Title: The Memories We Hide
Author: Jodi Gibson
Published: August 20th 2019
Publisher: Self Published
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Can you trust your memories?
Laura Murphy has always been intent on leaving the past behind her, however, when she returns home to care for her dying mother, she finds painful memories begin to resurface.
Ten years earlier, Laura had fled the small town after the death of her boyfriend Ryan Taylor but now she is realising there was more to that tragic night than she remembers.
After connecting with childhood friend Tom, Laura soon discovers that even those closest to her hold secrets and betrayals that will make her question her own memories.
Will searching for the truth be too much to bear or will Laura free herself of her hidden memories and finally be able to move on?
Memories have the power to shape our lives, our sense of self, and the regrets we may hold. This is at the centre of the debut novel by Jodi Gibson. The Memories We Hide is a contemporary women’s fiction title, that covers the themes of friendship, the past and long held secrets. It is also a story about self acceptance and finding a way to accept the past, in order to find peace in the future. The Memories We Hide is a book that I was able consume in two close sittings and there was much to applaud in Jodi Gibson’s first release.
A book about trust and delving into the memories of a tragic event of the past is at the core of The Memories We Hide. Chief protagonist Laura Murphy has recently returned home, after a decade away. This homecoming has serious implications for Laura, a woman tormented by the loss of her childhood sweetheart ten years earlier, in tragic circumstances. As Laura grapples with the memories that have come flooding in since her homecoming, she must try and classify which of these memories is the truth. Laura decides to reconnect with an old friend from ten years ago, Tom, in an effort to put her issues from the past to rest. However, Tom is battling with his own demons and this will ultimately impact Laura. The Memories We Hide is about the inherent need to reconcile the past with the present, in order to achieve a stable future.
Memory has been a popular subject matter of late in contemporary fiction titles. The Memories We Hide is a book that stands out from the crowd. Rather than focus on memory loss or amnesia, which I have noticed has been a feature of many recent releases, Jodi Gibson’s debut looks at the memories of a tragic event in the past. I really did appreciate this very different focus on memory, and the questions this theme churned up. This focal area allowed the author to delve into the psychology and mechanics of the mind. Gibson was also able to pull apart the impact of how the same pinnacle event can be viewed very differently from alternative viewpoints, and how the perception of a traumatic event can change over time. Jodi Gibson provides the reader with plenty of food for thought.
I know that Jodi Gibson currently lives and grew up in a small town environment. She definitely has her finger on the pulse when it comes to the development of small town settings. In The Memories We Hide, Gibson looks at a small community rocked by the tragic loss of a young man in his prime. Alongside this tragic event, Gibson sensitively provides the audience with a sense of understanding about the pressures on young people suffering from depression and mental health issues in rural areas. It is a sad state of affairs, but unfortunately this is a very real issue that we as the general public should be aware of. Books such The Memories We Hide go a long way in highlighting this issue.
The Memories We Hide is strong on the character front. Laura, Gibson’s lead, is well developed and I genuinely cared about her welfare. Supporting Laura are a number of key side characters, from Tom, to Rachel and Ryan in the past, plus family members, as well as the local community. By the close of this novel I felt like I had bonded with this cast. Gibson’s approach to the interactions that occur between her protagonist set was engaging and engrossing. She has a natural flair for dialogue, which I appreciated very much.
I really enjoyed the mystery slant to this novel, which was increased tension wise with the style of narration, which shifted from the past to the present. I was fully engaged in The Memories We Hide, as I just had to know exactly what happened to Ryan and how this played out for each of the key characters of the novel. The final revelation really hit me, I didn’t see it coming, which was a great parting surprise for this reader.
The Memories We Hide offers an excellent insight to the complexities of relationships, the intricacy of memory and our natural instinct to protect ourselves from emotional pain. With a parting message of hope in the face of tragedy and despair, this is a compelling novel from debut novelist Jodi Gibson.
The Memories We Hide by Jodi Gibson was published on 20th August 2019. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Memories We Hide, Jodi Gibson, visit here.
*I wish to thank the author, Jodi Gibson, for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Memories We Hide is book #109 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge