The Memory Box By Sarah Webb
Pandora Schuster is about to turn thirty but that’s the least of her troubles. In Dublin she has just been tested for a hereditary family disease and is expecting the worst, is desperate for her ex-boyfriend and father of nine year old Iris to be part of her daughter’s life. There are two major problems: Olivier Huppert lives in Paris and he has no idea that Iris even exists. So when Pandora secretly tries to find Olivier during her Parisian birthday weekend, it all ends in disaster. As the agonising weeks until her test results crawl by, Pandora manages to find some distraction with her kind and sensible boyfriend Declan, and with her fellow Shoestring Club members as they time-share a fabulous new designer dress. Yet matters of the heart are not easily forgotten and Pandora is determined for Iris to know the truth about her handsome, charismatic father. So she creates a memory box filled with photos, letters, mementos and of the magical time she spent with Olivier in Paris.
I have been a fan of Sarah Webb’s books for years, I love her sweet, heartwarming stories of family, love and mayhem that will have you chuckling throughout and I also love that she was one the first authors to be interviewed on Handwritten Girl.
In her usual trade mark style, Sarah has created another whimsical and poignant story that had me gripped from the first page. Seem through the eyes of Pandora, the lead character of the book, we follow her as she battles with the difficult decision and time when she has to face the possibility that she may have the BRCA1 gene and if she’s does this increases her chances of getting breast or ovarian cancer.
Pandora is fiercely independent so she doesn’t tell anyone about her hidden turmoil, even though she is part of a close knit family, she can’t bear to tell them until the results are revealed and all her plans are in working order, which involves Pandora going off to Paris to find the father of her only daughter Iris.
Along with the main story of a Pandora reliving her Parisian life, her busy schedule with her vintage second hand shop sweetly named ‘The Shoestring Club’, her occasionally volatile relationships with her boyfriends ex wife and bratty daughter and outspoken sister, there is never a dull moment in the young woman’s life. There is another lovely sub story that would certainly warm the cockles of your heart on a cold winters day.
Pandora is introduced to Alex, a newcomer to ‘The Shoestring Club’, who is scared to leave the house due to the panic attacks that were brought on by the sudden death of daughter. With Pandora, her sister Julia and their friends, they provide a shoulder for Alex to cry on when the going gets tough.
Having previously read a book that I didn’t particularly enjoy, ‘The Memory Box’ was the perfect book to coax me back into my regular reading pattern. A sentimental but wonderfully realistic story that raises the scary issue of the BRAC1 gene and it’s impact on lives. ‘The Memory Box’ is filled with delicious characters, handsome French men, witty and heartwarming dialogue and sees the welcome return of one of my favourite Irish authors.
You can buy The Memory Box fron Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.