Reviews: Thanks for the Memories

Bestselling Irish author Ahern (There’s No Place Like Here, 2008, etc.) is at it again with a tale of déjà vu via blood transfusions. The novel opens with Joyce lying at the bottom of her stairs and bleeding, barely conscious but knowing the worst—this fall has cost her her pregnancy. When she wakes in the hospital her dear old dad is there, though husband Conor is away on business and his less-than-prompt return bodes ill for the relationship—in fact, Joyce dispatches with her loveless marriage soon after returning to her childhood home. Loss of her baby (devastating as she’s been trying for years) and imminent divorce (less devastating as Conor, away most of the year on business, will hardly be missed) is not the only upheaval in Joyce’s life. She’s just not quite the same person—she now eats meat, speaks fluent Italian, has a vast knowledge of European art and architecture and, creepiest of all, has someone else’s memories. Little does she know that a month prior, dashing American Justin Hitchcock (you guessed it—visiting lecturer at Trinity College on European art and architecture) donated a pint of his blood, which she received at the emergency room. Over time, the two bump into each other at a hair salon; he sees her on television; he sees her riding a tour bus in London; she sees him at the ballet. At each sighting and ensuing missed opportunity, they feel an inexplicable connection, a kind of love at first sight. Though the reader is certainly expected to root for their romance, the essential relationship of the novel is between Joyce and her aged father. Not only are the two together for most of the novel, their relationship is tender and funny and far more authentic than the rather odd premise of Joyce and Justin’s destiny. Ahern’s nice comic timing and affectionate portrayal of a father and daughter saves this from becoming just another (slightly weird) chick-lit romance.

KIRKUS REVIEWS - March 1, 2009

After falling and suffering a miscarriage, Joyce moves back in with her aging father when her marriage dissolves. Suddenly, she starts having the strangest daydreams, finds herself able to speak Latin, and spouts academic facts regarding architecture and Irish history. Justin, a visiting professor at Dublin’s Trinity College, wants to feel important—he imagines saving someone’s life and having that person forever in his debt. After giving blood one afternoon, he keeps running into a mysterious woman wherever he goes and can’t understand why he’s attracted to her. Turns out, his donation went to Joyce during her hospital stay, and now the two are inexplicably linked. The secondary characters of Justin’s family and Joyce’s amusing father help to keep this tale grounded. Ahern (P.S. I Love You) has a knack for getting to the heart of human emotions—Joyce’s emotional pain is palpable, as is Justin’s longing for meaning in his life. The author started out writing chick lit before venturing into decidedly fairy-tale terrain. This title manages to blend the two elements smoothly. For all fiction collections.

Rebecca Vnuk, Glen Ellyn P.L., IL

Cecelia Ahern is queen of the modern fairytale . . . In Thanks for the Memories, Ahern has given her readers exactly what they want: love, magic, happy endings. And most of all, hope.

The Irish Times

You’ll love this sweet and very enjoyable tale.

Heat

An absorbing heart-warming story.

Glamour

The key to Ahern’s success is her ability to not just tell a good story, but sprinkle it with plenty of laughs, tears and a little bit of magic.

Mirror

Unputdownable.

Grazia

The legendary Ahern will keep you guessing what binds these stories . . . A classic.

Company

Another masterpiece

OK

The writing is ambitious and, in parts, poetic.

Daily Telegraph

buy the book

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