Books 2 and 3 of Bette Lee Crosby’a Memory House Collection

The Loft

Book BlurbThe Loft

CAN A SINGLE MEMORY SAVE THE LIFE OF SOMEONE YOU LOVE?

Annie Doyle believes the answer is yes, but will she find it in time?

Fifty years of memories are hidden in the walls of the loft. Now Ophelia Browne is leaving the house and she’s leaving some very powerful memories behind. Annie needs to find just one… the one that will save Oliver’s life.

On the day of their wedding, Annie sees only happiness ahead, but when an accident calls her and Oliver back to Memory House, her world is changed forever.

After only three nights in the loft, Annie must now find the single most meaningful memory in Oliver’s mind. If she finds it in time, she can save his life, if she doesn’t…well that’s something she can’t afford to think about.

Readers will welcome back the much-loved characters from Memory House and enjoy a few new friends!

My Review

The Loft picks up where Memory House ended, and we are once again in the company of Annie Cross, Ophelia Browne, and Oliver Doyle.  As Annie and Oliver are starting their honeymoon, Ophelia, who is 90 years of age, has a heart attack while driving and goes off the road. Annie and Oliver return to take care of Ophelia.  Realizing she will not be able to climb to her loft bedroom that her deceased husband Edward built, Oliver decides to hire architect Max Martinelli to recreate the loft in a wing on the first floor.  He and Annie plan to surprise her with the plans when she comes home.  However, while at the rehab center, Ophelia makes new friends who all live in Baylor Towers, and begins to see that returning to the Memory House to live with Oliver and Annie would stifle their relationship.  She remembers what it was like when she and Edward were newlyweds.  Ophelia wants Oliver and Annie to experience love the way she and Edward did so many years before.

Max (Maxine) is so much like Annie they become close friends immediately; they both can detect the memories left behind.

Max is trying to get over her love affair with Julien Marceau. They met in Paris when Max was in college, and when Max returned to the U.S., Julien was supposed to follow, but Max never heard from him again. Annie understands and tries to help her move on.

Annie’s life is perfect, but then the unthinkable happens.  Is she strong enough to face this new challenge on her own? Will she be able to find the right memory for Oliver? There is much more to the story than the hints I’ve given here, but I wouldn’t want to give away any spoilers.

The Loft is the second book in the Memory House Collection. See my review of Memory House,  Book One of the series, here. You can certainly read The Loft without having read Memory House, but you will better understand the relationships if you do read it first.

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What the Heart Remembers

What the Heart RemembersBook Blurb

CAN YOU TRULY TRUST THE MEMORIES OF YOUR HEART?

Max Martinelli spent her junior year of college in Paris, and fell in love. Julien was a wickedly handsome young man who was crazy in love with her, or so she thought. He was a free-spirited artist and she an aspiring architect—impressionable, young, and standing on the brink of womanhood.

That was over three years ago but the memory of him still haunts her. Max’s life is stuck on hold because she can’t stop wondering what would have happened if she had gone back. Was Julien simply part of the magic of Paris? Or was he meant to be her destiny?

After a New Year’s Eve party that ends in disaster and bad dreams, Max decides to find out once and for all. She is going to return to Paris and search for Julien. But will her search bring forever after happiness or a truth so ugly it will change her life forever?

What the Heart Remembers is Book Three in the Memory House Series

My Review

When I finished reading The Loft, I wondered how the author could write another book in the series; Book 3 did not disappoint.

Ophelia sees the sadness in Annie’s friend Max. Max thinks her memories of Julien are happy memories, but Ophelia knows otherwise, “If she doesn’t find a way to rid herself of those memories, she’s in for a sorry life.”

Max doesn’t want to find a romantic interest. She still loves Julien and imagines the worst has happened to him. Convinced he would have come to the U.S. as promised, it’s the only thing that makes sense to her. When she tells Annie she is going to go to Paris to find Julien, Annie tries to discourage her. Max is determined to find her true love, but it turns out it isn’t who she expects to find.

