GENRE: contemporary fiction/family drama
When she was nine years old, Melody Browne's house burned down, taking every toy, every photograph, every item of clothing and old Christmas card with it. But not only did the fire destroy all her possessions, it took with it all her memories - Melody Browne can remember nothing before her ninth birthday. Now in her early thirties, Melody lives in a council flat in the middle of London with her seventeen-year-old son. She hasn't seen her parents since she left home at fifteen, but Melody doesn't mind, she's better off on her own. She's made a good life for herself and her son and she likes it that way. Until one night something extraordinary happens. Whilst attending a hypnotist show with her first date in years she faints - and when she comes round she starts to remember. At first her memories mean nothing to her but then slowly, day by day, she begins to piece together the real story of her childhood. Her journey takes her to the seaside town of Broadstairs, to oddly familiar houses in London backstreets and to meetings with strangers who love her like their own. But with every mystery she solves another one materialises, with every question she answers another appears. And Melody begins to wonder if she'll ever know the truth about her past.
THIS MISS REVIEWS:
I borrowed this book from a friend who recommended it to me warmly and I am so glad she pointed out this book to me because it was an amazing read. This is a life story, completely realistic and the scariest thing about it is that something like this could actually happen to a person, or perhaps it already has.
This is the story about Melody Browne and her quest for the truth. When she was nine years old, Melody lost her memory and she never remembered her life before she was nine, until one evening when she participated in a hypnotist’s show and bits and pieces of her broken childhood years started to come back to her gradually, until the picture became a whole. Her discovery is nothing short of amazing and shocking and Melody realises that she has been the “wrong” person for years. It’s impossible for me to tell you what she discovers because one clue would already be a spoiler, but this novel is very down to earth and it points out one thing that many parents nowadays tend to forget, I’m afraid: whatever you do as a parent, it will undoubtedly affect your child. Parents’ mistakes, self-centredness and inability to re-connect with their child after a family tragedy can bear terrible consequences and Melody was on the receiving end of the mysterious family tragedy that changed her life forever.
People often say that ignorance is bliss, but there are examples when this just isn’t true and Melody’s case is definitely one. Her life might have turned out completely differently if she’d known certain things, but she didn’t, so her life took a different course. Children are often underestimated, but they are often capable of more understanding than adults, so children should always be told the truth, no matter how painful. Children can handle the truth, they just can’t handle lies, and I think Jewell presented this really well. I could not agree more. The most selfish thing a parent can do is to try to bind their child to them forever with lies.
Melody Browne is a great heroine. I haven’t read about such a great, endearing heroine in a long time, and I really felt for Melody and found myself wishing her the best in her life as if she were a real person. She felt real to me, like an ordinary woman you see across the street, but her story is beyond ordinary. She’s a soon-to-be 33-year-old mom who has always been a mom, but never just Melody, especially because of the first nine years that were a blur to her for so long. But it’s great to see Melody’s progress. As she begins to discover the truth about her childhood, she also begins to discover the true Melody that’s been inside her all this time and when her story is complete, when Melody is complete, you can’t help but grin. Her story is sad, but very beautiful and hopeful. By the end I realised that despite all the tragedies, this story is really optimistic. It’s very much like life. There’s rain and there’s sunshine and you just have to live with it. You only have to remember that it never rains forever.
I really recommend this novel to all who love to read stories about life, about families and about individuals discovering themselves.
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