When Lucy hits her head after slipping on a patch of ice, she wakes up in the hospital with a condition known as “honest lying.” Unlike amnesia, where you completely forget portions of your past, honest lying means you remember everything. The only problem is, you have no way of knowing which of your memories are real, and which aren’t — even the false memories feel absolutely real.
So when Lucy wakes up and sees Matt at her bedside, she remembers him only as a work colleague, even though he and her family claim he’s been her boyfriend for years. She also learns that Daniel, the man she believes is her husband, is actually someone she broke up with right before their wedding — for reasons none of her friends and family know — and hasn’t spoken to since.
The Life Lucy Knew is a moving, heartbreaking tale, about a woman trying to return to a life she doesn’t remember, and forget about a life she never really had. I love that Brown explores not just the impact of the accident on Lucy, but also on the people around her.I absolutely fell in love with Matt, and his steadfast, gentle love. My heart broke for him each time he tried to get Lucy to remember their love for each other, and yet I could also sympathize with the reasons Lucy recoils from his touch. There’s a particularly heartbreaking moment where Matt goes to great lengths to recreate a romantic moment, only for Lucy to realize that she remembers every detail, but in her memory, it had all happened with Daniel. I was so in love with their love story, and I love how Brown shows all the nuance and emotions and tenderness that comes with a relationship that’s stood the test of time.
There’s a bit of a quasi-love triangle, as Lucy gets the chance to reconnect with Daniel, and also a minor subplot around Lucy’s return to work, but for me, it was Matt and Lucy’s story that kept me turning the page. The one minor snag for me is that I felt the ending cut to black right before the most dramatic moment, and while we eventually find out what happens, I would have loved to see that play out in real time.
Overall, it’s a beautiful story. I’m so glad I met the author at a Harper Collins Canada event, and learned about this book. I’m also going to be extra careful in walking around in winter, because seriously, this honest lying thing sounds terrifying.
Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.