Although I wasn't very keen on Cecelia Ahern's first novel, I'm glad that I didn't judge her based on that; I've very much enjoyed her more recent works. They're slightly surreal, but the people are believable and the stories well written.
'Thank you for the memories' is a somewhat quirky novel about two people who, at the beginning of the book, have nothing in common at all. Justin is an art history expert who lives in London. He's recently divorced, and has been invited to give guest lectures at a university in Dublin. While he's there, he is persuaded to donate some blood, rather against his wishes.
We meet Joyce as she's getting over the loss of her unborn baby, after a nasty accident. She is naturally grieving, and is not helped by the break-up of her marriage. And she's very confused to find that she suddenly has some memories, some of which appear as dreams, which don't seem to belong to her at all.
The novel follows Justin and Joyce in turn, as they happen to meet or come in contact; I found it very odd at first but it unfolds nicely and realisation came to me before it did to Joyce. There are some very amusing moments, and some which are poignant; the ending is inevitable (and rather a relief - I did worry that it might be left open, or with Justin none the wiser) but many of the events during the main part of the book are far from predictable.
Cecelia Ahern has a remarkable gift for creating unusual scenarios and making them seem believable, at least while reading the book. Recommended, if you don't mind suspending reality for a while.
Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 15th October 2009