Saturday, June 17, 2023

With Every Memory by Janine Rosche: Book Review

 *Book received for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Is the Life She Can't Remember One She'd Rather Forget?

One year after her family was in a tragic car accident that killed her teenage son, Lori Mendenhall returns home with a traumatic brain injury that has stolen the last eight years of memories from her. She is shocked to find that the life she was leading before the accident is unrecognizable. Her once-loving husband, Michael, is a distant workaholic she isn't sure she can trust and her once-bubbly daughter, Avery, has spent the last year hidden away in her room.

For Avery, life stopped when she lost her twin. Now, if she wants to graduate high school, she'll have to accept help from Xander Dixon, her brother's best friend and the boy who relentlessly teased her for years. And if Lori wants to reconnect with her husband, she'll have to grapple with information her brain is trying to keep secret. With every memory that returns, she can't help but wonder if the life she can't remember is one she'd rather forget.

Prone to wander, Janine Rosche finds as much comfort on the open road as she does at home. This longing to chase adventure, behold splendor, and experience redemption is woven into each of her rustic romance novels in the Whisper Canyon Romance series and the Madison River Romance series. When she isn’t writing or traveling, she teaches family life education courses to college students, takes too many pictures of her sleeping dogs, and embarrasses her four children and husband with boy band serenades.

There are many books that--- though perhaps entertaining to read at the time--- tend to be forgotten fairly quickly once you've moved on to the next. Then there are others that absolutely take hold of your heart and your emotions, and those are the ones that you know will stick with you long after the final pages. With Every Memory most certainly falls into that second category for me. 

The story opens with Lori preparing to leave the hospital after a tragic accident that took her son and the last eight years of her memory. As readers, we are drawn into her life as she adjusts to her new life--- a life that looks nothing like the life that she remembers. It alternates between her POV and that of her teenage daughter Avery as she struggles with her own grief and anger over the loss of her twin brother. Throughout the story, the author takes on some really tough topics to include grief, infidelity, sexual assault and betrayal. With topics such as these, this book definitely could have gone to a much darker place. Admittedly, there were definitely several times throughout that I found myself reaching for the tissues... but at the same time, the author handled these topics with sensitivity and grace, and I walked away with a sense of healing and hope rather than sadness. I do think part of that might have been the romance between Avery and Xander, which I absolutely adored! I thought that offered a nice light not just among the heavier topics, but also in comparison to the strained marriage between her parents too. 

This is not a story with perfect characters. Their story was in many ways broken and messy and heartbreaking. Yet it was a story that reminds us that there is forgiveness and second chances too. Overall, I thought this was a fantastic read, and one that I would highly recommend! 


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