Cate Harris has lost her husband Richard, her job and her home. With little left in savings, she and her teenage son Leo pack up and move to Richard's family home - a Victorian museum called the Hatters Museum of the Wide Wide World in the small town of Crouch-on-Sea. And inside? Taxidermied exhibits that are quite frankly amazing. It gives them a place to live for the summer while Cate ponders what to do next. Not as thrilled with their arrival is Araminta, the caretaker.
I loved the premise and couldn't wait to discover more about the museum, the residents and what might be in the future for Cate. Cate is the voice of the book and we see and discover everything through her eyes and thoughts. Araminta is flinty with lots of sharp edges, she finds the intrusion into her domain barely tolerable and does not hesitate to let it be known. Leo is wonderful - his view of the world tempers the tension between the other two. There are a number of supporting cast members that are just as well drawn, with each bringing their own story to weave into the plot.
And that plot is fresh, unique and unpredictable. You'll find your loyalties challenged and your preconceptions to be erroneous as the book progresses and more of the past (memories) are brought to light. There's a bit of an underdog feel to the tale - and I am always on the side of the underdogs.
Harris explores love, loss, grief, hope, friendship, duty and abilities in this latest. All of them done well.
I chose to listen to The Museum of Forgotten Memories. The narrator was Tania Rodrigues and her performance was excellent. Her voice is clear and easy to understand. Her tone is rich. The speed of speaking is just right. Harris's dialogue is great and Rodrigues does a fantastic job with bringing it to life. Cate's voice is calm, measured and thoughtful - for the most part. The voice for Leo is perfect for this character. Araminta's is short and clipped and suited the character as well. It was easy to tell who was speaking. Rodriques interprets Harris's book well. The tone of situations and the emotions of the characters is presented very, very well. I've often said it but I'll say it again - I feel more immersed in a book when I listen to it. The characters seem to come alive and the listener is part of things. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of The Museum of Forgotten Memories.