The Memory Thief
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The Memory Thief

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3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  1,911 ratings  ·  322 reviews
In Emily Colin’s exquisite debut novel, perfect for the fans of Kristin Hannah, one man’s vow to his wife sparks a remarkable journey that tests the pull of memory and reaffirms the bonds of love.

Before Madeleine Kimble’s mountaineer husband, Aidan, climbs Mount McKinley’s south face, he makes her a solemn vow: I will come back to you. But late one night, Maddie gets the...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Ballantine Books
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Jill

"Listen," he says. "I swear I'll come back to you, all right? I promise I will come home."

Madeleine (Maddie) is married to Aidan and they have a young son, Gabriel. Aidan is a mountain climber, but dies in an accident on Mt McKinley. On the same day, Nicholas has a motorbike accident and wakes up in hospital with no memories of his own, but he can remember Maddie and a mountain-climbing accident.

This is more women's fiction than romance, but it does contain romance. A lot of romance actually, as...more
Nora
Sigh. Big sigh. The premise of this book sounded so interesting - Aidan, the husband of Maddie and father of Gabe, dies in a mountain climbing accident but is somehow able to usurp the mind of Nicholas, the victim of a motorcycle accident that occurred the same day as Aidan's death. That all sounds great. But the execution was pretty terrible. Some spoilers ahead.

First of all, the dialogue. No one talks like these people. All of the conversations felt so stilted! And Gabe? He's supposed to be 4...more
Ally Blue
The premise of this book intrigued me, and I'm glad I read it. The use of tense, point of view and language was quite unusual and something not every reader will like, but I loved it. LOVED it. The writing was lyrical and lovely, and characters felt real to me. I did have a few nits, so my true star rating would be more like 4.5, but to me the nits were minor. Example: I found the character of Aiden not that likable. I didn't see what Maddie saw in him. If it were me, I probably would've never m...more
Addy
Vonnegut once said that every character should want something. Aiden James wants to get back to his wife and son, but he died on the cold, unforgiving slope of a mountain. Nicholas Sullivan doesn’t know what he wants. He’s got amnesia, and nothing about his life is familiar or comforting except the strange dreams he’s been having of a mysterious woman and her son, and of falling down a mountain he knows he’s never seen.

And so Emily Colin’s debut novel, The Memory Thief, lives up to Vonnegut’s re...more
Selena
Oh where to begin. There were parts of this book I really liked--the characters were well developed, the plot was interesting. A woman (Maddie) loses her husband (Aidan) in a mountain climbing accident and a stranger across the country (Nicholas) starts having memories of Aidan. The other main characters, JC, Aidan's best-friend and Gabriel, Maddie and Aidan's four year old son, were my two favorite characters. The story is told in alternating point of view, between Maddie, Aidan and Nicholas. I...more
Lisa
Somewhat surprised by the rave reviews. It was an intriguing premise and an interesting read, but I didn't really care for half of the characters. I found Maddie was very undeveloped as a character and I never quite figured out why these men were so in love with her. And JC? I found him a little creepy.

And what the heck does the cover have to do with the book? lol
Nafiza
I think this book was over for me when the protagonist sleeps with her dead husband's best friend the day after his funeral.
Meredith
*Spoiler Alert* Have you ever read a review of a novel...and the premise is interesting and enchanting...so you pick it up, start reading it and discover that the author totally wasted the interesting premise? This is what happened in this book. After finishing the book Afterwife a couple of weeks ago, I discovered this book and decided to stick with the my-spouse-died-and-is-now-a-friendly-ghost theme. Maddie's husband is a mountain climber so, of course, he dies in an avalanche but his spirit...more
Cassie
I suppose anything this short that takes 13 days to read should automatically get one star. I mean, otherwise I would have plowed through it right? I just could not make myself sit and keep reading this. It's honestly a wonder I finished. It just didn't make sense. I get that it was trying to be mystical or whatever, but at least give Aidan and Nick a connection. I kept waiting for them to "reveal" that Nick was Aidan's half brother. They had the same eyes, Gabe's eyes...UGH WHY didn't she take...more
Mona
This book was received through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers.

I chose this book because the premise intrigued me. As I started reading, I discovered that each chapter is written from a different character's perspective. This is a style utilized by some of my favorite authors and I like it because it enables the reader to really get to know the characters.

