Book Review | I Remember You
Title: I Remember You
Author: Harriet Evans
For Tess Tennant and Adam Smith, childhood best friends who had a summer romance years ago, the water meadows in their home town of Langford, England represent some of their most treasured and painful memories. After Adam broke her heart, Tess moved to London to forget about the child she aborted and to help relieve some of the pressure of carrying such a burdensome secret. Tess moved on to a new relationship with Will, secured a decent job, and made a new life for herself. Meanwhile in Langford, nothing has changed for Adam, who sleeps around, works in the same pub, and doesn’t consider any kind of future for himself beyond that.
When Tess loses both her job and her boyfriend, a job advertisement for a Classics teacher in Langford brings her home for the first time in 12 years and reconnects her with Adam. Soon after, their friendship becomes strained when Adam enters into a tumultuous relationship with Tess’s housemate, Francesca. When long buried feelings reach the surface and it looks as if Adam and Tess finally have a chance together, Tess once again finds herself nursing a broken heart. Escaping to Rome with her Classics students for a holiday, Tess meets a young Italian-American reporter with whom she can envision a future. A tragedy amongst her students cuts the trip short, and Tess returns to Langford. Soon the past catches up with the present as truths about Adam threaten to destroy the future of Langford.
I Remember You by Harriet Evans is a bittersweet study of first loves and heartbreaks, and the importance of forgiveness. Many women will identify with Tess’s romantic struggles, though Adam is not the most worthy of her affections. Most of the time I loathed Adam, but redemption and forgiveness and major themes of this novel. At 439 pages, it was a bit longer than I felt it needed to be, and it seemed Evans lost some of her direction in the second half. The majority of I Remember You is set in the present, although Tess reminisces about the past. Near the end, Evans takes the readers even farther back to the 1940’s. Those scenes were some of my favorite, and I wish she had alternated between the past and the present throughout the whole novel rather than the end. Had she done so, it would have strengthened the similarities between Tess and the elderly Leonora.
More than just a chick lit novel, I Remember You is full of flawed, realistic characters and will make you believe in the power of first love.
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*