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The Memory Collector

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  962 ratings  ·  112 reviews
Heather Lucas lives her life through other people’s memories.

Heather doesn’t want to remember her childhood, not when her mother’s extreme hoarding cast her family life into disarray.

For Heather’s mother, every possession was intimately connected to a memory, so when Heather uncovers a secret about her past that could reveal why her mother never let anything go, she knows
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 6th 2018 by HQ
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  962 ratings  ·  112 reviews

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Kaisha (The Writing Garnet)
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
All reviews can be found on my blog at

The only way I can truly describe my thoughts on 'The Memory Collector', is if I were to liken it to a flower. Bear with me here. For several chapters, the storyline was like a little bud, waiting to blossom to its true potential, with me, its reader, waiting with bated breath to see if it would indeed flower. Of course, not every single flower blossoms, so I wasn't too sure whether it would or not. However, after sever
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I will admit I struggled initially with this book and nearly gave up when I was just a few pages in. It seemed quite bleak and I found Heather a hard character to understand.

However I persisted and I am glad I did.

Heather is trying to get on with life after the death of her mother, who was a hoarder. When her mother died we learn how her mother's hoarding had a major impact on Heather as a child - the chaotic living conditions, her lack of friends, being bullied and a traumatic event as a child
Penny-sue Wolfe
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! At first I struggled with it purely because it brought up memories of living with a hoarder but as the story went on I found it therapeutic. By the middle of the book I had given lots of my stuff away! The story line to this book is so well written and keeps pace throughout. Thoroughly enjoyed it!!
Nicola Clough
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The author sent me an advanced copy of this book so I could read and give an honest review to what I thought and it's brilliant. It's deals with very difficult issues with mental health but also very powerful and full of romance and finding out about your life which has had many secrets. Very uplifting read and so well written with parts in the present and some in the past but put together very well and you want to learn what the secret is. Also has a lot about loss as well so can be hard for so ...more
Karla Winick-Ford
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: family
For a quick read, this was pretty engaging.

The poor main character, Heather, suffers....

you learn of her hurtful past, which leads to her mother's habitual collection, which devastates her family

She deals with these issues, as she struggles with her current personal relationships

It's an amazing narrative, even if it's fiction- motivating and inspiring.
Pamela Boyle
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Started of really slow then futher on it got good
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow!! I really loved this powerful thought provoking book. It took me a while to get hooked but when I did I was reading into the early hours trying to find out how it would end.

Heather the main character has had a very difficult childhood her mother was a hoarder and this cast a shadow over the whole family. When her mother dies Heather is left with the remains of her hoarding all locked away in her spare room. The accidental discovery of a secret from her past shakes Heather into trying to di
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book from the minute I started it, I couldn’t put it down. A powerful story about mental illness, lies, loss and love. A very poignant story. The main character Heather cannot remember her childhood well, she was bullied at school, had bad experiences as a teenager and had a destructive home life as her mother was a prolific hoarder. After her mother dies she has been left with the remnants of her mother’s hoarding, but Heather struggles to deal with these belongings due to the memo ...more
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has taken a long time to read as I kept picking it up & putting it down again as I struggled to get really involved with it.

Heather is a loner. She avoids being sociable. Her flat is white, clean & minimalist- apart from the spare room which is piled high with 'stuff'. This is what her mother left her.She struggles with her monthly visit to her sister & family.On one hand she longs to properly get to know her niece & nephew, but she has always found her sister .Faith, a bit overwhelmin
Jenny Worstall
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!
It's a brilliant read, slowly untangling the myriad layers of the past, then moving on towards a bright future.
My local charity shop loved it too, as I felt compelled to start disposing of my hoardings before they started to take over the house...
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
There's a lot of good parts too, but I can't ignore the amount of kitsch in both the language and the plot. Too much for me. ...more
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have another confession to make- yes another one. Although I have a few of Fiona’s books on my ‘To Be Read’ shelf, I haven’t actually read one of them. Sorry Fiona. Well I can certainly say that I have read one of her books now and what a read it was. I absolutely loved reading ‘The Memory Collector’ but more about that in a bit.
I have to admit that I felt for Heather. It’s obvious at the start of the book that she has been through some pretty tough stuff over the course of her lifetime but we
Kerrie Paterson
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book took me a while to get into it, but once it hooked me, I couldn't stop reading. A story with depth that kept me thinking. ...more
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The only thing that lets this book down is the boring title
Samantha Tonge
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
On of my favourite 2018 reads so far. What a wonderfully poignant and unputdownable story. Somehow gentle yet hardhitting at the same time. In parts Heather's story was so painful I had to physically turn way from the page to take a break before carrying on. Heather is a beautifully crafted protagonist I rapidly cared about. Harper skilfully entwines her past with the present. Fans of Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine will love this novel. A story that will stay with me. ...more
Karen Whittard
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is really beautiful, moving and absolutely wonderful. It deals with some very sensitive subjects like mental health. It is a wonderfully uplifting book that tells you about the power of yourself. It deals with romance, friendship, secrets, friendship, family and loss. It is a very moving read and you will need tissues when you read it. It is so wonderfully and delicately written.
Donna Alward
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read this in one sitting. Soooooo good!
Somya Sahni
Twitter | Blog | Instagram

It took me two days to read this book.And I want to yell on top of my voice and tell everyone and anyone that this book is a masterpiece and definitely worth reading. If you have ever had a thing for authors like Cecelia Ahern , Jojo Moyes, or Paula Hawkins (Its not exactly a phycological thriller but has a few elements of it) then you would definitely like this one too.!

