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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review Sarah Webb - 'The Memory Box'
Pandora Schuster lost her mother to cancer when she was just a teenager, which resulted in Pandora and her sister growing up with their father and the help of their grandmother. Now, Pandora's thirtieth birthday is nearing, when she is unexpectedly contacted by a former friend of her mother who happens to be a doctor. She tells Pandora about a breast cancer gene she might...
Published 17 months ago by Jody - "A Spoonful of Hap...

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3.0 out of 5 stars The Memory Box
3.5 stars.
I have never read Sarah Webb before, which is a shame, and I'd give my best to better myself in this matter.
"The Memory Box" is a second in a series of "Shoestrings" and this time tells a story of the older sister, Pandora. Must just admit right here that I am very intrigued about the story of Jules and will for sure get my copy soon.
Pandora...
Published 17 months ago by Agi


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review Sarah Webb - 'The Memory Box', 22 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
Pandora Schuster lost her mother to cancer when she was just a teenager, which resulted in Pandora and her sister growing up with their father and the help of their grandmother. Now, Pandora's thirtieth birthday is nearing, when she is unexpectedly contacted by a former friend of her mother who happens to be a doctor. She tells Pandora about a breast cancer gene she might have, which would increase the risk of her getting the same disease that eventually ended her mother's life. Pandora decides to take a test to see if she has the gene or not, while at the same time it makes her think about her daughter, Iris, and the father she never met, Olivier. Pandora plans a birthday weekend to Paris, to track down Olivier and convince him to play a role in Iris' life. Yet, things don't go exactly as planned, and Pandora soon finds herself back home, not only worrying about her test results, but also about her boyfriend Declan, the Shoestring club, and the question of whether to continue to make sensible decisions or to simply follow her heart...

I absolutely love the idea behind the Shoestring Club; a group of women who can't afford expensive dresses, but in order to be able to wear them after all, they share. I think this is a brilliant idea, also one that brings people with a shared passion for beautiful clothes together, and I'd love to be part of a group like this. `The Shoestring Club', which was released in 2012, is actually the first part of the Shoestring series, followed by `The Memory Box.' I didn't read the other novel, but this didn't influence the reading experience in any way. Sarah Webb explains everything and there wasn't any moment in the book when I felt like I was missing bits of the story. `The Memory Box' includes some fabulous characters, like Pandora and her entire family (I especially loved her grandmother, Bird, and little Iris), and after reading this novel I am even more excited about being able to pick up a copy of `The Shoestring Club', to discover more about some of these fascinating characters!

The idea of a memory box (in this case, Pandora's box, which is of course a great play of words) immediately spoke to me. I've always been fascinated by memories and capturing events and emotions by saving little things that remind you of that particular moment in time. The novel deals with quite some heavy and emotional things, but Sarah Webb manages to keep the tone light and pleasant. I also loved how there were different storylines; especially Alex and Markham's plotline was really enjoyable to read. Overall, `The Memory Box' is a warm and touching novel, a perfect read to help ignore the wet and colder Autumn weather that is coming up!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved every twist and turn of this story, 4 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Memory Box (Kindle Edition)
I thought this book was going to be really predicable, the title `The Memory Box' and the lead character's name, Pandora, seemed like a slight giveaway, but I was fooled! The story is much more complex, detailing Pandora's heartfelt decision to leave Paris all those years ago and whether to drag the past to the present for the sake of her daughter, Iris. Not only has Pandora got to assess her own life and the choices she made but she also seems to be caught up in everyone else's problems too.

Pandora is a kind and caring character, the type of person people take for granted and she has to put up with a lot of nonsense from Declan's ex wife -personally I would be scratching the ex's eyes out but Pandora handles the issues with grace, which makes her a really likable character that you root for. The chemistry between the characters is very clear, especially the relationship between Pandora and Olivier's mother, Bibi, as they don't always see eye-to-eye!

I loved every twist and turn of this story and really enjoyed following Pandora's journey. Have a couple of tissues on standby though as you'll find you can't help but shed a tear or two!

Reviewed by Francesca Verbeeten on behalf of BestChickLit.com
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A touching and thought provoking read, 28 Sept. 2013
By 
Sharon (Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
Pandora Schuster lost her mother to cancer when she was a teenager so she's shocked when she's contacted out of the blue by a doctor, an old friend of her mother's, asking her to make an appointment to come and see her. When she arrives she's stunned to be told that she has a 50/50 chance of carrying the cancer gene which triggers a whole myriad of emotions not least what would happen to her beloved daughter Iris were she to get ill.

