"The Edge of Memory" by Maura Beth Brennan



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?

This story's base defintiely holds merit. A villain is despisable and holds no redeeming qualities. Harriet has a chance to save someone from ill fate and redeem her confidence and self esteem. She cultivates a relationship with Agnes, grows to care for her, and considers her family. I don't think she would contemplate certain rash and irreparable actions over this romance-gone-wrong. Though insecure, she'd always expressed a desire to better her life. Diary entries make the story clunky. Instead of letting the author experience the happenings first hand, the author stops the action and tells you what happened or reiterates things that happened and applies Harriet's feelings in the short scripts of her journal. With bold signs and clues displayed, the plot grows predictable, and an anticipated twist doesn't evolve. However, the story ends with villain receiving just desserts. "The Edge of Memory" title points to Harriet's childhood trauma, which causes her emotional turmoil, but it leaves me wanting more. It doesn't seem it would take a news reporter divulging her past thirty years later for her to "remember" the reality of the haunting moment. If the information is out there, why didn't she know?