While reading of the experiences Max endures in Paris, there were times I wanted to shake some sense into her, and other times I just wanted to comfort her. Her unrequited love for Julien drove her to find him, but when she did, was her feeling for him justified?  Will she ever find true love, and will it be with Julien or someone else?

Crosby creates a sense of suspense when Max is knocked down. This mysterious turn of events with Julien coming to Max’s rescue, and then later when she discovers her wallet and cell phone missing, leaves a lot of questions to be answered.

Once again, I recommend that you read Memory House (Book One) and The Loft (Book Two) before reading What the Heart Remembers (Book Three). The books in the Memory House Collection lead from one to the other. To get a true sense of who the characters are, where they’ve been, and where they are headed, it is best to read all three in proper order.

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Additional Comments

As with all of Crosby’s books, I felt as though the author was sitting beside me telling the story in her soft southern voice. As with Memory House, The Loft and What the Heart Remembers are books you will begin to read and before you know it, you have finished the book.  The plots, with a bit of magic, lots of feel good moments, and always a lovely romance, will enthrall you. Bette Lee Crosby has a wonderful ability to create characters that will continue to speak to you long after you’ve finished reading.

When you meet Ophelia and Annie in the first book of the series, Memory House, you will learn about their pasts and what draws them together.  Then, enter Oliver and by the time we get to book two, The Loft, Oliver and Annie’s friendship deepens and they get married.  Enter Max and the blossoming friendship between her and Annie. What the Heart Remember elaborates on the confidences shared, the concern, and the shared celebration of that friendship.  This is a not-to-be-missed series.

Author InterviewBette Lee Crosby

  1. Who or what inspired you to become an author?

My mother, born and raised in the mountains of West Virginia, was not a writer, but, she was a wonderful storyteller. Not realizing that at heart I was my mother’s daughter, I studied art intent upon becoming a graphic designer. My first job was that of a packaging designer, but it was a short-lived career. Faced with an immediate deadline and a blank space where the copy should have been, I began to write. I never looked back, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that my love for words far outweighed any design skills I acquired along the way.

  1. You’ve written six novels, in those books, which character is your favorite and why?

I suppose I’d have to say Ethan Allen of Spare Change and the reason why is because he is the type of kid I imagine my mom being when she was his age. She came from a family of eleven siblings and they were what many of us would consider poor; so she had to be resilient and determined to survive. And although she wasn’t one to toss around obscenities indiscriminately, she could cuss up a storm when she was really mad. When Mama started cussing we knew to step aside and mind our manners.

  1. Is Ethan Allen is modeled after your mom, is there a character that you’d modeled after yourself?

There is probably a bit of me in every character, but the one most like me would probably be Olivia Doyle in both Spare Change and Jubilee’s Journey. Like Olivia, I have quirky ideas about life, I am an eternal optimist and regardless of the odds, I will always go down swinging. When life takes a turn for the worse, that’s when you need to be strong, draw on your Faith and cling to the love of those around you…which is pretty much what Olivia does.

  1. What is your favorite quote?

It probably depends upon when and where you ask me. I would love to be deep and profound like so many brilliant writers, but I’ve learned over the years that I am still my mother’s daughter – sometimes irreverent, always a story-lover, but seldom brilliant. So here is the quote that most closely reflects my own thinking…”The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.” Elizabeth Taylor

  1. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Be yourself. Discover what’s in your heart and create characters you love or love to hate. Never allow yourself to follow in the tracks of another author simply because he or she sold a million copies of their book. If you stumble on that pathway, your readers will know; your characters will sound shallow and superficial. But if you’re true to yourself and work to develop your own voice it will ring loud and true with believability. It isn’t something that happens overnight. I wrote four novels before the fifth was published, but the truth is that the first four didn’t deserve to be published, they were all part of my learning curve. So, stay with it and learn from the writers who inspire you, from the books you love, and from the books you hate. You learn something from every book you read, and sometimes that something is what not to do. Most of all enjoy every minute you spend writing—because if you’re not writing for fun, you shouldn’t be writing.

