With I Remember You, Harriet Evans attempts to combine two genres, and the result's not quite what it could be. Genre number one, the classic chick lit romance, works fairly well - except where genre two interferes. Genre two, the mysterious family saga, not only doesn't work at all but takes away from the other aspect of the book. Overall, the book felt like The Thirteenth Tale mushed up in a sandwich with The Finishing Touches, with not quite enough mustard or pickle.
The main story begins as boring Tess* goes home to boring Langford from dreary London, having been dumped by her caricature of a posh London boyfriend. (I'm skipping the overly sentimental and foreshadowing prologue part.) She then reconnects with her immature and unappealing best friend from childhood, Adam, who still lives in his childhood home and hasn't yet bothered to clear out any of his dead mother's things, even though she died when he was eighteen and it's been thirteen years.
There's a long and overall pointless** trip to Rome in there somewhere, and some stuff about the old lady who lives across from the pub and was the daughter of the local great family. Her backstory could have been dramatic and interesting, but was instead unsympathetic and dreary. Really, the concept of dreariness keeps popping up over and over again here.
Am I forgetting anything, other than the completely and utterly predictable ending? Well, the book's way too long - thank you, pointless mysterious family saga drama that has no real place here - and the secondary characters are unconvincing. That's about it. It kept me less bored for a couple of hours than some other books have in the past. It looks like this book, unlike others by Evans, was not a bestseller, so that reassures me; however, the title is stupid, and that makes me angry. Two and a half stars within its genre.
* This requires clarification. Often, in the beginning of a chick lit novel, the heroine is "boring" as in: in a rut and in need of new shoes, a manicure, and someone to have sex with. I don't mean it that way at all. I mean the character is boring. To herself, and to the reader, and presumably to the other characters as well.
** The only point was to introduce a secondary love interest for boring Tess. Since anyone who's ever read a chick lit story before already knows, after page one, just how this book is going to end, it was pointless. QED.