Read The Memory of Lost Senses by Judith Kinghorn Online


An absorbing, evocative and rich period drama of buried secrets and lost love.When a mysterious countess arrives late in life to live at a large, deserted house on the edge of a sleepy Hampshire village, the local tongues start wagging. No one is more intrigued than Cecily Chadwick, idling away the long, hot summer of 1911 with nothing much to do. Cecily is fascinated by tAn absorbing, evocative and rich period drama of buried secrets and lost love.When a mysterious countess arrives late in life to live at a large, deserted house on the edge of a sleepy Hampshire village, the local tongues start wagging. No one is more intrigued than Cecily Chadwick, idling away the long, hot summer of 1911 with nothing much to do. Cecily is fascinated by the exotic elderly lady and, as she gets to know her, is riveted by her tales of expatriate life on the continent, and of whom she once knew. But the countess is troubled: by her memories, her name, and by anonymous threats to reveal a ruinous secret... It is, she has decided, up to her close friend, a successful novelist who has come to stay for the summer, to put the record straight. For aspiring writer Cecily, the novelist's presence only adds to the intrigue and pull of the house. But it is the countess's grandson, Jack, his unanswered questions about his grandmother's past and his desire to know the truth, that draw Cecily further into the tangled web of the countess's life, and the place known as Temple Hill....

Title : The Memory of Lost Senses
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780755386017
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 448 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Memory of Lost Senses Reviews

  • Moonlight Reader
    2019-03-10 06:30

    I really loved Judith Kinghorn's first novel, The Last Summer, so I was really excited about this one. However, it simply didn't work for me.Don't get me wrong - the writing is very, very good. Kinghorn's writing is clean and her descriptions are pleasing. There is nothing really bad about this book. I struggled with the characters, however, and was never able to emotionally invest in them. Had I not needed this book to fulfill a block on a challenge, I would've dnf'd at the midpoint because I was, quite simply, bored senseless. The pacing was a problem for me - by page 205, I still felt like I was waiting for something interesting to happen that was going to capture my attention. Bear in mind that I am a person who cheerfully reads Victorian fiction, so this isn't a problem with a modern mind that has been spoiled by nonstop action. I love to invest myself in long, even at times meandering, tales that dig deep into characters. For whatever reason, I just couldn't get there with this book. I skimmed the final 200 pages and finished with a sense of disappointed possibility.I will absolutely continue to read Kinghorn's books. She writes well, and in a historical period that I adore. But, overall, this one was a miss.

  • Lindsay
    2019-03-16 05:43

    ‘When the journey ended, this was all one was left with, memories.’I absolutely adored Judith Kinghorn’s debut novel The Last Summer, it was one of my favourite books of 2012, I felt very emotionally involved in that wonderful story of Clarissa and Tom, and I still clearly remember the weekend I sat reading it, and the bereft feeling on finishing it. I was therefore eagerly anticipating the arrival of this second book, and I was also a little nervous; will I enjoy this one as much, will the story grab hold of me, will the writing be as good? I am pleased to say that the answers were yes, yes and yes.This is a beautifully written novel that took me back in time again to early in the twentieth century, to places and a period which are vividly evoked and introduced me to fascinating characters whose lives I was enthralled by.A mysterious elderly lady, a countess in fact, arrives to take up residence in a quiet Hampshire village, and everyone is curious as to her identity and her past. Cecily Chadwick is one such curious neighbour of the countess, eager to find out more about the life of this enigmatic lady who has lived abroad for so many years. Cecily is attracted by this life and keen to hear about Cora’s experiences. However Cora is troubled by threats she has received, and by her memories. Her close and dear friend Sylvia, a novelist, joins her in Hampshire and endeavours to compile a more detailed account of Cora’s past to become her memoirs. The challenge of this process of thinking back over things is acknowledged; 'Sometimes it's not easy to revisit the past. It involves confronting everything we've done and said, all our actions, mistakes, and regrets.'This is a novel about love, intrigue, memory, mystery and truth. It asks, can we rely on our memories? Place is very important in this story; both Hampshire and also Rome, the expatriate life there, and places within the story are intensely realised, as is the way in which places can offer 'a kind of freedom, and the chance to be whoever one wished to be,' as Cora speaks about Rome. Indeed she entrances Cecily with her strong recollections of her life in Rome: 'And behind every doorway, no matter how humble, were masterpieces, friezes depicting ancient stories, magnificent frescoes, statues, intricate mosaics and richly marbled floors. Every window and balcony overlooked the antiquities, like one's own museum, one's very own art gallery. It felt to me like the centre of the world. And of course it had been, once. Everywhere one looked were relics, history and art, stupendous art. How could one fail to be inspired in such a place? All of it shaped me, who I am, and like those I have loved, it remains here,' she said, placing her palm flat upon her chest. 'It lives within me...that place.' And how could it not? Cecily thought.'From the start, the clever structure hints at mysteries. There are secrets hidden in Cora’s past which her grandson Jack, staying with her now, wishes to uncover, to know more about his family’s past. The emotions stirred by the past, and the nature of memories, run throughout the novel. The author illustrates through Cora a keen understanding of the acute pain of joy and sadness deep within our pasts, and how, when we think about the events and feelings in our pasts, it can be overwhelming:'Numbness had come with old age, but to her bones, not to her heart. And though in public she was careful to keep her emotions in check, to maintain - or try to maintain - a ready smile, a relaxed countenance, in quiet, solitary moments, moments of reflection, and often when least expecting it, she was sometimes plunged under, submerged, left gasping for breath; drowning in a great swell of sorrow and joy and pain and rapture. And it was this, the memory of senses and sensations, that made her weep.'The quandary with me when reading this book, one that I think other readers will identify with when it comes to a new book by a favourite writer, was that part of me wanted to read it as quickly as I could, to devour it greedily because I couldn’t wait, and part of me wanted to take my time in reading, to savour it; having waited with excitement to read it, I didn’t want to rush it. The prose has a lyrical quality; there were many passages I savoured as I read.Judith Kinghorn is now very high up on my list of authors that I know I can trust to skillfully create another world on the page for me to venture to and become ensconced in, always with a compelling, beautifully written tale to tell, a gorgeous use of language, with characters I love and relationships that are certain to intrigue me. Definitely recommended; settle yourself in a comfy chair and be captivated by this lovely period story. As with The Last Summer, this is certainly a book that I will keep on my shelves and return to one day.