The settings, situations, interactions between the characters, and the characters themselves are true-to-life. The language is readable. The wi...more
Kim Tomasic
What a wonderful read and I will look for more from this author. This was a tear jerker at the end for me. I knew the love story between Aiden & Madeleine was going to be good from the start, I just didn't know how wrapped up in it I was going to get. It broke my heart when she begged him not leave her and their son Gabe for the mountain, and then Gabe's dream and the phone called that ended it all. I loved the character development, the love triangle with J.C. and Nicholas's attempt to shut...more
skein
I want a sequel.

Strong words when I've only granted it three stars -- but I was gripped by this (surprised me, too.) -- and by the end, I was sort of furious about what actually happened.

SO! Aidan (mountain climber) is married to Madeline (writer), with child in tow. They are a great big smooshy nest of love, but in a realistic way. If you happen to be a beautiful and woman with no need for a job who is married to a beautiful and rugged adrenaline junkie who loves poetry.
Which I am.
So it fit i...more
Christy English
What makes a human being?

What defines the contours of a soul? Memory? The loss of it? Where we put our forks in the kitchen? Who we love? How hard we fight to come back to them?

These are just a fragment of the questions I began asking myself as I read Emily Colin's debut novel, THE MEMORY THIEF. This is a novel about people who have lost themselves and the story of how they find themselves again. A tale of grief, of letting go, but most importantly, of love.

In this novel, most of what they've lo...more
Jess
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lindsey
Weak plot device that was neither explained well enough, or developed strongly enough to be effective. If the point of the book is that a husband's spirit entered another's man body when he died so his final promise to his wife could be met, perhaps have the two characters meet before page 300 of a 400 page book. And I don't care if your husband told you he wanted you to move on if he ever died; sleeping with his best friend on the same day of his funeral is just poor taste.
Kim
This book, a bad soap opera in book form, is the reason that people with one good plot idea think they can write a novel -- and the reason that readers think they need drama for their lives to have meaning.
Kamilla
A book that I think everyone should read.
A story of love, loss and promises kept.
Maddie and Aiden are deeply in love. Aiden is the adventureous type, always planning or going mountain climbing. He leaves on his next climb with the words "- I will come back to you Maddie. Trust me!". But then disaster strikes. Maddie gets the dreaded phone call in the middle of the night. Aiden has fallen, they can't find him. At the same time, Nicholas wakes from a coma after having been in a motorcycle accide...more
Laura
This is the second book I've read recently about mountain climbers, and since I don't have a risky bone in my body, I am confident that these books are the closest to mountain climbing I will ever get. Still, they have been an interesting insight into what being the wife of a professional climber must be like. This debut novel by Emily Colin was terrific. It is the story of Maddie, a wife and mother, whose husband Aidan has died in an avalanche while climbing Mount McKinley in Alaska. Maddie had...more
Pat


This first novel of Emily Colin caught my attention when I read a review in the Star-News of Wilmington, North Carolina. She is a local author, and based part of the book here.

While I was reading this story, I jotted down words that ran through my head when I would take a break from reading. They were: intriguing, addicting and heartbreaking. This novel stretches your imagination to impossible limits. You can feel the bite of the ice and snow, and exhilaration of being at the peak of an impo...more
Alex
E’ come se i sogni avessero una memoria migliore della mia,
trattengono tutti i dettagli che avevo dimenticato...
Il libro che ho appena terminato, “La memoria incancellabile dei sogni”, è una delle letture più intense e riflessive in cui mi sia imbattuta.
Spesso mi capita di preferire libri poco conosciuti, come è successo con il libro di Emily Colin, leggo senza preconcetti e aspettative, come se fossi la prima a leggere il libro,la sola spettatrice di questa storia densa di sentimenti, quasi sur...more
Julie Barrett
Madeline Kimble is a mother and a wife in Boulder, CO. Love the story of how she met and dated her husband Aiden. He's off on another of his high climbing mountain adventures and has promised to come home, always to them.
Problem is the avalanche. Reason why I wanted to read this book is because we were traveling up the hill to Paradise at the top of Mt. Rainier in Washington state when the guards had just closed the road we were on due to an avalanche. We waited a bit of time before we could tra...more
Chloe
A beautifully written, memorable story full of heartbreak, promises and the power of love. The story line was original (and I LOVE original!!) and the little twists and turns were just perfect. I was left really wondering how this story could possibly end happily ... how could it work out without ripping someone's heart in two - reader's included? I'm glad that the ending wasn't easy to guess and like I said - it was just perfect :-).

