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March 20, 2021

The Memory Collectors by Kim Neville ~ a Review

by MK French

Ev can feel the emotions left behind on belongings and thinks most of them should be destroyed. She'll sell harmless ones at Vancouver's Chinatown Night Market. Harriet hoards thousands of these objects, making her neighbors feel sick. She needs Ev's help to make a museum out of her collection, especially when the last person they know who had Ev's gift had spiraled out of control in response to objects. While they want to make sure that never happens again, the darkness is reaching out once more.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

The Memory Collectors
March 2021; Atria Books; 978-1982157586
audio, ebook, print (400 pages); women's fiction
Ev and Harriet have different outlooks on these emotion-laden objects. Ev calls them stained, and Harriet calls them bright objects. The two connect by accident, and it's a fortuitous meeting; Harriet is hoarding the objects she finds and is about to be evicted. Creating the museum out of positive energy helps Ev learn how to deal with her gift, but Harriet feels like she's losing the connections she had with the emotions and memories. On top of that, Ev's younger sister is back and tends to push Ev out of her comfort zone too far too fast.

There's a heartbreaking reason why Ev was so scared of her gift, but she's got a very strong talent with it once she allows herself to use it. She can be personable with others more than she thinks, even if her sister is the social one. Their relationship zigs and zags, and I have a hard time getting a feel for Noemi or her motivation. I feel sorry for Harriet, weighed down by her own memories and the memories of others, and Ev is constrained by her fears of becoming like her father. 

This all comes to a head in the final quarter of the book, which has a claustrophobic feel to it. Mountains of memory-laden objects are piled, they're all trapped, and secrets are laid bare. It's a physical and emotional maze to wade through, and the reader is along for the ride. It ends with a bittersweet sense of closure, where the characters are all free of the past at last. I loved the quiet rhythm of the ending, especially after the emotional climax of the story. It's a fascinating concept and a great story to read about. 

Buy The Memory Collectors at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 

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  1. This sounds quite interesting! I won a copy, and honestly wasn't sure if it was a "me" book, but now I am thinking it just might be! Thanks for the great review!