The Memory Thief


A Ballantine Books Trade Paperback Original
New York Times bestseller
Target Emerging Authors Pick

Before Madeleine Kimble’s mountaineer husband, Aidan, climbs Mount McKinley’s south face, he makes her a solemn vow: I will come back to you. But late one night, Maddie gets the devastating news that Aidan has died in an avalanche, leaving her to care for their son-a small boy with a very big secret. The call comes from J.C., Aidan’s best friend and fellow climber, whose grief is seasoned with survivor’s guilt . . . and something more. J.C. has loved Maddie for years, but he never wanted his chance with her to come at so terrible a cost.

Across the country, Nicholas Sullivan wakes from a motorcycle crash with his memory wiped clean. Yet his dreams are haunted by visions of a mysterious woman and a young boy, neither of whom he has ever met. Convinced that these strangers hold the answers he seeks, Nicholas leaves everything behind to find them. What he discovers will require a leap of faith that will change all of their lives forever.

“This absorbing first effort brings to mind the mountaineers of a Jon Krakauer read, the tenderness of a Nicholas Sparks novel, and the enduring love story of Charles Martin’s The Mountain between Us, all sprinkled with a heady dose of passion. Colin is an author to watch and savor.” –Booklist

“Dazzlingly original and as haunting as a dream, Emily Colin’s mesmerizing debut explores the way memory, love, and great loss bind our lives together in ways we might never expect. From its audacious opening to its knockout last pages, I was enthralled.”
Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

“In The Memory Thief, love itself is a character, able to transcend all natural boundaries to find its way home…or learn to let go. Colin writes with heartbreaking conviction about loss, and yet there is a knowing sweetness at the core of this richly emotional tale. A lovely, self assured debut from a writer to watch.” –Joshilyn Jackson, author of A Grownup Kind of Pretty and Gods in Alabama

The Memory Thief


A Ballantine Books Trade Paperback Original
New York Times bestseller
Target Emerging Authors Pick





Before Madeleine Kimble’s mountaineer husband, Aidan, climbs Mount McKinley’s south face, he makes her a solemn vow: I will come back to you. But late one night, Maddie gets the devastating news that Aidan has died in an avalanche, leaving her to care for their son-a small boy with a very big secret. The call comes from J.C., Aidan’s best friend and fellow climber, whose grief is seasoned with survivor’s guilt . . . and something more. J.C. has loved Maddie for years, but he never wanted his chance with her to come at so terrible a cost.

Across the country, Nicholas Sullivan wakes from a motorcycle crash with his memory wiped clean. Yet his dreams are haunted by visions of a mysterious woman and a young boy, neither of whom he has ever met. Convinced that these strangers hold the answers he seeks, Nicholas leaves everything behind to find them. What he discovers will require a leap of faith that will change all of their lives forever.

“This absorbing first effort brings to mind the mountaineers of a Jon Krakauer read, the tenderness of a Nicholas Sparks novel, and the enduring love story of Charles Martin’s The Mountain between Us, all sprinkled with a heady dose of passion. Colin is an author to watch and savor.” –Booklist

“Dazzlingly original and as haunting as a dream, Emily Colin’s mesmerizing debut explores the way memory, love, and great loss bind our lives together in ways we might never expect. From its audacious opening to its knockout last pages, I was enthralled.”
Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

“In The Memory Thief, love itself is a character, able to transcend all natural boundaries to find its way home…or learn to let go. Colin writes with heartbreaking conviction about loss, and yet there is a knowing sweetness at the core of this richly emotional tale. A lovely, self assured debut from a writer to watch.” –Joshilyn Jackson, author of A Grownup Kind of Pretty and Gods in Alabama

The Characters





Maddie

There is a desperate edge to the way we come together, each of us afraid that we are going to lose the other—him to the mountain, me to whatever mysterious forces drive couples apart. Remember this, I tell myself as he arches over me, as I rise to meet him. Remember.


Maddie


There is a desperate edge to the way we come together, each of us afraid that we are going to lose the other—him to the mountain, me to whatever mysterious forces drive couples apart. Remember this, I tell myself as he arches over me, as I rise to meet him. Remember.



Nicholas

When you look death in the face, your life is supposed to unspool before your eyes, but I see none of mine. If only I had, perhaps everything would have been different—a thin chalk line tracing between here and there, connecting before to after. I have an instant to wonder if I am seeing a future that might have been.



Nicholas




When you look death in the face, your life is supposed to unspool before your eyes, but I see none of mine. If only I had, perhaps everything would have been different—a thin chalk line tracing between here and there, connecting before to after. I have an instant to wonder if I am seeing a future that might have been.




Aidan

The axe digs into my chest and my heart pounds against my ribs, an answering call. There’s nothing to be gained from ignoring it, not out here with my friends dangling over an abyss and no help in sight. As long as I am talking to people who aren’t about to answer me anytime soon, I might as well add her to the list. I close my eyes, I picture her face. Maddie, I say aloud. Maddie, I’m sorry.


Aidan


The axe digs into my chest and my heart pounds against my ribs, an answering call. There’s nothing to be gained from ignoring it, not out here with my friends dangling over an abyss and no help in sight. As long as I am talking to people who aren’t about to answer me anytime soon, I might as well add her to the list. I close my eyes, I picture her face. Maddie, I say aloud. Maddie, I’m sorry.



Gabe

Gabe throws the covers off and crawls to the end of the bed. His teeth chatter as he throws his arms around me, Teddy clasped in one small fist. I try to hug him back, but my arms close on nothing. I am gone, falling alone into the dark and the ice and the cold.



Gabe





Gabe throws the covers off and crawls to the end of the bed. His teeth chatter as he throws his arms around me, Teddy clasped in one small fist. I try to hug him back, but my arms close on nothing. I am gone, falling alone into the dark and the ice and the cold.



J.C.

“I pulled on the rope and it came right out of the snow, without him on the other end. And I knew he was gone. I knew we’d never find him in time.” His face is wet, and his arm tightens around me so it’s hard to breathe. “I lay in my tent that night and I thought about how I had to tell you, how you’d hate me now. I thought I’d lost both of you. How it felt . . . there aren’t words.”


J.C.


“I pulled on the rope and it came right out of the snow, without him on the other end. And I knew he was gone. I knew we’d never find him in time.” His face is wet, and his arm tightens around me so it’s hard to breathe. “I lay in my tent that night and I thought about how I had to tell you, how you’d hate me now. I thought I’d lost both of you. How it felt . . . there aren’t words.”



Grace

In her face I can see her faith in me. It hits me like a sucker punch. A wave of envy breaks over me, for the man I was before all of this happened—a man with an unbroken chain of memories. This, and then this, and this. A past with Grace, and a future. A life like a line.






Grace


In her face I can see her faith in me. It hits me like a sucker punch. A wave of envy breaks over me, for the man I was before all of this happened—a man with an unbroken chain of memories. This, and then this, and this. A past with Grace, and a future. A life like a line.