  • Holly
    2019-03-05 01:34

    Not as enjoyable for me as "The Last Summer". I just couldn't connect to any of the characters. I felt like I was kept at arm's length from them the entire time. I wanted more from Cecily and Jack, I really liked their story, but I didn't get much from them. So that was disappointing. There was this underlying mystery about Cora but I thought it was a little obvious throughout so by the end of the story I wasn't really surprised. It was still beautifully written at times, although, at other times I found it to be tedious. I really like this author's style so I can't wait to read her next book.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-06 01:27

    This review is from my blog: about The Memory of Lost Senses says 'read me'. The cover art is beautiful, evoking days past, with lush colour tinged with melancholy. The sundial in the centre of the fountain tells of time passing; rippling water disturbs the tranquility. Normally I might not dwell on a cover so long, but this one speaks of the story inside so much. Most of the narrative is told from 1911, as two old friends meet up to reminisce about their younger selves. But there is also a story happening at that very moment too, one that takes us forward. At the heart of all these stories is Cora, an ex-pat happier in Rome or Paris but now returned finally to England. To Temple Hill in the heart of the English countryside. Cora is an enigma to the villagers, a stranger with an air of the exotic and mysterious. She certainly harbours a great many secrets about her life.It is those secrets that Sylvia has come to mine. An author, she has been piecing together Cora's life story for decades from the fragments Cora has divulged. Now, at last, Cora has sent for her, and their work together can begin in earnest. Sylvia adores Cora, a little too much perhaps, and her constant questioning makes Cora retreat into her memories rather than share them. The theme of memory is vital. Sylvia wants Cora's true memories, to record for posterity, but also because she wants to be the recipient of them. It will confirm her importance as Cora's one true and enduring friend. But Cora has lived many versions of her life and now finds it hard to be certain of the right sequence and of the real from the invented. Some memories act as a place of refuge for her, those perfect moments she relives again and again. Others, more painful, more difficult, older memories try to make themselves known. She sometimes inhabits a chaotic muddle of dreams, day-dreams, and memories.Sylvia accepts the evasions and snubs, but Cora's relationship with local girl Cecily is too much to bear. She resents the immediate closeness between Cora and Cecily, and the budding romance between Cecily and Jack, Cora's grandson. Just like before, Cora has someone more important in her life than Sylvia. Then it was George, rising artist and centre of Cora's world. There are plenty of secrets to discover about that relationship; some of them Sylvia's. There is a tantalising menacing edge to Sylvia's adoration of Cora.It isn't the only menace in this story. There is a short pre-prologue, of an event from the long past. A child running from some horror in the dead of night, trying to keep quiet. It's a powerful opening with a huge amount of suspense and fear. So much is packed into that small piece. We move straight to 1923, where Sylvia is looking at a torn photograph. She's half-remembering two different events, but having trouble keeping it all straight now. These two openers set me up perfectly for the rest of the book - they introduce the secrets, evasions, and slippery memories that fill this wonderful story.Judith Kinghorn is a natural storyteller. I was truly captivated from the start, and didn't want to stop reading until I'd reached the end. I felt in the period, in that long long summer of the early twentieth century before the Great War, and then in its aftermath, still be felt five years later. It is a story to take you away and let you live somewhere else for a while. I just loved it.

