An online marketing consultant, an avid reader of 400 + books a year. Professional reader, reviewer, and blogger. Enjoy ARCs and new releases.
A special thank you to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My favorite cover in the Memory Collection.
Annie, Oliver, and Ophelia return with old friends, and familiar faces from previous books, orchestrated by Southern storyteller,Bette Lee Crosby with another story "from the heart" with Memory House #3, WHAT THE HEART REMEMBERS —a place of old memories, a past, new memories, expectations, a life journey.
Bette always takes you on a magical, enchanting adventure, with a hidden message, (sprinkled with romance), assured to warm your heart and spirit. The journey may be rocky, and hard to climb; however, the end destination is worth the while. From the stunning front cover. A mysterious suitcase. Magical Paris. A past. A special tea. Connections. Memories. Second Chances. Life chapters. Baggage. New Romance. And a suitcase yet to be unpacked.
What if the suitcase represents where you put your past memories. Or where you close behind the bad, to make room for future dreams?
"Finding the memories left behind by other people, is like opening Pandora’s Box. There is simply no way of telling the good from the bad, until you are holding it in your hand, and it may too late," as we have seen from past books.
We pick from the previous book- Oliver could not remember the days he spent in the coma—when he heard Annie reading from his dad’s book, he started to remember. Annie helped him and she remembers for him. She had faith and persistence. After the accident that nearly took Oliver’s life, a fear has settled in her heart, as she always worries.
She has much to be excited about. She is planning a New Year’s Eve party at Memory House, with friends as close as family. In addition, a baby on the way for Annie and Oliver-- Ophelia is over the moon, predicting a girl.
Annie has a best friend, Max in need of assistance. She does not wish for her friend to continue hurting over some lost loser guy. (like her own experience with Michael). As she knows all to well, you cannot see the problem until you have the courage to walk way, and possibly again when they come begging saying they will change. Max is stuck in the past. Julien is not a part of her life; however, he is in her heart, keeping her from having a life.
It is time for Ophelia and Annie to work their magic! Ophelia Brown is ninety-one-year-old, a miracle in itself. She had expected to be long gone. She spent most of her ninetieth year waiting to die. Now she wishes she had the year back. Instead of worrying about dying. She could be celebrating the fact she was still living.
Expectations. You imagine something will be one way, and it turns out differently, you’re disappointed. When she Ophelia left the Memory House, she expected to leave other people’s memories behind. She thought giving Annie the house meant all the magic would go with it, but she was wrong. Annie has her own magic. Different than hers.
Simple memories. The saddest memories are the ones that will not let go. The kind Annie’s friend Maxine carries around day and night. Max thinks those memories are happy, but they are not. Handsome men with flashy smiles blind a girl to the truth, and that’s what has happened to her. She needs to find a way to rid herself of those memories. All because of her expectations. Is she blind to something new which could come her way?
Three years ago Max Martinelli, left Paris and returned to America. She thought and Julien Marceau would follow a month or two later. It did not go as expected. She spent her junior year of college in beautiful Paris- a city which draws you back.
Now, it is New Years, Eve, 2014 and Max recalls the New Year’s Eve in Paris. A New Year. New dreams. She is determined to return to Paris, and search for Julien. A man she has not heard from since leaving Paris. Was he her destiny? She closes her mind to new possibilities. Her friend Annie discouraged her. Max needs to know if he was the love of her life; her future – if not, she would move on with her life. Close the door, on those Paris memories and concentrate on her future. Julien has a way of taking and not giving. (for sure)!
Max has expectations. Marriage, family, work. Julien is not a part of this world. Max wonders what happened to him? She is on her way to Paris. She has pictured how they will meet again and he will return with her to America.
Did he steal three years of her life, and possibly more? One disaster after another. How could she be so foolish? When she decides it will cost her too much for another plane ticket, she decides to stay the week. A heart cannot learn to heal until it knows it’s been broken. She can try to replace the painful memories with better ones. Will she be weak and pulled back into the lies of deceit, or stronger this time around?
A stranger. An acquaintance. A friend of a friend. Her wallet has been stolen. She has been robbed. She needs money. A miracle worker. A surprise. She feels ridiculous, why she came to Paris. Little does she know what she will uncover?
Max wants to try and find her memories and live them. Some doors are better left closed. Her heart remembers what it does but, Max soon learns that her heart can make new memories, too.
“Overcoming unrealistic expectation is almost impossible without some sort of help, but that’s something people need to find for themselves. The tea of truth. To enable a person to make wise decisions. The traveler’s tea. Some people do not want to know the truth. They go through life with expectations. The truth gets in the way. Sometimes simply having a belief in something is all a person needs.” Ophelia
With some special memorable surprises for Annie and Oliver, as well as Ophelia, and a peak into the next chapter of memories with Cheryl. Ophelia knows the details will come soon. Leading us to Memory House #4 Baby Girl.
“Nothing in this life is guaranteed. Nothing. The things you love are like the puffs of a dandelion weed; they grown wild and happen as they will. You pluck a dandelion puff from the ground and hold on to it thinking you own it, but when the wind blows it’s gone and all you can do is stand there looking at the emptiness of your hand.“
There can be no us until her heart has rid of him.
Since the days of Forrest Gump, “My Mama always said you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.”– Forrest.
There is always a suitcase of new memories, and a box of chocolates waiting somewhere. However, sometimes we look in all the wrong places, when it may be in front of us. What are the memories we carry each day? The past, present, and future. No matter the suitcase. There are decisions. A path. A choice. What do you want to put in your suitcase? There is limited space in our life suitcase. Our heart often remembers or hangs on to something-never meant to be. A past. Clouding our path for new experiences.
A quote comes to mind: "Good memories are lighter. Easier to carry. Troublesome memories are heavier. They wear you down. If you pack too much from your past, you will not allow enough room for your future."
If you have not read the other books in the series, highly recommend--a box of treasures. Thank you Bette, for another special memorable thought-provoking journey. No one can tell a story like Bette! As always, I find myself bookmarking numerous pages with stunning prose and quotes, with characters, lingering in your thoughts, until their next welcoming visit.
Ironically, WHAT THE HEART REMEMBERS, is a special book, with its timing. Taking us to Paris, representative of the good and the bad, as we continue to pray for those in need, in light of the most recent tragedy.