friends who know the truth. Ruthie and Mavis arrive in a whirlwind of painful memories, offering Nan little hope of protecting Bay. But even the most ruined garden is resilient, and their curious reunion has powerful effects that none of them could imagine, least of all Bay.

I received this book for free from Incorporated in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My Review:

I finished reading THE MEMORY GARDEN by M. Rickert last May and now, months later, I still have conflicted emotions when I think about it.  I remember thinking that this should be the perfect story for me – an old family secret, a girl surrounded by characters who have rich pasts, conflict, friendship, love – maybe even a little magic, be it of the supernatural or the chemistry kind.

Unfortunately, I think THE MEMORY GARDEN really fell short for me on most of these.  I remember, while reading, that I would feel these little kindling thoughts like.. this could be it, this could be where the story really gets moving – but instead those bits of kindling died out and, instead, I found myself trudging through more story and more text (because some of it, honestly, was quite dull).

That’s not to say it was all bad.  There were those moments.  And that’s why I’m having a hard time giving this book less than a 3-star rating, in spite of my reservations about it. Because those moments were…almost… magical.  I can practically feel my fingertips tingling a bit as I remember the bits and pieces, and I just wish that the rest of the book would have followed suit.

THE MEMORY GARDEN by M. Rickert may just have been one of those books I read at the wrong time.  Perhaps it needed to be read when there was rain outside and fall colors and a cup of tea by my side instead of in sunny Hawaii while sitting at the beach.  Maybe I’ll try it again and see if the setting can make a difference.  I wouldn’t discourage anyone to not pick this one up because maybe you will just have better luck with it than I did this time.

Check out these reviews!

  • “The novel is very finely written. With its single location and limited cast of characters, it feels almost like a play.“ – Strange Horizons
  • “I enjoyed the read, it just fell a little flat for me.” – The Book Stop
  • “Even though this book didn’t work for me, readers who like quirky tales, ghost stories, and magical realism might want to give it a try..” – Book of Secrets

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