  • Maya Panika
    2019-02-27 05:53

    The Memory of Lost Senses is a very inviting book, with its beautiful emerald cover and intriguing blurb. It’s rather slow in the beginning, the early chapters leap jarringly through time and space and point of view, but eventually the style settles down and a captivating story emerges – Cora’s story: an elderly countess, English by birth, she has spent most of her life in Paris and Rome. Cora swore she would never return to England, yet here she is, living in the quiet Hampshire village of Bramley, in a beautiful house, built for her by one of her many husbands – or so the gossip goes in the village, which has never seen anyone quite so exotic or mysterious, as Cora, the Countess de Chevalier de Saint Leger.The Memory of Lost Senses is a novel all about memory, how memory informs us, how we are our memories: change the memory and you change the life, especially when there is no one left alive who knows the real truth, not even yourself. Cora’s memories are as fluid as the life she’s led. Her life is a self-penned myth, one she wrote as she fled from her past to a new life in Italy, then France, then Italy again. Always on the move and constantly reinventing herself, hiding from a past that she has buried under layers of lies. The only person whose knowledge comes close to the truth is Cora’s friend Sylvia, and even she doesn’t know it all. Charged with writing Cora’s memoirs, Sylvia finds herself waging a constant battle with her friend’s refusal to be interviewed or even speak about the past except through well-worn stories of questionable veracity. Does Sylvia need to ask so many questions? She’s spent her life writing about Cora, she already knows everything Cora is willing to give up - and more. An elderly virgin authoress, in love with her subject, the writer of dozens of imaginary romances, all, without exception, based on her friend’s life… Or is that the wrong way round? So much of Cora’s life is an invention, so much of it informs the lives of Sylvia’s characters, is the Cora the world knows already little more than Sylvia’s invention?It’s a question this novel repeatedly asks: who is the author, who is the subject? Ghosts real and imaginary haunt the living and history seems destined to continually repeat itself through the generations as stories twist back on themselves as we journey through time and memory - through the long, hot days of the scorching summer of 1911.Back then, through seventy years of Cora’s life. Finally forward to 1923, to an England slowly recovering from the horrors of The Great War.The Memory of Lost Senses is a complex tale, attractively detailed and beautifully woven; a perfect summer read for warm days in the garden with a tall glass of Pimms.

  • Teresa
    2019-03-05 00:41

    Having enjoyed Judith Kinghorn's debut novel The Last Summer I eagerly anticipated her second novel The Memory of Lost Senses published by Headline on 23rd May. Whilst it is quite different, structurally, from her first novel, it retains that intensity, that evocative heart which characterised her first novel.It's a novel about first love, sacrifice, intrigue and in particular the role of memory in shaping and refashioning our lives. The mysterious Countess at the centre of our story seems to have undergone a variety of metamorphises in the course of her eventful life - the exoticism of an expatriate lifestyle in Paris and Rome seems at odds with her final resting place, a sleepy Hampshire village. Does anyone know the real woman? Her closest friend, the novelist Sylvia, feels snubbed when young Cecily Chadwick is drawn into the Countess' confidence but the long hot summer of 1911 takes its toll on the elderly lady's memory or does she just want to forget the murkier scenes of her past?The narrative takes a while to get going but do persevere and you are in for a treat. The author has a wonderful sense of place - from the small-town feel of Rome in the mid 19th century to the intensity of village life in rural Hampshire in 1911 where everyone knows everyone else's business. Countess Cora is a fascinating creature with so many anecdotes to tell that it is difficult to tell the difference between truth and fiction. Sylvia seems so lacklustre in comparison but you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her! Likewise, Cecily is not quite so demure as she first appears and her ambitions stretch way beyond the village boundaries. Yes, there are some male characters but the female of the species tends to dominate...After a slightly shaky start, I was soon engrossed in the lives of these Edwardian ladies, swept along by the ebb and flow of Cora's memories. A very thoughtful, evocative story which would make a marvellous film as would its predecessor.

  • Swati
    2019-03-14 01:40

    Cora is a mysterious countess who is back in a small village of England after living quite a life in Paris and Rome. All she has brought with her are a past she wants no one to know and the memories of love and a lover which are so dear to her heart. Despite of taking a vow that she will never live in England something has happened which has forced her to change her decision and move back here. She has arrived in England with her best friend Sylvia who is keen to know every little detail about Cora's life in order to pen down the memoir of her friend's unusual life and her grandson Jack who knows absolutely nothing about his own family. Cora is the talk of the town. Everyone wants to know about her and so does a charming young lady Cecily Chadwick. Cecily is in awe of Jack and when Jack invited her for tea at his home Cecily found herself mesmerized by Cora and not so long after the story of Cora has started to unfold in front of her. Things have changed and now Cecily is little bit more closer to Cora than Sylvia. This is not something which Sylvia can take lightly. She is angry, upset and jealous. Once close friends are drifting apart. Amidst of all the drama nobody knows the real reason behind Cora’s arrival in England. It’s a story of one woman’s unconditional love and unbelievable loss. The book has started a bit slow but within few chapters it made me so curious to know about Cora’s secrets that I found it painfully hard to put it down. Beautiful story, strong characters, mysteries and the secrets, life-long relationship, love so true and loss so tragic, all the things made this book a must read.

  • Karen
    2019-03-16 07:48

    I did find this a little slow to get into at first and sometimes found the various husbands and the timeline a little confusing but I'm glad I persevered. The aspects of regrets, circumstance and lost love are much to the fore in this story. The story begins in 1911 when a mysterious Countess, Countess Cora de Chevalier de Saint Léger returns to the village to live after spending much of her life abroad. Cora has led a colourful expatriate life in Rome and Paris but has returned to England, with some reluctance, to be with her only remaining relative, her young grandson Jack. Jack knows little of his grandmother's life and is keen to know more about his family but is Cora ready to tell him? Jack's friendship with a village girl adds another strand to the story and causes conflict with some of those closest to Cora. For a large part of the story, the reader is teased by hints of a big secret of Cora's which she is keen to keep hidden. The lines between fact and fiction in Cora's recollections become blurred as Cora becomes increasingly confused and her memories unreliable. I was most interested in the latter part of the book where it skips forward to 1923. In comparison to parts of the earlier story, this moves along at a pace. This story is very much character driven and although at times it does seem to move very slowly, it is well worth carrying on whilst the back story is being explained. The characters are extremely well written and there is a wonderful sense of place, whether in Rome or in the English countryside. I haven't yet read the author's previous book, The Last Summer but look forward to doing so.

