cover image The Memory Garden

The Memory Garden

Mary Rickert. Sourcebooks Landmark, $14.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-4022-9712-0

In her first novel, Rickert, whose Map of Dreams was a World Fantasy Award winner for short fiction, unwinds the magic and mystery of a mother and daughter and three old friends, all at the fragile juncture of truth and forgiveness. At the heart of the story are 64-year-old Nan, rumored to be a witch, and her 16-year-old adopted daughter, Bay, bound by a carefully guarded secret that’s revealed during a weekend reunion of Nan’s childhood friends, Mavis and Ruthie. Ghosts live in the garden of Nan and Bay—an angry boy killed in a car crash, an abused girl who died after a botched abortion, a disgraced neighbor—and Bay can see them. Only her beloved Nan, dying Mavis, and tortured Ruthie can explain to Bay the melancholic restlessness of the ghosts, and the history that is connected to Bay’s origin. But in the end, Bay has the magic that heals and comforts Nan with the realization that “[i]t’s one thing to be forgiven by someone else, another to forgive yourself.” Bay’s story is just beginning here, and Rickert marks a clear path for a sequel to this rich fantasy. “All I can do is teach her the basics and watch what she does,” Nan says, as she marvels at Bay’s supernatural talents. With this tale, Ricket can build an audience that will marvel at her witchy talents. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (May)