• Sunday, March 01st, 2020

Ella Griffin was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. When twenty-one, she quitted college and went to Holland, where she worked in a Kodak factory, followed by advertising at the age of twenty- three. Griffin won an award as an advertising copywriter before deciding to become a novelist. Since 2011 she has written four novels. The Memory Shop, her fourth novel, was published in 2017.

Ella Griffin says: “I started travel writing in my thirties. Then, when I was forty, I went to Greece on a writing course and came home with the love of my life and an idea for my first novel”. She presently lives with her husband in County Wicklow in Ireland.

The Irish, Nora Malone, the main character of The Memory Shop, is a young design artist living in London. Nora is on her way to Blackrock in Dublin for the reading of her grandmother Lainey’s will and also to collect some items from Temple Terrace – her late grandparents’ home – before it is cleared and sold. While heading towards Heathrow Airport, she discovers that she has forgotten the keys to her grandparents’ home on the hall table of her house in Fountain Road, London.

When Nora arrives home unexpectedly, she discovers her husband of two years in bed with a woman and soon after she discovers by coincidence that it is Liv, her colleague and best-trusted friend.

Under the shock, Nora decides to quit everything in London and stay in her grandparents’ home in Dublin where she grew up. But, reluctant to auction her grandparents’ belongings to strangers, she chooses to open The Memory Shop by using the vacant premises attached to the house. She decides to sell all the contents of the house to people who will appreciate them as well as put them to good use by matching up the appropriate person with a suitable item.

The reader is introduced to new characters who come to the shop, attracted by specific objects. There is Lia, the unsettled, worried mistress who fell in love with the freshwater pearl earrings and buys them. Caroline, the unhappy wife and the hand-knotted, silk Moroccan prayer rug, “the rug had been admired by dozens of people (…), but nobody loved it the way Caroline did”. And the boy Christopher, whose face lit up with excitement when he saw through Nora’s shop window the two hundred and forty million-year-old ammonite fossil marble table and pleaded with his father to buy it for him as a birthday present.

After redecorating the place and attracting buyers with her beautiful and original thematic window displays, changing every few days, gradually each object finds a happy owner and a new life. Because, with a new buyer, the items will start different, fresh, memorable stories.

Through clearing and dealing with each item of her grandparents’ memorabilia, letters and handwritten notes of her grandmother with a heavy heart, Nora unravels joyous, sad and secret old stories as well as memories of her childhood. She also unwinds interesting concealed secrets of her grandmother’s mysterious past.

In the seaside town of Blackrock, a suburb near Dublin, where Nora now lives, she has made new friends. Like the all-round helper, Fiona, the owner of the local café and her cook, Adonis, the widower, Will and his daughter Alice, and several other characters, each one of them with his or her own story.

The Memory Shop vividly describes items, surroundings and feelings. It portrays gripping characters, all with their stories intertwined with Nora’s shop. It is a heart-warming novel about love, deception, family bonds, community friendship and nostalgia.

It underlines how it is essential to pick oneself up and have the self-confidence to overcome life’s inflicted wounds and to be set free from the past, looking forward to building a better future.

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Category: Book Reviews
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