  • Tracey
    2019-03-07 03:28

    I was sent a free advance copy of this book to review for book starts in the summer of 1911 when we are introduced to an elderly countess, Cora, with a mysterious past who has just returned to her native England. The story weaves back and forward in time, giving hints of Cora’s secrets whilst never being quite clear which version is true. Cora asks Sylvia, a famous author and one of her oldest friends, to write her memoirs for her. There are suggestions of blackmail, betrayal and unrequited love which we hope that Sylvia will help unravel but Cora keeps changing her mind about what she will reveal and, eventually, sends Sylvia away.This novel is beautifully written with wonderfully evocative descriptions and some lovely touches but somehow I never quite connected with the characters. Cora’s grandson, Jack, and his new ‘beau’, village girl Cecily, make only brief appearances so they are never really brought to life. The reader is meant to be intrigued by the story and desperate to know what really happened to the individual characters but, by the end, I was just mildly interested. I’m sure that lots of people will really enjoy this book but it just didn’t grip me in the way I hoped it would.

  • Megan
    2019-03-24 07:25

    This was a disappointing read. Bad writing and muddled confused characters (some intentional confusion and some due to the writing) made for a very frustrating read. The ending wasn’t horrible which saved the book from a one star rating. Not worth reading! 2 stars

  • Renita D'Silva
    2019-03-20 06:27

    Loved this! Beautiful and evocative.

  • Tracey
    2019-03-07 02:26

    a rather staid read, i truly feel that i didn't get to know the characters .

  • Joanne D'Arcy
    2019-03-02 06:33

    Who is Cora? What is her story? What is currently known about her story? What is the mystery behind her? Does anyone know the whole truth? These are questions which within the first few pages of The Memory of Lost Senses come to mind. Quickly you are drawn in to the intrigue and you have to keep reading for the answers.Sylvia says she knows the whole truth. But does she? She has lived in a fantasy world as much as Cora. Then along comes a bright young thing called Cecily Chadwick enamoured by Cora's grandson Jack. All of a sudden the true story changes again and it is Cecily who is nearly at the truth, perhaps she's starting to find out exactly who Cora is."Secrets are quite often beautiful in themselves, you know. We should all keep a part of ourselves for only us to own. We must never share the essence of who we truly are, for then we are lost, well and truly lost".What you don't know initially as you read on is why Cora does not want Jack to know the truth about his grandmother. As the story starts to unfold, like a flower coming into bloom, brightening our day and then slowly closing and dying for another time, as readers we learn this is simply the story of Cora. How she came to where she was. How she got to where she was and how she ceremoniously could have fallen from grace from a very early age and taken many different paths in life. Coupled with the intense heat of the summer of 1911 which take Cora and the reader back to the smells and the sights of Rome and Paris in the past as well as the house in the Hampshire village.Sylvia is the opposite to Cora; seemingly hanging on her coattails for all of her life after a friendship is forged when they are young. Still Sylvia is determined to get to the bottom of the truth to get to the true Cora. Cora has other ideas regarding Sylvia as she seems suddenly rather tired of Sylvia's presence and insistence of going over the past. Something about Sylvia is sinister and the infatuation is strange, even down to Sylvia's novels being based on Cora's life. It is when Cecily appears that Sylvia's friendship with Cora is tested and the real truth is acknowledged in a very different way. It is up to the reader to decide on the real Sylvia at this point and not Cora.All of the mysteries in this story run throughout. They crossover continents, decades, friendships and relationships and culminate in a conclusion some 12 years later in 1923. Everyone has changed, the world has changed and perhaps once Cora and her story have died, her past will finally become clearer and the future subsequently brighter. Cecily thinking about Cora:"And yet so much of life remained an enigma, even to Jack. But perhaps it was this, Cecily thought, perhaps it was the not knowing which allowed others, including herself, to imagine and fill in the gaps. In fact, they only added to the intrigue.".How can I define such a novel? This is a romance. This is a mystery. This is the story of intrigue. This is a story of heat affecting somebody's mind and is perhaps a reflection that the truth is sometimes best left to the memory and the real truth best left to the past. There is only one way to find out - read this novel. It will intrigue you I am sure.

