Brushstrokes of Memory by Karen McMillan

Imagine waking up from a coma with 10 years of memory missing. This is what confronts Rebecca, the principal character of Brushstrokes Of Memory upon waking up in hospital after suffering a head injury. Apart from the missing ten years of her life, Rebecca also has to deal with a number of changes in the fast paced world around her, amongst them the rapid advances in technology that have taken place in her workplace.  The physical changes to her body are a shock, especially when she discovers she has had breast cancer. Fortunately she had kept a diary during her treatment, so reading this she is able to piece together some of her missing years. Author Karen McMillan has drawn on her own personal experience of breast cancer and this aspect of the book is particularly revealing.

There are other secrets to her past life that I will not reveal  for fear of spoiling the book. Rebecca’s husband Daniel holds the key to some of them, but he is torn between wanting Rebecca to recover her memory or revert back to an earlier version of their life where things were going better between them. Her friend Julie also wants to protect Rebecca from harm but there are things she thinks Rebecca has a right to know.

The book is written from alternating points of view of Rebecca, Daniel and Julie. Each has their own voice which brings different sides to the story telling. It is the kind of book you want to keep reading just another chapter to find out what is going on. The diary excerpts provide an insight into the experience of a breast cancer journey.

It was interesting to see how many changes there have been in regards to technology in so short a period. There are also many musical references as Rebecca’s husband is a musician – Rebecca listens to her favourite musical hits, which are, of course, ten years old. It’s another reminder of how quickly things have moved on. Rebecca’s friend Julie has to bring her up to date on all the notable news events of the past ten years as well. It’s an interesting look back over the decade.

This was an enjoyable book to read. The writing flowed well and the characters were well developed.  A great addition to the author’s growing list of titles.

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Rachel White Rachel White’s mother was a writer and she also worked in publishing, so there were always books around Rachel growing up. Rachel eventually ended up working in publishing too, amongst other careers, so her mother’s influence has carried on. Rachel’s love of food, gardening, travel and cats mean her interests are fairly wide. She also enjoys contemporary and historical fiction and anything that expands the mind. She thinks many of the world’s problems could be solved if people read more.

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