Waiting for her test results fills Pandora with dread as to whether she would be around to watch her beloved daughter Iris grow up so she decides that she wants to be able to share with her precious memories so she creates a memory box filled with letters and photos of her time in Paris with her first love Olivier, Iris' father.

But she decides that this is not enough and she wants to try and find Olivier and with her thirtieth birthday approaching it seems the perfect opportunity for Pandora to arrange a trip to Paris with her sister Jules and friends and try and find him at the same time. Will her mission be successful?

Meanwhile whilst waiting for the test results which she has kept secret from everyone Pandora has other issues to deal with, where her relationship with boyfriend Declan is going, concerns about Alex, one of the members of The Shoestring Club, and what to tell her sister Jules about the test...

Last year I read the first book featuring the Schuster sisters, The Shoestring Club, which primarily featured Jules and the setting up of the exclusive dress sharing club so had been looking forward to reading The Memory Box when I heard it was going to feature the same characters even though I knew from the blurb that this one was going to be a bit more of an emotional read.

As with the previous book, we get to see the other members of the family, Jules, grandmother Bird and her dad, and friends Arietty and Rowie who all feel so familiar. We also get to find out more about the fourth member of The Shoestring Club, Alex, who we never really got to know in the first book.

I flew through this book in no time at all and found myself willing everything to turn out OK for Pandora. I really hope that we get to meet the Schuster sisters again in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A touching novel that I thoroughly enjoyed!, 13 Sept. 2013
By 
Megan ReadingInTheSunshine (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
I think the cover of The Memory Box is absolutely stunning! I love the colours and although I had never read a book by Sarah Webb before, I was very eager to start it!

Pandora lost her mother to cancer, and close to her thirtieth birthday, she is contacted by a friend of her mother's who tells her that she might have a hereditary gene, and so she gets tested. Fearing the worst, she is desperate for her ex-boyfriend and father of her nine-year-old Iris to be part of her daughter's life, and decides she wants to find him. Determined for Iris to know about her father, Pandora creates a memory box filled with letters and photos of her time spent with Olivier in Paris. And whilst she is waiting for her test results Pandora finds herself concerned about many things close to her heart - Olivier, her boyfriend Declan and her fellow members of the Shoestring Club, and whether to choose between her head or her heart...

I really enjoyed this! As i mentioned before, I hadn't read anything by Sarah before, but I love trying new authors, as you never know when you might find your new favourite book or author. I found The Memory Box was very easy to slip into, and before I knew it I was already half-way through! Sarah Webb writes wonderfully and the words flow so well that it was such a delight reading this story.

I found some of the aspects of the story very interesting, and one of these was The Shoestring Club. The Shoestring Club is a group of women who are unable to afford nice and expensive dresses on their own, so instead they share. I really liked this idea as these women are still able to have a chance to wear beautiful clothes, and I very much enjoyed reading about the friendship and the strong bond that they created.

The characters were very well written, they came to life instantly and they all had very familiar sense about them, so it felt as though I had known them for a long time. I warmed to Pandora straight away, I loved her character and I was rooting for her throughout, as well as hoping for goods news when the results came back. The Memory Box is an easy to read and touching novel that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sweet and moving novel about friendship, relationships and love, 12 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
Pandora's mother died when she was just a teenager and when close to her thirtieth birthday she's contacted by an old friend of her mother's who tells her that she may have a gene that increases her risk of getting cancer, Pandora becomes worried not so much for herself but for her own young daughter, Iris, and the possibility that she too will grow up without a mother.

Trying to plan for the unpredictable future as best as she can Pandora uses her birthday celebrations as an opportunity for a long overdue trip back to France, where she went for a few months to work as an au pair after she finished school and coincidingly conceived her daughter. Her plan is to track down Olivier, the then love of her life, to finally tell him about Iris' existence and ensure that her daughter will have at least one parent looking after her when growing up.

'The Memory Box' does not only tell the story of Pandora's search for Olivier, but it also focuses on the other members of the Shoestring Club; a group of women who, unable to afford the more expensive vintage clothes from Pandora's shop, buy exquisite pieces of designer wear together and time-share them. It is a clever way of being able to (temporary) afford a piece of clothing normally out of reach and the women also form a close bond of friendship as they ceremoniously pass on the item of choice at special Shoestring dinners.