  • Cameran
    2019-02-28 03:26

    After a grand life lived on the Continent, an aged countess returns to the land of her birth and settles down on an estate in a small country village. She brings with her a life remarked upon as full of scandal with her numerous marriages and the life she lived abroad, and now that she is with her grandson Cora decides it is time to set the record straight about her past with a written memoir. But how can Cora’s oldest friend, Sylvia, who has been by her side through much of her life, write this memoir when the subject refuses to look back into the past and tell it how it truly was? In the face of so much change and familiarity, Cora has become lost in her memories and what to reveal to not only the world, but to the most important person she has left: her grandson, Jack. At its center The Memory of Lost Senses is a book about how survival can be achieved through reinvention. Due to hardships in her childhood, Cora was forced to flee from England with her aunt to reside in Italy under different names. With the new names came the need to craft new identities, and because she goes on to face loss numerous times in her life Cora becomes better and better at separating the truth of her past from the fictional and often times delusional lies she must tell. If there is one thing I can advise for fellow readers of this novel it is to never completely trust what you have heard from any of the main characters. Cora’s memories have been manipulated via herself or via Sylvia, while Sylvia is so unaware of the truth she is not to be trusted much either. Age of the characters could have something to do with this yet I will take it to be a commentary on how lies can not sustain a person to reach the happy ending they so desperately wish to have been.This book reads like a memory, slow and languid in its pace. It is not possible to rush through this book; nor would I understand why anyone would do so when encountered with such beautiful language. Judith Kinghorn’s prose is remarkable with the power to fuse delusion and truth. I leave this book in the same mind space as many of the characters: I am left to wonder who is the subject and who is the author… Enigmatic all the way through, I somehow do not feel frustrated with the unresolved since I feel it lends itself well to the prevalent themes. I don’t think this book is for everybody, but I enjoyed it.

  • Carolyn Hill
    2019-03-17 07:53

    Though this book is well written and evocative, it never goes anywhere slowly. The mystery centers around Cora, an elderly countess who has returned to England after a lifetime abroad. The year is 1911 and the setting a small backwater English village. The countess Cora with her knowledge of art, literature, and politics, and her house full of European treasures are fascinating to her young neighbor Cecily Chadwick, but it is her grandson who Cecily finds irresistible. Cora's life remains an enigma, for it seems Cora has created different versions, and no one knows the full truth of it, even Sylvia her oldest friend who comes to write Cora's memoirs. But Cora is having second thoughts about revealing her past. At the heart of her story is a passionate love affair with a famous painter. Sylvia knows of this and jealously disapproved, but wants to probe deeper into the mystery of Cora's childhood. Most all of the action in this novel is in the past, but it is given so choppily in dribs and drabs in Cora's reminiscing with little context or chronology that it loses any sense of immediacy. The only story in 'real time' involves Cecily and Cora's grandson Jack, but there's not a whole lot happening there until the end of the book. I was struck by an observance of Cecily's that seemed to sum up my impression of the book in total: "Oh, Cora had confided to an extent, she had told Cecily a few of her secrets, but without any context or chronology these things meant little. In fact, they only added to the intrigue." However, I would assert that one gets weary of the intrigue when it's confusing and with little enough to go on, and in the big reveal at the end it felt not particularly surprising and rather not worth all the build-up. Two and a half stars.

  • Cleo Bannister
    2019-03-22 04:39

    Cora, Countess de Chevalier de Saint Léger, now an old lady has returned to England in the long hot summer of 1911. Cora has spent the previous sixty years in Paris and Rome visiting `home' only occasionally. Having been urged when she left England's shores by her Aunt Frances to look forwards and never back there is clearly a secret to be discovered the question is that will Cora ever reveal what it is?I enjoyed the writing in this book, loved the descriptions of the small rural village of Bramley during 1911 when a young neighbour Cecily Chadwick is entranced by Cora's only relative, her grandson, Jack. Unfortunately by the end of the 372 pages of being drip-fed tit bits of information about Cora's husbands, lovers, children and friends and enemies I no longer cared about the secret as I didn't care about Cora. I thought the most interesting and realistically drawn character was Sylvia, Cora's oldest friend, who was in Bramley to write her memoirs.This is a story about loss, Cora had one great passion in her life that was never fulfilled and her memory was clouded by the re-writing of her history which meant that the stories she had told over the years had to be unpicked to reveal the beginning. The nature of this tale means that there is a lot of flitting backwards and forwards over the years, Judith Kinghorn handled this well which meant that it was easy to follow the storyline. I'm sure I would have enjoyed this book more if I had some sympathy for Cora but she never really came to life for me.

  • Anne
    2019-03-04 06:30

    I began reading this lovely book on our hottest day of the year so far, sitting in the garden, and it was the perfect setting in which to savour it. Cora, a countess with a complicated romantic history, who having moved around Europe after a mysterious departure from England in her youth, moves to live in the grand house at Temple Hill in the hot summer of 1911, and is the subject of immense curiosity of her neighbours. Her grandson Jack lives with her, and is the subject of interest to the local young females. Sylvia, her long time friend, joins the household to write Cora’s memoirs – should Cora ever engage fully. This is a story of love, passion and memories – often unreliable – beautifully told with an effortless languorous feel as the history (and drama) unfolds. Others have called it a page turner – I’d disagree on that, but I was quite mesmerised by the wonderful descriptions, particularly of the settings from Cora’s past. This is a novel in which to immerse yourself, to reflect on the memories and imaginings, truths and otherwise – a book to feel and experience, with a story that slowly falls into place as you read. Not one for everybody, but I loved it.

  • Herta Feely
    2019-03-16 07:42

    The Memory of Lost Senses is an entirely enjoyable, page-turning read. If you love mystery romances set in another era and locale (in this case early 1900s in the English countryside and also Italy and France), then you’ll adore this. Author Judith Kinghorn doles out tons of mystery—exactly what were the circumstances surrounding the Contessa as a child, and what happened to her great love affair, which leads us to ask: exactly who is related to whom; is her writer friend Sylvia, who plans to write the Contessa's memoir, really her friend; and, finally, what will happen to the innocent and budding romance between the Contessa’s handsome grandson and one of the clever village girls? You’ll discover the answers to these questions, and much more, but pay close attention, because there are countless twists and turns, as many as in a typical footpath that winds through Rome!

