The Memory of You by Catherine West

Publisher’s Summary

Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?

When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.

And Natalie never says no to her father.

Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. He knows Natalie intends to close the gates, and he’s determined to convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.

But finding freedom from the past means facing it. For both of them.

My Review

Natalie Mitchell has faced tragedy no one should have to face, but she is trying to hold it together. During a business presentation, she starts to have flashbacks and is barely able to continue the presentation. Natalie’s father, head of the corporation, won’t settle for weakness.

Natalie’s grandfather, who is handling the family’s winery, Mailios, recently had a heart attack. Natalie’s father thinks he can take care of two problems at once by sending her to care for her grandfather. He can get Natalie away from his business for a while and have her force the closure of the now unprofitable winery.

Tanner Collins, the vintner, is trying to recoup previous losses and put the winery back in the black. Natalie’s unannounced and unwanted arrival appears to put his plans in peril.

The Memory of You deals with some of the very tough issues in the novel in a realistic way. However, (and I don’t want to give a spoiler) there are similarities in Natalie and Tanner’s lives that are just too closely related. I felt part of the story detracted from its entirety and could have been left out, or a different scenario could have been used to explain some circumstances. I also felt that Tanner never truly dealt with his issues, and although Natalie began to cope with hers, neither seemed ready for a healthy relationship. Yet they were dropped into one. I don’t know if the implication was supposed to be they were “miraculously” restored to good mental health or whether, even though things were really bad, things weren’t quite as bad as they appeared to be.

Miss West does a very good job of explaining information about the winery, making it come to life and helping the reader understand facts pertinent to its operations. Her understanding and descriptions of mental health issues are credible and authentic, but she wraps up the characters’ struggles too quickly.

Catherine West has written an interesting story about a young woman with PTSD, a winery and a young man trying to deal with his own heartaches. Even though there were some shortcomings to the story, overall, I feel it was well written and inspirational.

I received a copy of The Memory of You from The Fiction Guild. However, I was under no obligation to provide a review.