This is the first novel by Irish author Sarah Webb I have read and so I was unfamiliar with The Shoestring Club going into this read. This was not a problem however, as the characters are so true to life that it feels as if you've known them for years even when it is closer to days, as was the case for me. And any reference made to something that happened before this particular story takes place was explained so as a reader I didn't feel lost at all having no previous knowledge about the women.

I loved the idea of "Pandora's Box". Worried that Iris will grow up without her mother being able to relay all the stories of her life to her, Pandora decides to create a box filled with mementos from the time she spent in Paris working as an au pair and falling in love with Olivier. She writes down a memory in the form of a letter to her daughter for each item she places in the box, making it a very special gift. Even if there is no risk of losing a parent far too early in life I think this is a brilliant idea for parents to give their children something unique and personal that they can cherish for the rest of their lives.

It was very easy to connect to the character of Pandora. Her fear of leaving her daughter at such a young age, coupled with the everlasting responsibility she feels for her family, and her sister Jules in particular, are very relatable. She's had so much to deal with in her life already that when she first learns about the hereditary gene you want nothing more than for her to receive some good news, at last. And so as the weeks passed by in the novel (and days for me) I was equally dreading and longing for the test results, just like the character herself.

I also want to mention Alex, another member of the Shoestring Club, and her husband Markham. I quickly fell in love with the both of them - they are incredibly sweet together! And so when Pandora started helping Alex to overcome some issues I silently cheered her on, willing Alex to take control back over her own life so she and Markie could be truly happy again.

'The Memory Box' is a sweet yet also very moving novel about friendship, relationships and love, and after finishing it I feel I've gained some wonderful new friends in the Shoestring Club members. And as a (not so) silent hint to the author I'd like to say that I look forward to reading more about them in the future!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A touching and enjoyable read, 12 Sept. 2013
By 
K. L. Beeden (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
A story encompassing the power of first love, The Memory Box follows Pandora Schuster at a difficult point in her life. On the cusp of turning thirty, she is tested for a hereditary family illness. This eye-opening process prompts Pandora to search for her ex-boyfriend and the father of her child, the deliciously named Frenchman Olivier Huppert. On a trip to Paris with her girl-friends, Pandora seeks Olivier but things do not turn out as she had hoped. With a heavy heart and the knowledge that her daughter will never know her father she begins to collate the memories of their relationship. Pandora's box stirs up emotions that challenge her and cause her to reassess her current life.

I found The Memory Box to be an easy read without being completely frivolous. Touching on cancer, bereavement, lost love, financial hardship and stepfamilies, there are a lot of women who will be able to relate to the many aspects of life conveyed in this book. Personally, I was especially affected by the emotionally charged letters throughout The Memory Box and that was where my eyes welled up with tears (although I managed to escape the snot bubbles, thankfully).

I did feel that Pandora's daughter, Iris, was portrayed as being much younger than her nine years. That was the only thing that really irked me about the book as I thought she came across as being much younger and I didn't find her a very believable character. However, I thought Pandora was real and likeable and I developed a bit of a literary crush on the idea of Olivier through Pandora's memories of him. Overall, I found the friendships, family complexities and especially the romance in The Memory Box engaging and would recommend it to fans of Cecelia Ahern, Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Memory Box, 3 Oct. 2013
This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
3.5 stars.
I have never read Sarah Webb before, which is a shame, and I'd give my best to better myself in this matter.
"The Memory Box" is a second in a series of "Shoestrings" and this time tells a story of the older sister, Pandora. Must just admit right here that I am very intrigued about the story of Jules and will for sure get my copy soon.
Pandora. She has just received a letter telling her that she can have a hereditary cancer gene and she lets herself to be tested. Then comes the long time when she waits for the result of the test and a lot of things happens in this time. she has her shop, her daughter, her family and her "Shoestring" club where she meets new people, whose subplot will be actually also important in the book. Then she wants her daughter Iris to get to know her father who lives in Paris which is not as easy as one can think. And then she has a boyfriend, who has a teenager daughter and almost ex - wife who still loves him. Pure chaos.