  • Helen
    2019-03-07 01:33

    This book is pure escapism and I loved every page of it. I enjoyed The Last Summer but I have to say this one really blew me away. The descriptions are stunningly evocative and the writer builds a thrilling sense of suspense as you read on. Without wishing to give too much away, I loved the unexpected twists in the plot - it certainly kept me guessing right until I turned the last page. The way the writer does this is very subtle and skilful. Though I finished the book the other day, I find myself thinking about the characters and the way the writer introduces and develops them. The Memory of Lost Senses confirms to me what a wonderfully skilful and imaginative writer Judith Kinghorn is. Can't wait for the next book!

  • Lindsey
    2019-03-07 05:44

    One of my favorite things about Judith Kinghorn’s writing is simply that – her writing. It is just so evocative of a time and a place long forgotten, and I feel myself falling into the worlds and stories she creates so much more than with some other authors I’ve read. Memory of Lost Senses was no exception. It’s almost as though there is a slight breeze pulling you through the book, page to page, chapter to chapter.Read my full review at Bring My Books!

  • Sue
    2019-02-22 04:48

    The sort of book you can lose yourself in. Lots of detail of turn of the century Paris and Rome, and the Hampshire countryside pre-war. Tale of love and loss, betrayal and steadfastness. Loved it.

  • Stephen
    2019-03-12 06:34

    easy going read and how people can re invent themselves based in southern England just years before and after WW1 and back in late 19th century in europe

  • Sandra McKenna
    2019-03-14 23:26

    This is such a brilliant read! Moving to and from between the late 19th Century and 1923; it is about secrets, lies, blackmail and enduring love.It is is well written and a real page turner.Judith Kinghorn is an incredible story teller.

  • Karen
    2019-02-24 06:43

    Very slow read. OK story. Not one of my favorites.

  • Colleen Turner
    2019-03-09 01:23

    I reviewed this book for, the Countess de Chevalier de Saint Leger Lawson, swore decades ago that she would never return to England, the land of her birth. Having left England behind as a child to accompany her aunt to Rome so they could start a new life, Cora has lived the glamorous, somewhat mysterious life of an expatriate traveling throughout Europe, dividing her time primarily between France and Italy: she has been the muse of artists; she has loved deeply and lost much; she has molded her own life into the story she wanted it to be. It is only when Cora’s last surviving relative, her grandson Jack, loses his mother in 1911 that she decides to finally go back to England. Having always kept her private life private, Cora hopes to finally tell Jack the true story of his family, something she has never told anyone and, now reaching the end of her life, has trouble at times remembering herself.Upon her arrival in the small English village of Bramley, Cora soon finds that her reputation precedes her. The village gossips have written her life to be even more scintillating than the truth and enchant one young woman, Cecily Chadwick, into hoping to learn more about the many adventures of this fascinating woman. But Cora’s companion, Sylvia, a successful writer who has known Cora since her early days in Rome and who is quite possessive of Cora and her story, is quick to discourage Cora from interacting with Cecily and begins filling in the holes of what she already knows about Cora herself under the guise of writing Cora’s memoirs.Cora has long lived secure within the various versions of her life floating about, most only hinting at the truth. But as the ghosts of her past continue to get closer the longer she lives in Bramley, as a sweet new love between Jack and Cecily begins before her eyes, reminding her of a love she had so long ago, as Sylvia’s insistent questions open up new pathways in Cora’s memories and as the walls she has put up within her mind begin to crumble with age, Cora will have to face the facts of her life – horrendous as some parts are – head on before it is too late to let that truth be known.The Memory of Lost Senses is a compelling story dealing with the many ways our memory of events can be altered over time from what really happened and how we use these various mental safeguards to survive. As the story unfolds it becomes quite apparent that Cora’s history holds some devastating secrets and the tiny hints dropped about as Cora fights to keep her story from completely unraveling are delicious. Sylvia’s fabrication of the past, which she continually states is to protect Cora, shows how someone can consciously alter what they remember in order to protect themselves and justify their actions. The idea that our minds can also subconsciously hide traumatic memories from our conscious mind for survival is engrossing. This ends up not only being something Cora struggles with but Jack as well after he is involved in a horrible accident during WWI and ends up losing his memory of most of his past. I have long been fascinated with the coping mechanisms of the mind and The Memory of Lost Senses deals with so many of them.The Memory of Lost Senses has so much to offer any reader. Combining what is discussed above with a look at history from the perspectives of a compelling, well traveled woman coming to the end of her life, a young, modern woman just beginning hers as the world around her continues to change and a young man thrust into war without fully realizing what that involves, it is a look at history unlike any other I have read before. Judith Kinghorn has become a writer I can’t get enough of.

