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I Remember You

af Harriet Evans

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1583138,221 (3.41)6
British college professor Tess Tennant takes her students on a trip to Rome, where a charming American reporter gives her a romantic tour of the city, until a tragedy causes her past and present to collide.
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This is a much better book than the cover would suggest and I feel a little sorry for Evans, having her work marketed in pink. I also felt a little sorry for myself, sitting on the bus with my skin head, sure that everyone had noticed I was reading a girls’ book.

Evans makes a real effort to achieve a sense of realism, with characters speaking colloquially and stumbling through their heavily punctuated sentences.

It is too long. There are pages of chatter between characters that just don’t contribute to the story. Parts of it are frankly boring. What this author needs is a merciless editor.

Although Tess is a likable character, I found myself emotionally unmoved which was a shame. What ultimately saves the book from being bonfire material is Evans’ sense of humour; the little observations of people that had me laughing quite a few times. ( )
  Lukerik | Nov 17, 2015 |
Tess is heartbroken after a terrible break up, and decides to leave London to move back to the town she grew up. But after many years of exile in the big city, Langford is not quite as she remembered. Her best friend since childhood, Adam, still lives in Langford, after giving up his college education before he even started. Now he is too preoccupied with his new girlfriend to help Tess through her difficult time. Then you have the local quarrel over the water meadows, the mystery surrounding the local benefactor, Leonora Mortmain, and a trip to Rome.
Have time ruined Tess and Adam’s true friendship forever, will the water meadows be saved and what happened to Leonora that made her so bitter?

This was good for a chick lit book. Though it took me a little while to get enthusiastic, it did grow on me. I think it is difficult to read this type of literature without meeting any clichés, but they were not to soppy and not too many. ( )
  Apolline | Jan 14, 2011 |
Best friends Tess Tennant and Adam Smith grew up in the tiny English town of Langford, made famous for its connection to author Jane Austen — and for its gorgeous vistas, including the historic water meadows. The meadows have been controlled for years by Leonora Mortmain, the daunting and severe old woman who has taken up permanent residence as an antagonistic old crone in the lives of Langford’s residents.

After many years apart, Tess returns to town from London and finds Adam — handsome, gawky, intelligent — living the same old life has has since the death of his mother, the larger-than-life Phillippa. Tess’s heart breaks at the thought of finding her oldest, dearest friend at a stand-still, but what can she do?

Other than begin teaching a course on classics at a local college. She eventually leads her pupils to Rome on an end-of-term field trip, and it’s there that she meets Peter — a charismatic, gorgeous American who sees something in Tess that she doesn’t yet notice in herself. Torn between her long-ago feelings for Adam and attentive, exciting Peter, Tess flounders. But Adam isn’t himself these days, and when a final secret comes to light, changing the very nature of everything in town — and Adam himself — can Tess embrace a new life? Or is she destined to flounder in the old one — alone?

Harriet Evans’ I Remember You is wildly entertaining, colorful, poignant, heartbreaking — basically everything I look for in a good novel. What I wanted David Nicholls’ One Day to be — a tale of best friends over the years, reuniting and loving and losing — was all found here, and what a thoroughly enjoyable book it was.

Tess was a character with whom I could identify immediately: proud but a bit confused about where she’s headed in life; adventurous, but still with a yearning to find “home.” Adam has been her steadfast friend since they were children, growing up in town together, and everyone assumed they’d eventually find love in each other — but not so. Through a succession of heartbreaks, heartaches and confusion, Adam and Tess lose touch. And when they eventually reunite, nothing is the same.

It’s hard for me to say exactly what I loved about this story. It was emotional, yes, and that’s the biggest boon for me: I felt emotionally invested with these people from the start. Their hurts were my hurts; their successes were my successes. Sweet, lovable Adam was hard not to fall for, too, even when he was off gallivanting through Langford, and Evans managed to perfectly capture the bittersweet feelings of first love. Since a terrible breakup, I’ve seen my first love once more — and reading I Remember You brought on a flood of feeling.

The English town in which Adam, Tess, Leonora and many others live really comes to life here, too. Throughout the novel, a huge tension exists between the “old and the new” — the longtime residents who want nothing to change, even as a flood of tourists arrive to visit the Jane Austen Centre, and the new regime: younger people, some transplants from London, who are seeking modern amenities in a quieter setting. I loved the resolution to many of the problems that exist in the narrative, especially regarding the water meadows.

Not a novel I’ll forget anytime soon — and one that has me itching even more than usual to tromp around an English village. And if Tess and Adam were there to greet me, more the better. ( )
1 stem writemeg | Sep 27, 2010 |
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When my life is through
And the angels ask me to recall
The thrill of it all
Then I will tell them I remember you.
"I Remember You," lyrics by Johnny Mercer
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For the Don, my wonderful dad Phil, with all my love
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Spring had arrived in Langford early that year.
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'Sometimes it's harder to watch and be powerless than to be in the eye of the storm,' Liz said firmly. 'At least you know where you are when you're in the eye of the storm.' Tess stared at her, a frown creasing her forehead. 'Being on the sidelines, watching someone and not being able to help that, if you truly love them -- that's hard.'
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British college professor Tess Tennant takes her students on a trip to Rome, where a charming American reporter gives her a romantic tour of the city, until a tragedy causes her past and present to collide.

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