I first read I Remember You as an eighteen year-old going through a horrible break-up with my boyfriend. I read on the back that i was perfectly for snuggling up with on a winter’s night and that immediately sold it to me. I took the blurb’s advice, cancelled my girls’ night out and set about getting to know the wonderful Tess Tennant. I quickly fell in love with the beautifully constructed tale that gives us all a subtle reminder about our first love. For that reason plus many more, it is one of my most favourite books.
I Remember You instantly makes you dive into the plot and immerse yourself in the characters’ lives. It tells the story of Tess Tennant, a Classics teacher living in London, who moves back to her hometown of Langford after breaking up with her boyfriend. When she returns, she’s reacquainted with characters from her past, including Adam Smith. He’s her best friend who had once been something so much more. The story begins with Leonora Mortmain, a long-time Langford resident, watching the world go by from her living room. She regards the other residents with some disdain, especially Mick, the landlord of The Feathers. We quickly learn that Leonora isn’t the most popular person in the village- she has big plans for Langford’s water meadows that have angered a lot of the residents. There is a tragic reason behind this, but I won’t spoil it for you- the novel is far too wonderful for me to do that. The story then switches to Tess and focuses on her return to Langford. Evans describes the village in such rich detail that you can whisk yourself there in a matter of moments. You immediately warm to the village’s residents, including Jan, Diana, Mick and and Jacquetta.
Just as Tess is becoming settled in both her teaching job and her cute little cottage, City lawyer Francesca breezes into the village. She immediately befriends Tess and captures Adam’s heart. The underlying feelings between Tess and Adam unfold tantalisingly and leave you wondering just what happened between them before she left Langford. Although Francesca and Adam are a believable couple, there is a feeling that something is missing with them. Evans goes to great lengths not to paint Francesca as the typical bitch who gets in the way of true love. Instead, she is made into a likeable character who you begin to root for to find some sort of happiness. The moment where Will, Tess’s ex-boyfriend, comes back with his new girlfriend Ticky is truly comical. Adam pretends to be Tess’s boyfriend and they fabricate a relationship so she doesn’t lose face with him. The ease with which they come up with lies about their relationship is a testament to just how close they are and leaves you rooting for them to get together!
Adam and Tess take a trip to London after he splits with Francesca and it looks as though the stars will finally align for them. However, don’t forget this is a chick lit novel and things are NEVER that simple! Things take a disastrous turn and we then journey with Tess and her class to the romantic climate of Rome. A hunky American named Peter comes into her life in a rather amusing way and sweeps her off her feet. In the thick Italian heat, romance blossoms and it seems as though any notion of Tess and Adam has been forgotten. A tragedy occurs on the trip and when Tess returns to England, she’s forced to question what- and more importantly who– will make her happy.
The section about the young Leonora is beautiful and provides an insight into just what made her the person she is when we first meet her. It is perhaps my favourite part in the whole book. Evans ensures that the story’s twists are cleverly concealed and I guarantee your jaw will drop at some of them! I Remember You is warm, funny and intriguing with instantly loveable characters who will stay in both your heart and mind long after you finish reading. Tess and Adam’s journey to each other is both page-turning and inspiring and the ending will leave you with a large, beaming grin on your face. So go on, curl up with this book; you won’t be disappointed.