  • Rhi
    2019-02-27 01:29

    Memory. What is it? How much can we depend on it for truth? Who dictates what it's made of, and how can the deception of a moment forever influence the perception of a lifetime? What are you left with when you build a life of lies, inventing days, events, entire decades? And who has the right to it's secrets?Judith Kinghorn proved her writing prowess in The Last Summer, and she returns to the emotion-heavy transitional period before World War I. While there is a poignant romance that plays a strong role in the plot, the focus falls on the unreliable history of an elderly lady of the old order. Cora de Chevalier de St. Leger lived a life filled with more sparkle and glamor than a fairy princess. She was the toast of the Continent and maintained her dominance within the high society of Paris and Rome right through her later years. And when she returns to England for the last time the village people are enamored of her charm and the air of a glorious history draped about her like a heady perfume. But there are a few who notice the wrinkles in her stories, and one reaches out to find the truth.Cecily Chadwick wants so much more than the staid, passionless life of the quiet English countryside. When the handsome Jack Staunton draws her into his orbit she senses a chance to grasp not only love, but the excitement she craves. When he introduces her to his grandmother, though, Cecily discovers the mystery which will become the axis upon which all of their worlds will circle upon: who is this lady and what is the truth beneath the stories of bright ballrooms, French castles, and balmy summers spent in palatial villas. What is the key to unlocking the puzzle of Cora's memories, a series of seeming-fantasies?Wedged in the very heart of the contention between honesty and fairytale is Cora's long-time friend, Sylvia. She was there almost from the first. She knows much of the story first-hand ... but not all. Obsessed with learning the reality of her friend's life, Sylvia refuses to allow anything to stand in her way. She doesn't hesitate to lock horns with Cecily, whom she views as a rival for Cora's affection and confidence, and even her relationship with the elderly countess comes up short when weighed against unearthing what she seeks. She proves to have been the author of one of the greatest lies which dictated Cora's chances of happiness in the end.Nearly epic in scope and fearlessly plunging the depths of human consciousness, Kinghorn has crafted a nuanced tale of love. Not just romantic love, but the devotion between friends -- a tie which can be as destructive as it is strong. The love of individual history, a past immaculate in its cherished creativity. A love for truth, even if it is not yours to discover. She demands us to consider just what the nature of that which is called "history," and our own role in crafting it.Where Kinghorn fell short was the way in which she transitioned from past to present within a scene. It is very dramatic to have that dynamic to the story, but it was executed poorly. The story's strengths far out-distance its failing, however, and the characters we spend such a brief time with shine as a memory as rich and delightful as any Cora invented. I can't help but wonder what Kinghorn will treat us to next. She is quickly establishing a reign of glory over the portion of historical fiction dealing with the English during The Great War. Bravo!

  • dubh
    2019-03-21 02:34

    Cora, von allen "Contessa" genannt, und die Schriftstellerin Sylvia sind seit langer Zeit sehr gute Freundinnen. So ist es nicht weiter verwunderlich, dass Sylvia über das geheimnisvolle Leben von Cora ein Buch schreiben möchte und die betagte Dame zustimmt.Doch als Cora auf dem verlassenen Anwesen Temple Hill ankommt, sind alle in Aufruhr. Besonders eine junge Nachbarin namens Cecily Chadwick und dies beruht bald auf Gegenseitigkeit: denn kaum ist Sylvia ebenfalls auf Temple Hill angekommen, bricht die alte Dame ihr Versprechen, mauert plötzlich gegenüber ihrer Freundin und erzählt stattdessen Cecily allerhand aus ihrem Leben.Die junge Frau ist aber nicht nur an Cora interessiert, sondern auch an deren Enkel, dem ausgesprochen attraktiven Jack. Als dieser ihre Gefühle zu erwidern scheint, träumt Cecily vom prickelndsten Sommer ihres Lebens - voller Abenteuer und Schmetterlinge im Bauch...Zugegebenermaßen ist dies mein erstes Buch von Judith Kinghorn, da ich aber ab und an gerne Romane lese, die von Geheimnissen handeln, die meist auf (ehemals) prunkvollen Anwesen spielen, in (scheinbar) mit allerhand Luxus gesegneten Familien. Besonders wenn diese Geheimnisse sich über Generationen oder eine sehr interessante Zeitspanne spannen... Und Anfang des letzten Jahrhunderts bis weit in die goldenen 1920er zählt für mich zu einer der interessantesten Zeitspannen. Von daher passte das Buch prima in mein "Beuteschema" und versprach einige wunderbare Lesestunden auf dem Sofa - im Winter für mich eine herrliche Vorstellung.Doch leider entpuppten sich schon bald die ersten Probleme: die Figuren waren und blieben mir allesamt fremd, weil ich einfach nicht mit ihnen warm wurde. Dialoge blieben an der Oberfläche, die Charaktere wurden angerissen, aber es fehlte ihnen in meinen Augen an Tiefe. Aber nicht nur das, was noch viel schlimmer war: der Roman zog sich ziemlich in die Länge, gerade die Bruchstücke aus Coras Erinnerung und die ersten Szenen zwischen Cecily und Jack zogen sich unwahrscheinlich dahin. Bitte nicht falsch verstehen: wenn ich beispielsweise ein literarisches Buch lese, kann ich mich durchaus auch einmal "abarbeiten" - aber bei einem solchen Roman, den ich als Schmöker einstufe, erwarte ich irgendwie, dass die Lektüre „flutscht“, ich vom Alltag abgelenkt werde und mich auch atmosphärisch gut unterhalten fühle. Wenn ich mich aber abmühen muss, macht es mir unter Umständen rasch keinen Spaß mehr und dann fällt es mir zunehmend schwer, überhaupt dabei zu bleiben. So habe ich mich bei 'Das Erbe von Temple Hill' mehrfach dabei ertappt, dass ich beim Lesen abgeschweift bin und mich anschließend an etliche Seiten nicht mehr erinnern konnte.Zum Ende tut sich dann noch Einiges - das Lüften der Geheimnisse um Cora war wieder einigermaßen interessant, aber wenn ich ehrlich bin, hätte ich dies im Grunde fast nicht erfahren, da ich nicht nur einmal überlegt habe, abzubrechen.Kurzum, auch wenn es ein hartes Urteil ist: mittlerweile gibt es so viele spannende Familiengeheimnis-Romane, dass man auf diesen hier getrost verzichten kann.An dieser Stelle eine Empfehlung für einen solchen (gelungenen) Roman - ebenfalls aus dem Hause Blanvalet: 'Die Tuchvilla' von Anne Jacobs. Wenngleich dieser nicht in England spielt, so ist er spannend und sehr flüssig erzählt.

