About the book
The Memory Collector is published by HQ and was available to buy in paperback and digital form from 6th September 2018.
Heather Lucas lives her life through other people’s memories.
Heather doesn’t want to remember her childhood, not when her mother’s extreme hoarding cast her family life into disarray.
For Heather’s mother, every possession was intimately connected to a memory, so when Heather uncovers a secret about her past that could reveal why her mother never let anything go, she knows there’s only one place she’ll find answers – behind the locked door of her spare room, where the remains of her mother’s hoard lie hidden.
As Heather uncovers both objects and memories, will the truth set her free? Or will she discover she’s more like her mother than she ever thought possible?
How do I sum up The Memory Collector… Well, it was just like one of those rare and very well hidden little gems just waiting to be dug up, and I’m so, so glad I was the one to discover it!
Our main character Heather, has had anything but a ‘typical’ and happy childhood. She grew up surrounded by clutter. Outside, her family home looked just like every other, but inside, every little space was dominated by her mother’s hoarding of anything and everything! As a result of this, she was bullied at school and her father left the family home – whereas her older sister opted to go with him, Heather stayed with her mother.
Now, even with her mother passed away, she is still affected by her childhood; she’s a loner, avoids being sociable, lives in her very clean and minimalist flat and has an incredibly strained relationship with her sister, as well as one or two other hidden secrets. She also has a spare bedroom with boxes and boxes of her mother’s items that are firmly locked away. But when Heather’s sister asks for a family photo, she eventually has to venture into that room, and when she uncovers some newspaper clippings of a rather traumatic event that had apparently happened in her childhood, which she seems to of completely blocked out, she starts to wonder if this is why her mother was so dysfunctional? Is this what started her hoarding? Will this information free Heather? And so begins her quest to find out more…
Like a flower, The Memory Collector slowly but surely blossomed into something quite beautiful. The author slowly stripped away the layers of Heather’s life, letting the reader understand who she is, why she’s like she is and what really happened to this family. I’m rather fond of stories where objects tell a story or ignite a memory (probably the reason I was first drawn to this novel) so I particularly liked how the ‘Then’ chapters started with an item of her mothers that then told us a story of how that item conjured up a particular childhood memory for Heather; the clues all fitted well with the ongoing present storyline, being slotted in by the author when they needed to be and altogether building a larger picture of what had happened in her childhood.
This novel is part mystery and part romance. It deals strongly, but sensitively and realistically with the life of a hoarder and mental health issues. Heather was a wonderfully crafted character who you come to really care about and really root for; I wholeheartedly felt her pain and struggles and the impact everything had had on her and her family. I’m glad she had her sister and neighbour, Jason, for support when she finally opened up. Jason, was not only a wonderful little escape for Heather, but also for me, as the story needed those little sparks of light amongst the darkness.
The Memory Collector is a story that dosen’t need to be rushed; it’s pages deserve to be thought about and savoured. It’s poignant, thought-provoking and unique, and I can’t imagine anyone getting to the end of this novel and not wanting to de-clutter their home!
Thank you for taking the time to read my review. As always, a little like or share to spread the word is always most appreciated, and if you like the sound of The Memory Collector then do follow the below links to purchase a copy for yourself…
About the author
As a child, Fiona was constantly teased for two things: having her nose in a book and living in a dream world. Things haven’t changed much since then, but at least she’s found a career that puts her runaway imagination to use!
Fiona lives in London with her husband and two daughters (oh, the drama in her house!), and she loves good books, good films and anything cinnamon flavoured. She also can’t help herself if a good tune comes on and she’s near a dance floor – you have been warned!