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THE MEMORY THIEF Emily Colin
Ballantine
ISBN: 978-0-345-53039-4
August 2012
Women's Fiction

Boulder, Colorado and Wilmington, North Carolina - Present Day

Aiden Kimble is a world renowned sportsman. He lives and breathes just for the opportunity to climb the highest peaks in the world. Climbing comes first, even over his wife and child; too late, he realizes that his priorities are way wrong.

Madeline Kimble is a writer. She and Aiden have a four-year-old son. Maddie has tolerated Aiden's frequent absences, knowing that climbing is akin to breathing for her husband. But this time, when Aiden is packing for a trip to Mt. McKinley in Alaska, Maddie asks him not to go. She fears he won't come home. Aiden just laughs and promises that he'll return. Even though that mountain beat him once before, Aiden is determined he will get to the top on this trip. But when he's in the middle of the climb, one tiny crack in the ice, a rumble, and Aiden watches as rocks and snow rain down upon him.

Four-year-old Gabe Kimble rushes into his mother's room in the middle of the night, telling her that he spoke to his father. Gabe says that Aiden stood in his room fully clothed in his climbing gear, complete with snow and ice still on his clothes. Minutes later, when Maddie gets the call about the accident that took Aiden's life, her worst fears are confirmed.

Across the country, Nicholas Sullivan wakes up in a hospital bed, thrashing from dreams of climbing a mountain and being caught in an avalanche. But the nurse tells him that he was in a motorcycle accident. Funny, his memories are of tumbling, breaking bones, snow, and rock. There is a strange woman sitting in his hospital room who claims to be his fiancée, but she is not the woman he saw in his dreams.

In a bizarre twist of cosmic happenstance, two men are swept into a cataclysmic event with no explanation. Aiden is going to keep his promise to return home to Maddie, one way or another. Nicholas, on the other hand, was just living his life, when, in one quick moment, it all stopped. He cannot remember who he is, but he dreams of another man's life. Nicholas is convinced that he is living Aiden's life, so he sets out to find the woman and the child in his dreams. Meanwhile, Maddie struggles with her day-to-day life without her husband. Trying to come to grips with his loss, she turns to his best friend, J.C.

THE MEMORY THEIF is a captivating novel that takes us through the times and lives of Maddie and Aiden through their memories, which we learn later are the key to the final twist at the end of the story. This debut novel is compelling, and though it lags a little midway, everything is satisfactorily wrapped up as the pages conclude. The characters are fully drawn and play their parts well. The lives of four people are bound together by one tiny twist of fate, and the experience is an interesting one. A memorable story that begs you to ask questions about the hereafter, THE MEMORY THEIF is an excellent read.

Diana Risso