Book Review: The Edge of Memory

Hey, everyone. I’m making good progress with my 2021 reading challenge. I recently finished The Edge of Memory, a debut novel by Mary Beth Brennan published in 2017. I’m delighted to share my review.


When your childhood is cut short by murder and treachery, it’s not easy to live a normal life. At the tender age of nine, Harriet witnessed her father beat her mother to death, and she holds herself partially responsible. Still haunted by half-memories, guilt, and disturbing dreams, she has constructed a solitary and joyless existence, with little room for men or romance. Facing her thirtieth birthday, she knows she must do something to change her life. Like an omen, she meets Agnes, a rich elderly widow looking for a companion at her summer home in Maine, and the two forge a business deal. Thinking this will be like a vacation and a time to plan a better future, Harriet is shocked to discover challenges and obstacles she hadn’t anticipated. Agnes’ nephew and sole heir resents Harriet and wants her gone. And then there’s Eli, the local artisan who makes her reconsider her decision to avoid men. Can he possibly return her feelings? Soon, the nephew’s schemes, along with a heartbreaking betrayal, culminate in an event that changes her life forever. Will she fail Agnes as she failed her own mother years ago? Will she lose the man she loves? Or will she find her own strength and realize happiness at last?

My Review

Every once in a while, I like an easy-to-read book. Edge of Memory by author Maura Beth Brennan was such a story. But just because it was quick reading didn’t make it any less enjoyable.

Harriett is a woman on the edge of her thirtieth birthday. When she was nine-years-old, she witnessed her father kill her mother. She feels guilty for not doing something to help. Her self-esteem is low, thanks in part to the aunt and uncle who raised her, and her memories from before her mother’s death are vague.

When she meets Agnes, a wealthy octogenarian widow, the two of them strike up a friendship. Agnes asks Harriet to accompany her to her summer home in Maine. It sounds like an ideal summer.

While there Harriet meets a local artisan, Eli, and falls in love. But not all is golden. Agnes’s nephew Alex shows up. He doesn’t care for Harriet and throws insult after insult her way. A series of strange events happen, leaving her to suspect Alex. And just as she is overcoming her self-doubt, comes a heartbreaking betrayal.

Brennan did an outstanding job in describing the area and the characters are flawed, yet believable. The ending was satisfactory. There were a few repeated words that a good editor would have caught and one scene was a little sappy for my taste, but I otherwise enjoyed reading this debut novel.

Four stars.

25 thoughts on “Book Review: The Edge of Memory

  1. I really enjoyed Maura Beth’s new novel. The setting, the old lady, the nephew, the hunk – all of the characters, including the animals are well-portrayed. And I learned something about Charcoal. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Joan!

    Liked by 1 person

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