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Email: betteleecrosby@gmail.com

Copies of these books were given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-jan-2016

Memory House

By Bette Lee Crosby

 

Memory HouseThe Memory House Bed and Breakfast is where memories are kept, or so it seems to Ophelia who owns Memory House.  When Anne arrives, Ophelia knows Anne has the same magical power of recalling memories from their objects, only Anne doesn’t know it yet.

Ophelia Browne remembers everything. She remembers things from her own life and from the lives of those who came before her. She has only to touch her hand to an object and she can feel the special memory clinging to it. But now she is getting on in years. In eleven months she’ll turn ninety. Few women in the Browne family live beyond such an age. If death comes before she finds a replacement, the memories might be lost forever.  –  MEMORY HOUSE

This engaging tale begins when Anne leaves Philadelphia to escape the pain of her breakup and move beyond it.  Little did she know she would discover the memories of a long-ago-little-boy when she touches his bike. The mystery surrounding this bicycle keeps drawing her back to the Memory House and her friend Ophelia.

Anne and Ophelia become very close, and when something happens to frighten Anne, Ophelia knows she has to change the course of things.

I love the way Crosby used sections in between chapters written from Ophelia and Annie’s points of view to give awareness into the lives and thoughts of these characters. This addition only made the story better.

If you’ve read any of the author’s other books, you will recognize some of the characters in MEMORY HOUSE. They, along with some of the objects in the Memory House, have appeared in Crosby’s previously published books. I enjoyed this reunion of characters that are so down-to-earth and positively believable.

I love reading anything by Bette Lee Crosby, and MEMORY HOUSE was no exception.  Crosby tells this story with the same warm, rich storytelling voice she uses whenever she writes. Storytelling just comes naturally to her.  Crosby, an amazing writer and one of my favorites, reaches out and pulls the reader into the story. Her books are unforgettable, and MEMORY HOUSE is no exception.

I highly recommend MEMORY HOUSE to anyone who enjoys a good story.

Book Blurb

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A MEMORY TO OUTLIVE ITS OWNER?

Ophelia Browne knows the answer is yes. She knows because she’s been granted the unique gift of finding and caring for those forgotten memories. But now she’s nearing ninety, and Browne women seldom live beyond ninety.

Before time runs out Ophelia must find a successor. Someone who can take hold of the gifts and keep the memories from fading.

When broken-hearted Annie Cross shows up on the doorstep of The Memory House Bed and Breakfast, Ophelia knows she is the one. The two women forge a bond of friendship as they sip magical dandelion tea and share stories. When Annie starts to sense the memories Ophelia is delighted, but then a thread of violence begins to unravel and Ophelia fears things have gone too far.

To be published: 14th April 2015 by Bent Pine Publishing

Series: Book One of the Memory House Collection

Category: Contemporary Fiction

About the AuthorBette Lee Crosby

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby’s books are “Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances.” – Midwest Book Review

The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby’s writing is, “A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures.”

Samantha from Reader’s Favorite raves, “Crosby writes the type of book you can’t stop thinking about long after you put it down.”

“Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win nineteen awards for her work; these include: The Royal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal, Reader’s Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer’s Choice Award.

Crosby’s published works to date are Blueberry Hill (2014), Previously Loved Treasures (2014), Jubilee’s Journey (2013), What Matters Most (2013), The Twelfth Child (2012), Life in the Land of IS (2012), Cracks in the Sidewalk (2011), Spare Change (2011). Wishing for Wonderful (2014), Passing through Perfect (2015).

My special thanks to the author Bette Lee Crosby and Bent Pine Publishing for sending me an ARC in return for an honest review.

Please click the link to visit the author’s website Bette Lee Crosby Words Wit and Wisdom.

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