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Things-RememberedReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

After having such a positive experience reading Georgia Bockoven’s The Year Everything Changed, I could not wait to give another of her books a try. Things Remembered (originally published in 1998, but re-packaged in October 2012) appealed to me because of the strong familial themes it offered; I am an only child, and always wanted siblings. I’ve always been drawn to stories featuring larger families than my own to get a better understanding of what I am missing.

Things Remembered follows the story of three sisters (Karla, Heather, and Grace) who were raised by their grandmother Anna. Now eighty-five, Anna is dealing with health issues, and as the oldest sibling Karla feels it is her responsibility to help Anna set her affairs in order. Karla has memories of her birth parents that her sisters do not, and still remembers the pain of being unwanted by her aunt and uncle. Misunderstandings between Karla and Anna prevented them from being close, and Anna wants nothing more than to heal some of the hurt Karla feels before it’s her time to go.

Things Remembered had a very slow beginning; all of the characters and two different settings were introduced, but I just wanted to get right into the flow of the story. It didn’t pick up for me until a possible love interest for Karla came into the picture. Karla had a prickly personality, and Mark’s presence in the pages softened her a little. As the story progressed, I warmed up to Karla and hoped she would be able to forgive her grandma (though in my opinion, Anna had done nothing wrong–it was all Karla).

While the conclusion of Things Remembered provided much needed closure and a perfect ending, I was slightly uncomfortable throughout the reading of it because it reminded me of the complicated relationships between my mother and her two sisters. The youngest sister, Grace, could have been modeled after my own self-serving aunt. Karla is a combination of my mother and my favorite aunt. I love reading to escape my life, and was so startled at how familiar these characters were to my own family members. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t seen so many parallels, and am sure other readers will have entirely different reactions than I did.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow Paperbacks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.