Told from multiple points of view, the plot weaves it's gentle...more
Shellie
I received a copy of this book from the publisher as a first reads giveaway.
Maddie Kimble fell in love with a climber. Six years into their marriage, he’s still seeking the rush of the next big mountain. But for some reason, she has a premonition that this time is his last. Aiden dismisses her pleadings for him not to go and promises her he will come back to her. He didn’t promise he’d be alive.
After Aiden is buried under an avalanche, Maddie struggles with what’s left: raising her four-year-ol...more
Susan
Read this over Spring Break. Loved how the story is told from multiple perspectives. The twists are wonderful. It's hard to talk too much about why I loved this book without giving away too much of the story. The key pieces Maddie and Aidan meet in NC and click. Aidan's history makes him run from those feelings. He's a mountaineer and during a climb after running from Maddie he realizes how much he loves her and wants to be with her. They marry, have a child and spend a great deal of time with J...more
Maryellen
A captivating debut novel from an author that has an amazing career ahead of her. Congratulations Ms. Colin~~you've got a winner with THE MEMORY THIEF. There's this song that I remember and some of the words are, "Love travels the miles/Upon the wings of angels/Love finds you/I swear it's true/I can love you from here/And I will always be near". I just kept thinking of that song when I was reading this fantastic novel. Aiden and Maddie fall in love. Aiden lives a life filled with the risks of be...more
Carol
I'm not sure how this one had ended up on my "to read" list, but it was and so I did. I did very much enjoy the story, and it was one that kept me reading to see what happened next. The accident that occurs with Aiden leaving Maddie and son Gabe behind is heartbreaking. The comfort turned relationship with JC would be unthinkable in real life, but seems fitting in the story. The parallel story from Nicholas' point of view is very interesting. The whole "after life" thing is just kind of weird th...more
Cherie
I did not like this book. I thought the two main characters were self-centered and self-absorbed. The woman's husband dies in a climbing accident and she says what can I do? I loved him so much I can't be without him. I know. I'll seduce his best friend. Her husband the ghost hi-jacks some stranger and takes over his life. He doesn't care a bit about the guy and what he may want or need.
The author does try to make it all right in the end by saying he wanted a change and he was going to break up...more
Melissa
In reading the reviews, I once again felt as if I read an entirely different book. Shallow, poorly developed characters. A supernatural element that had potential, but overall did very little for the story. The plot quickly went from Aidan and Maddie's story to JC and Maddie's story. I had a difficult time feeling the connection between Aidan and Maddie (thus the supernatural element failing for me), when she was in a full blown relationship with JC so soon after her husband's death. I prefer me...more
Judy
I am surprised I stuck with this book to the end, but it started out with such an exciting chapter, I had to keep reading. The story is narrated by each of the characters, but it's not confusing at all. The premise is hard to swallow----one man dies on a mountain at the exact time another man suffers a head trauma in a motorcycle accident. Here's the difficult part: the mountain man's mind (memories, feelings, habits, etc) are infused into the motorcycle man's head. The poor motorcycle man wakes...more
Dawn
I was pretty sure I knew where this story was going right from the get go and I was interested in how the author would pull it off. The writing was really good, kudos to Emily Colin for that.

I didn't just read this book, I guzzled it. I was totally vested in seeing how the ends all tied up. I was uncomfortable with how quickly Maddie and JC fell into bed, but the author did a good job of building a case for it. Though again I was pulling for AJ so I had a tough time getting behind JC. (Yes, lot...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Ask Emily Colin: Welcome 11 25 Dec 11, 2012 09:26AM  
  • Kisses to Remember
  • After The Rain
  • What Came First
  • You Take It From Here
  • Two of a Kind
  • Invisible
  • Realities
  • Words Get In the Way
  • Don't Let Me Go
  • What You Wish For: A Novel
  • The Affair (The Affair, #1)
  • The Orphan Sister
  • Equilibrium
  • Never Come Back
  • The Unfinished Child
  • How Lucky You Are
  • Stargazey Point
  • Things We Didn't Say
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Emily Colin holds a BA in Psychology, with a second major in Literature/Media Studies, from Duke University, and an MS in Family Studies and Human Services, with a specialization in Youth Development, from Kansas State University. She is the Associate Director of DREAMS of Wilmington, a nationally award-winning nonprofit dedicated to building creative, committed citizens by providing youth in need...more
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