Pandora is not a bad character although there were moments that I thought that she is just boring. But maybe I have expected too much, she is just a normal person, like we are, and to be honest, we are also sometimes boring, right? Nevertheless, I couldn't warm to her totally. Maybe she wanted to save the world once too many? She was a nice, likeable person, she was just a little to meh for me, and there were moments that I wanted to shake her strongly and tell her, wake up, girl, and make up your mind finally. And don't let other people say what's best for you.
When some can admire the close relationship that she had with her grandmother and sister, there were also moments that I personally couldn't stand it. I am a family person, I am in touch with my parents and sisters, we can talk okay, but I am also an adult and of course, I can ask for advice but I am not going to let other people, even if it is my family, tell me what's good or what's wrong for me. And it was this case, Bird and Jules telling Pandora what they thin is the best for her. The conversations, almost like therapy, were just playing with my nerves.
The other characters were also very interesting and every one of them had their own story. Life is just not as simple as we'd like it to be! They came to life instantly, especially Jules, Pandora's sister, who is a real whirlwind, and say what you want, but Declan's story was also great. Ok, I wanted to slap him and tell him stop being such girl but on the other hand we can't just stop thinking about our families or our past just like that. The story of Alex and Markham was really touching and I am keeping my fingers crossed for them till today and I hope everything will be okay for them. Maybe a separate story for them, hmmmmm? :)))

I loved the idea of the Memory Box itself and I was slightly disappointed that we didn't get more of the letters and memories. I was hoping for much more items, much more gifts here. But I think it is absolutely lovely idea for parents to give to their children, in every circumstances.

There are some important issues in this book, like the above mentioned hereditary cancer gene and the importance of us just going to the doctor, the agoraphobia, the death of our closest and how hard it is to cope with it, finally friendship, love and family. A lot of issues, and too many descriptions and too less action for my liking. Nevertheless, it is a moving story and I am really glad I have got the chance to read this book.

I received a copy of this book from publisher in exchange for a review
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best yet, 5 Oct. 2013
This review is from: The Memory Box (Kindle Edition)
i had been waiting a year since reading the shoestring club for this book. well worth waiting for. well done sarah. another excellent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another thought provoking book, 28 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Memory Box (Kindle Edition)
A great sequel to The Shoestring Club. We meet the sisters again, but this time it is the story of Pandora, the older and wiser sister. Pandora is about to turn thirty and she received a letter from her dead mother. It tells her that her mother's breast cancer was due to the BRAC1 breast cancer gene which is hereditary. Her mother advises her to get tested and to then pass on the news to her sister. Pandora has to deal, not only with this news, but also the fall-out from it. She has a daughter too. Not only does Pandora decide keep this news to herself and to cope on her own (she has an agonizing 6-8 week wait for the results), but she decides she must find the father of her child, so that if anything happens to her, her daughter will be looked after. Her close family know that something is wrong and see a change in her but don't understand why. Sarah Webb, again, writes what appears to be another chick-lit book (we still get a chance to enjoy the sharing of yet another beautiful dress and meet the mysterious Alex, the last member of the group) but at the heart of it she deals with the difficult issue of hereditary illness and the impact on families.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Memory box, 25 Jan. 2014
This review is from: The Memory Box (Kindle Edition)
I thought this book was going to be fluffy and predictable with the main character being named Pandora and the title of the book called The Memory Box, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The story follows Pandora Schuster as she turns 30. Bringing the past to the future, dealing with being tested for the BRCA1 gene after her mother passed away after suffering from breast cancer when Pandora was a child. She also has a nine year old daughter and is agonising with the idea of Olivier, the father,being part of her daughter'a life. Then there is Declan, Pandora's boyfriend, with his own life troubles in the mix. It's no wonder Pandora doesn't know which way to turn.
With so many themes in this book it would have been easy to think there is too much going on to be an easy read. I was wrong. Sarah Webb has created characters that the reader can relate to allowing the story to flow without it being complicated to read. The book is full of love for family and friends. It draws the reader in as I felt sympathy for Pandora as she tries to work everything out. I even felt sorry for poor Declan!
It is well written and I couldn't put it down. Whilst I would class it as an easy chic lit read it is not as fluffy as a normal easy read you can pick up. I loved it! It's a must read for those who love chic lit. Congratulations Sarah! I cannot wait for the next book.
[...]
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The Memory Box
The Memory Box by Sarah Webb
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