This book is about Heather and the effects the events of her childhood had on her.! And through read
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2018
I really enjoyed this book. Although it deals with both mental health and deep emotional issues it is an easy read. The main character Heather had a very disturbed childhood living with a mother who was a hoarder. When her mother dies, Heather is left with the remnants of her life stored in boxes in her spare room. Do these boxes hold the secret as to why her mother was so dysfunctional? When Heather stumbles across a secret about her own past she knows the only place to find the answers she nee ...more
jane king
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is a strange one .... I read the whole book but I still can’t make up my mind whether I liked it or not. I could not connect with the main character Heather, I just didn’t like her. There was too much scene setting that I skipped through hoping the story would pick up but it didn’t. A total disappointment and I’ve made up my mind - I didn’t like it and I don’t recommend it.
Adnan Khaleel
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Seemed like the author had to labour really hard to come up with a story when there was none.
Feb 22, 2019 rated it liked it
It took me some time to get into this book, I'm not sure why, in fact I left it for a couple of weeks and then went back to it. All in all it's a decent story and once I had reached the middle of it I had gained enough interest to carry on reading.

The Story.

Heather had a traumatic childhood. Her mother suffered from mental illness and was a compulsive hoarder. This meant that Heather and sister lived a lifestyle that was detrimental to the whole family. The space for the children to live grew sm
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was thrilled to receive this new book from HQ publishing as it has been tweeted about far and wide.

I’d never read any of Fiona’s work before this and went into it not really knowing what to expect. There is a very mysterious start to the book, and one that got me very curious. There’s a memory from a little girl, with an almost sinister undertone. We are then taken back to the present (now) and the chapters are interspersed with Heather’s past (then).

Heather is clearly very affected by the eve
Sarah - Sarah's Vignettes
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review can be found at

Why am I only just discovering the delights of Fiona Harper's writing? Fiona's last book, The Other Us, has been sitting unread on my shelf for a year. Well that will shortly change because if it is anything like The Memory Collector, it will be brilliant!

The Memory Collector is a powerful and poignant story about mental illness, love, loss, hope and moving on.

The story starts with a young girl, her memory of a trip to the seaside and a re
Jo Shaw
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was incredibly moving. It deals with mental health issues, love and the lies that people tell to hide a part of them. The protagonist, Heather, grew up in a home dominated by stuff, the stuff her mother hoarded, filling every space in the house, leaving rabbit runs of paths amongst everything. Following her mother's death some years later, Heather fills her spare room with the remnants of the hoard her mother had filled their house with. By accident, Heather discovers a part of her his ...more
Angela L
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Before reading this I heard it would appeal to lovers of Eleanor Oliphant and I can see why the connection was made. Like Eleanor, the "heroine" of this tale, Heather, has a pretty dysfunctional past that she's tried to hardest to block out.
Her parents split when she was young as her mother was a massive hoarder. I mean really massive, eventually dying of a stroke because she couldn't find her medication amongst all the stuff. After her death the council clear the house but some of the hoard rem
Anne Harvey
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We’ve all seen television programmes about compulsive hoarders, the reason for such behaviour and the immense difficulties their families have to endure. Well, that is the theme of this novel, specifically how such an upbringing has affected Heather Lucas to the point where she has developed problems of her own, in her case, the opposite of hoarding. In many cases, this novel is similar to peeling an onion as layer after layer is exposed. Gradually, through the help of a hunky neighbour, Jason, ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a well crafted, heart-rending, thought provoking tale this was. Not only was it well written but I was so engaged with Heather from the start of this book and as I learnt more about her with the flashbacks to the past I became more engaged. How Heather managed to keep a full time job while dealing with her demons was so brave and engaging. This story dealt with the problems of Heather's childhood both in the home and at school
and how families turn their back on problems. Moreover Heather i
Rebecca Haslam
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
They say our memories make us much of who we are, and as someone who often looks back on my life, reflecting on both the good and bad times, this book struck a chord with me. Family life can be chaotic at the best of times, but this story and its central characters are more tightly interwoven and complicated than many I've read about and the loss aspect of the story in particular kept me turning the pages, especially when the big secret was revealed.

I probably won't read this book again but I w
What Lynsey Read
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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