Looking for a novel filled with drama and plot-twists? Check out The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello. This psychological thriller follows Caroline Thompson, a writer and stay-at-home mom who is exposed to her forgotten (and scandalous) past after searching herself online.
Let me start by saying that I had no idea what to expect when receiving this book, only that it was shown as an item I may be interested in on my Amazon account. After reading the book’s back cover, which detailed a gossipy suburban mom and the use of Google as a social weapon, I was actually apprehensive to start. However, it didn’t take long for this seemingly cliché “Real Housewives” spin-off to have me turning pages.
In The Mystery Box, readers share Caroline’s confusion and surprise as pieces of her past come to light. Fellow mothers at her daughters’ elementary school are hungry for dirt on one another, which motivates a curious Caroline to search herself on Google. Initially, the results hold little interest, just a few articles detailing local charity involvement. It is then that Caroline decides to search her maiden name, thus the scandal unfolds.
Murder, affairs and fabricated stories all make The Mystery Box a guilty pleasure for myself. That being said, there is little I can write that won’t give away the complex inner workings of the book. Those who choose to pick up a copy should prepare to have all of their initial expectations shattered throughout the chapters. You may think you know what the search results mean, what secrets are hidden, or who is responsible for what acts. However, the more you read, the more you realize how unexpected each turn is.
Starting with the prologue and ending with the tacked-on “Part 2,” I found everyday detail to be imperative to my understanding of the story. Natiello does a great job at creating anticipation around the events in her book. Whether it is the time-stamps that evoke a sense of urgency at the beginning of each chapter, or the use of mysterious themes like secrets, remembering and reality, I found myself refusing to put the book down until I had all of my questions about Caroline answered.
Even the book’s ending is contradicted by the unanticipated “Part 2.” After Caroline’s story closes and readers believe that they have some closure, an unforeseen epilogue takes us for another jolted turn. You are left wondering what was real and what was fiction, as well as who Caroline really is.
Overall, this book was a quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed picking up. Despite my initial thoughts that this novel belonged on the shelves of stay-at-home moms who binge watch daytime soap operas, I was left extremely satisfied with the creative thinking that went into crafting Caroline’s narrative. If you’re looking for an easy and entertaining read to unwind with during finals or to start your summer off with, I highly recommend checking out The Memory Box.
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