The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell
Single-mom Melody Browne cannot remember anything that happened in her life before her ninth birthday. When she turned nine, her house burned down and destroyed both her possessions and her memories. Melody is in her early thirties and lives with her seventeen-year–old son, Jack, in a subsidized flat in London. She has not had a relationship with her parents since she left home, pregnant with her son, when she was fifteen. Melody is content with her life; she is very close with Jack, she has some very close friends and she works as a lunch lady at Jack’s school. Recently she has become willing to go on some dates, and on a first date with a friendly guy, something very unusual happens. Her date takes Melody to a hypnotist show, and when she is called up to be part of the act, she faints on stage. When she regains consciousness, she is embarrassed but doesn’t think too much about it. In the following days and weeks, however, Melody realizes that she is starting to have memories of her childhood – memories that have been lost to her since the fire.
As Melody gets flashes of memories, she begins to piece together the puzzle of her childhood. With the memories and a little research, Melody travels to a seaside town, and visits some houses in London. She meets people who definitely remember her, but each discovery raises more questions and confusion for Melody. Melody’s journey is tentative at first, but she grows determined to learn the facts about her past.
Lisa Jewell’s books are always compelling; they are the books that keep you reading long after you realize that you should really be asleep. This book is not as gripping as some of her others, but it is engrossing and I did not want to put it down. The relationship between Melody and her son is very well-written, and I also loved Melody’s friendships, both with her long-time friend Stacey, who Melody met when they were both pregnant teens, and Ben, the man who took Melody to the hypnotist show where her entire memory-recovery journey began. I highly recommend this book – and if you haven’t read Lisa Jewell’s other books, you have a lot of great reading ahead of you!