In When Memories Fade by Tyora Moody, Angel Robert’s life seems to be on the upswing; she has renewed her faith in God and has just celebrated her twenty-fifth birthday with friends. But increasingly with each birthday she is reminded of the missing pieces of her life. Twenty years ago on the night of her fifth birthday party, her mother Elisa Roberts walked out of their home, never to be seen or heard from again. The thought of what happened that night has haunted and tormented both family and friends for years, especially Fredricka, Elisa’s aging mother–Angel’s grandmother. Each passing year she looks into her granddaughter’s face only to be reminded of a daughter who mysteriously vanished; and it seems as if the community is no longer seeking answers. The thought that she may go to her grave never knowing the truth about the disappearance is becoming unbearable. Angel is also pressed by this realization.
Five years ago Angel began working on a documentary of her mother’s life, but along the way she became sidetracked and it got put to the side. Angel’s interest in finding out what happened on that terrible night is piqued again, especially when her grandmother suffers a stroke.
Angel meets Wes Cade an investigative reporter whose father, an ex-detective worked on her mother’s case many years ago. These days the elder Cade’s memory is steadily diminishing due to Alzheimer’s, and moments of clarity are short and sudden. But this case, according to his son has always haunted him; it eventually changed him in a way that was troubling for Wes to witness.
As Angel and Wes come together to make the most out of what each has to offer, they often push each other to the limits as both have emotionally vested interests, but for different reasons.
When Memories Fade is of the mystery genre, but it is Angel’s faith that keeps her grounded and pushing to find out the truth despite obstacles and setbacks, as her mother’s disappearance is somewhat of a cold case after so many years. And it is the complexity of the relationships that drives the story. Although Angel loves and respects her grandmother, she is often annoyed that she is clinging to hope that, her daughter will suddenly reappear. Wes, on the other hand wants to find out why this case has disturbed his father for so many years. Why this case? What does he know and finds so troubling?
A mystery for certain it is the faith and hope of the characters that uplifts and makes it different from other mysteries. Initially the number of characters seemed to crowd the story, but as it turns out each has a significant role and placement. And Moody is able to intertwine this close-knit community of family and friends in an eerie connectedness that has you searching for the missing pieces and wondering what happened to Elisa Roberts and what does each one really know about the disappearance?
The story also touches on Alzheimer’s disease and the impact it has on family and relationships and the faith and love needed to sustain both the sufferer and the family. Moody’s When Memories Fade reminds you of the importance of hope even when there seems to be no reason to believe.