Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Truth About Melody Browne

The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell
1/26/21; 352 pages
Pocket Books

The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell is a highly recommended novel about a woman recovering past memories. 

Melody Browne's house burned down when she was nine years old and at that point the trauma of the experience erased all of her previous memories. Now, at age thirty three, Melody has a son, Ed, who is about to turn eighteen and she hasn't seen or spoken to her parents since she was fifteen and pregnant. At this time she also met her best friend, Stacey, who was also a teen about to become a mother. Stacey and her family became sort of an extended family to Melody and Ed since Melody doesn't know of any other family members.

Then, unexpectedly, Melody accepts a date to a hypnotist's show where she is chosen to participate on the stage. When she is put back to sleep after one segment, she ends up fainting and is out cold. When she recovers, she unexpectedly begins to remember memories and pieces of her past and people, none of which seem to have a tie to her life after the fire. These recovered flashes of memories start her on a journey to discover her life before age nine and how these recollections reflect on her forgotten childhood.

The narrative switches back and forth in time, telling Melody's present day story and the story of her lost childhood. In the present, she slowly begins to recover memories and put together clues from the increasing number of memories coming back to her. The flashes from her past combine with her intuition when she sees something familiar which helps Melody slowly reclaim past memories. The narrative from her childhood highlights the instability and trauma in her childhood that may have led to her amnesia, but the memories also highlight those who cared about her at that time. Jewell keeps the pace moving along at an even pace and the plot is interesting in both time periods. FYI: This is a re-release from an earlier published novel.

The character of Melody is well-developed and interesting both as an adult and a child. Although it's not overly stressed, it is clear why trauma in her childhood might also have resulted in her reticence as an adult to expand her circle of friends, but it is also clear that as a child she had a number of people who cared about her and her well being. One thing didn't necessarily ring true for me. Most teenage boys aren't going to allow all the hugging and face touching from their mothers, no matter how close they are, that Ed was fine receiving from Melody. 

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster

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