The Memory Garden

memoryMary Rickert’s novel The Memory Garden is the story of a foundling, Bay Singer, who struggles with who she is and the powers she may possess as she comes of age.  Bay’s mother, Nan, is a woman her grandmother’s age, who behaves in ways which embarrass young Bay and which have caused the neighborhood kids to dub her a witch.  The story takes place over only a few days when Nan decides to invite her long-estranged girlhood chums to a weekend together at her magical home, but with the hidden agenda of finding someone who will agree to take care of Bay.  The author hints at something that occurred in the past involving these old women which strained their friendship to breaking and has haunted each in a unique way.  The story unfolds very slowly, but with lovely bits of magical realism and sensory descriptions of Nan’s enchanted garden.  It is told in two alternating viewpoints: Bay and Nan.  I must admit that at times I became impatient and felt as if I was trapped in an old woman’s confused thinking and wished for some clarity, but  the teasing hints of what these women did as young women kept me reading to find out.  If you are looking for a leisurely read with some magical elements, this is the book.

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