On a wet summer morning in the historical township of Port Brandon, South Eastern Australia, talented artist and psychic Beth Montgomery reluctantly agrees to carry out a psychic assessment of Carrington House. She soon becomes frightened by a string of nightmares that could be warning her not to tamper with the metaphysical. Despite her fears, she braces herself for what is to come and continues to unearth the secrets of the past. As soon as she enters the historical home, the image of a distraught Victorian maid appears, and then a young woman manifests on the staircase. Beth is transported to another era, where a magnificent four-poster bed, an engraved watch, and an exquisite ring evoke fleeting memories. When Beth spies a calendar, the date fills her with dread, but she cannot remember why. Returning to the present time, Beth agrees to work for the irresistible Dr Matthew Jamieson, the new vet in the district. Each time they meet, memories of another lifetime flood her heart. She senses an eternal bond between them, but with two unfaithful partners in her past, she is reluctant to become romantically involved with him. As her passion for Matthew intensifies, she regresses to 1895. In her past life as Mary Clark, she meets the darkly handsome Samuel Methven and falls in love with him on sight. But is he as honourable as he seems? Faced with Samuel’s apparent betrayal, Beth is plagued by fears that Matthew will also be unfaithful to her. She knows that to learn the truth, she must return to her past life, but that means facing an unbearable tragedy. Does Beth have the courage to move between lifetimes and relive that dreadful event? Will she be able to discover whether her soulmate was faithful to his twin soul?
It took me a while to pick this book up, but once I did, I was sucked in. It’s the kind of book that gives you a ‘book hangover’ and leaves you wanting more once finished.
The paranormal element of this story is the main reason I had to keep reading, i wanted the answers to Beth’s questions that were raised every time she regressed to her past life as Mary. The good thing about this story arc, in my opinion, was the fact that Beth was unable to change anything that may have happened in her past life, or prevent certain things from happening. She could merely experience them, the good and the bad, and learn from them in her current life. Far too often in ‘time travel’ stories, do our main characters go back to right wrongs or to change things to give themselves a better future. The Memory healer is, as the title suggests, the story of Beth using her memories to heal what is happening in the present.
The romance between Mary and Samuel/Beth and Matthew is subtle and doesn’t overtake the entire story, yet remains a viable element of the entire book. It’s almost the driving force without being the only story.
Filarski has obviously done a lot of research into past life regression, and the ease with which she writes about it makes an old cynic such as myself almost a believer. Whilst I am not an all out non believer, I don’t completely take the psychic world and ideals as gospel.
The main problem I had with The Memory Healer was the way Beth’s abilities were accepted without question, by everybody. I think if even just one other character was a bit cynical about the whole thing, I would have found it more relateable and believable.
All in all, it’s a very well written and thought out book that, whilst may only take a day or so to read, could potentially stay with a reader for much longer. Well worth buying and reading.