Title: The Memory of You by Catherine West
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?
When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.
And Natalie never says no to her father.
Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.
But finding freedom from the past means facing it.
The Memory of You by Catherine West is an engrossing novel of faith, forgiveness, healing and love.
Natalie Mitchell has spent very little time at Maoilios, her family’s Sonoma vineyard, since the tragic death of her sister, Nicole, thirteen years earlier. At her father’s urging, she agrees to return to Maoilios in order to check on her Grandpa Hal, who recently suffered a heart attack. She is also expected to begin the process of closing the vineyard since profits have fallen in the years since her grandmother’s death. Natalie is in no hurry to do her father’s bidding, but her former crush and current vintner Tanner Collins is skeptical of her reassurances she is looking for ways to make the vineyard profitable again. However, the animosity between them begins to fade once Tanner realizes how emotionally fragile Natalie is as she tries to reconcile her grief and guilt over the accident that claimed Nicole’s life. Will Natalie find the peace she desperately needs? Will she find the strength to go against her father’s wishes and save the vineyard? Can Natalie help Tanner heal the rift within his own family?
Natalie is suffering from depression, nightmares and PTSD but she is reluctant to let her parents knows how fragile she is. She is very reluctant to return to Maoilios, but her love for Grandpa Hal quickly overrides her reservations. Natalie also thinks it might be time to face her past in order to lay her ghosts to rest. She is uncertain whether or not she will be able to resist her father’s entreaties to close the business but she is hopeful her examination of the financial records will bolster her plans to keep the vineyard open.
Tanner is immediately suspicious of Natalie’s intentions for vineyard and he is rather prickly initially. Unbeknownst to Natalie, his family is going through a very difficult time and he is struggling to make peace with a decision that will forever alter his family. Tanner is extremely stressed about dealing with his long estranged family members and a recent crisis in faith leaves him feeling unmoored. It is easy for him to lash out at Natalie amid his growing concerns about the future of the vineyard. However his compassion and tangled feelings for her overcome his hostility and Tanner is finally begins to work with Natalie as she tries to come up with a viable plan to save Maoilios.
The relationship between Tanner and Natalie grows naturally from their renewed friendship. Tanner is an unexpected source of comfort for Natalie as she finally faces the ghosts of her past. Once Tanner is willing to open up about his family’s troubles, Natalie offers useful advice that helps him sort through his confusing emotions. Although neither of them are expecting to fall in love, they are both receptive to the growing feelings between them. However, both Tanner and Natalie must fully deal with their issues before they can plan a future together.
With a gentle undercurrent of faith, The Memory of You is a wonderful journey of healing, redemption and love. The cast of characters is multi-dimensional and although each of them is dealing with serious issues, Catherine West deftly handles the difficult subject matter with a great deal of sensitivity. An absolutely delightful novel that fans of contemporary Christian romances are sure to enjoy.