Finding a Memory by Chautona Havig was a great addition to the Independence Islands series. This was book 19 in the series. I haven’t read all the books in the series, but I would highly recommend doing that,, only because it will give more layers to the story. But, you can still read this as a “stand alone” and it’s delightful.
I love how the storyline was mainly about Ms. Patti and Francis; yet there was another storyline that I loved just as much – Mallory and Benjamin. I remember them from Bookers on the Rocks, another book in the series. However, I’m wondering if I missed something important because of certain things Benjamin would say throughout the book about it not being the right time to propose. He needed to have a certain conversation with Mallory, which I thought would be answered in this book, but it wasn’t (or I missed it). I will have to go back and reread the back covers of the other books to see if I missed an important storyline. But as I said before, you can read each as a stand alone and still be very blessed.
This was a really sweet, yet really sad at times, love story. I remember hearing an interview with the author saying she wanted to write a story based on the song (I think the correct title is “Meet Me at the Altar”) and she hit a homerun. It was a beautiful love story. I think I connected most with Lisa, Ms. Patti’s daughter and Frank (Francis), Ms. Patti’s lost love. I loved how Ms. Patti’s spunk came through in the end and how Frank cheered her on. I also loved Frank’s daughters and how they were able to speak truth to Lisa, a virtual stranger to them, and demonstrate what a healthy relationship looks like for siblings, father-daughter, etc. for Lisa. I also love how Louis, while having gone through the same trauma as his sister, processed it, released it, and was able to remain optimistic, healthy, and happy.
The story was definitely a romance, but it wasn’t sugary sweet. It had real life, hard truth interwoven which made it that much more real and more powerful for me. There was quite a strong thread of biblical values woven throughout which I enjoyed as well.
Mallory and Benjamin were a bit of some comic relief throughout the story, and I absolutely loved Benjamin’s variety of nicknames for Mallory. I found it cute and endearing, rarely using the same one twice. They were a fun and adorable couple, although she seemed quite clingy when they hadn’t (as far as I know) declared themselves yet in a relationship, although she was helping him design his kitchen, which led me to believe she would one day inhabit the kitchen as her own. I think I would drive my husband crazy if I was always crying on him the way she was crying on Benjamin. Maybe Benjamin didn’t mind because they were still in the “dating” phase? Benjamin seemed more than understanding, a caregiver by nature, and always ready to come to her rescue.
I loved the interaction between Ms. Patti and Frank. I love how real their conversations were, the way the love was described between Gina and Frank and how accepting his daughters and their families were. My heart broke for Patti as she described her life with Jon. I never felt angry toward her, always understood why she did what she did and just felt compassion because I have many friends who married the “wrong person” out of obligation, a sense of duty, lack of support from parents, etc. and then had to make the best of their situation after “til death does us part.” That happens far too often in life and was very real. The difference, I think, between believers and nonbelievers is more nonbelievers choose divorce and more believers choose to stick it out.
I also loved the additional storyline of Uncle Bud. Now I really want to know the secret behind him and hope another book will be written to answer the questions I have about Benjamin and Mallory and now Uncle Bud and his secret life. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for that book and it will be put on my TBR pile toward the top!
I would highly recommend reading this book, and reading the whole Independence Island series. I am going to go back and read the ones I haven’t yet to see if I did truly miss something about Mallory and Benjamin’s relationship. I think I’d like to live on an island and have these people as my friends. This series makes it sound so fun!