  • Nicigirl85
    2019-03-19 05:41

    Titel: Durchhaltevermögen wird belohnt…Von der Autorin habe ich bisher noch nichts gelesen, da ich aber die Zeit der Handlung sehr spannend finde, das Cover mich an Downton Abbey denken ließ und ich geheimnisvolle Bücher liebe, da musste ich einfach zu diesem Roman greifen.Im Wesentlichen geht es im Buch um Contessa Cora, die so einige Geheimnisse in sich birgt, die im Verlauf der Geschichte sehr langsam offenbart werden.Der Einstieg ins Buch fiel mir zunächst leider nicht ganz leicht. Die Autorin hat zwar eine angenehme Erzählweise, aber irgendwie kommt die Geschichte am Anfang nicht so richtig in die Gänge und es wollte erst einmal der Funke nicht überspringen. Leider ist die Handlung zu Beginn doch sehr langatmig, weist Längen auf und fordert Durchhaltevermögen vom Leser ab. Es geht erst einmal um Dinge, die gar nichts mit der eigentlichen Geschichte zu tun haben, fast hat man das Gefühl es wurden Seitenfüller benötigt.Ab der zweiten Hälfte des Romans wird es dann aber endlich spannend und man wird mit gelüfteten Geheimnissen überschüttet.Von den handelnden Charakteren ist mir persönlich keiner so recht ans Herz gewachsen. Die Mehrzahl der Personen wirkte recht blass und oberflächlich.Der Roman beschreibt die dargestellte Zeit recht gut, wahrscheinlich bin ich beim Lesen einfach mit zu hohen Erwartungen herangegangen und ich bin einfach zu sehr eingefärbt von meinen Erfahrungen mit anderen Autorinnen, die im selben Genre unterwegs sind (Lucinda Riley, Kate Morton, Heidi Rehn oder Micaela Jary).Fazit: Ein solider Roman, der durchaus gut zu unterhalten weiß, wenn man sich auf ihn einlässt. Bedingt empfehlenswert!

  • Tamara
    2019-02-24 01:31

    ★The Memory of Lost Senses - Judith Kinghorn - 3.5 stars★This is the second novel of Judith Kinghorn which I found slightly different to her first The Last Summer.This novel starts in 1911 and takes us on the journey of Countess Cora de Chevalier who has spent much of her life traveling Paris, and Italy (the continent) having vowed to never to return to England. However, despite her best intentions, we find her at Temple Hill with her only remaining living relative, grandson Jack Staunton.Cora has re-invented herself many times over the preceeding 60 years, and chooses to set the record straight via her close friend, a successful novelist Sylvia Dorland, inviting Sylvia to stay with her for the summer. No one is more intrigued by Cora's story, than Cecily Chadwick an aspiring young novelist who befriends Cora with the aim of gettkng to learn more about this intriguing lady. Simularly Jack, is wanting to untangle the web of Cora's life also.I enjoyed the time period of this novel, and watching the mystery and secrets unfold. However, I did find it a little slow in parts, with Cora and Sylvia's relationship a little wearing on the reader. I continue to have questions about Sylvia, her thought and motivations.I recommend this book to readers who enjoy beautiful English homes and landscapes, period pieces, and the unveiling of long held secrets and the impacts of the revelations.Looking forward to reading more from this author.

  • Linda Bridges
    2019-02-24 00:37

    Cora, now an elderly woman, has reluctantly returned to England following the suicide of her daughter-in-law, to be with her grandson, Jack. Taking up residence at her large estate located outside the rural village of Bramley, she has a houseguest her longtime friend, Sylvia, a novelist who is attempting to write Cora's memoirs. Meanwhile the village is quite intrigued by Cora and rumors of her past. There were how many husbands? What happened to them and how had her children died? What of her romantic expatriate life in Rome and Paris? A young woman in the village, Cecily Chadwick, becomes friends with Jack and then becomes quite close with Cora. As bits of Cora's history are revealed over time, it becomes apparent that much deception, reinvention, and downright duplicity has been involved.I absolutely adored this book. I loved the author's style of giving snippets of Cora's life and allowing the reader to try to piece it together. There are unexpected twists and turns to further tantalize. It was hard to put the book down since every time there was another bit of Cora's story revealed, the book moved on to other topics. It was hard to wait to get to the next juicy tidbit!