True death is a thing of the past. Now you can spend the rest of eternity reliving your happiest memories: that first kiss, falling in love, the birth of your children, enjoyed on loop for ever and ever.

Isobel is a Heaven Architect, and she helps dying people create afterlives from these memories. So when she falls for Jarek, one of her terminal – and married – clients, she knows that while she cannot save him, she can create the most beautiful of heavens, just for him.

But when Jarek’s wife is found dead, Isobel uncovers a darker side of the world she works within, and she can trust no one with what she finds…

The Memory Chamber is a thrilling and original story which vaults the reader into a world that is terrifyingly close to our own, where we can avoid everything we fear – even death itself. But can we ever escape the truth?”

In a world where death no longer has to mean eternal sleep, Isobel is a Heaven Architect. Her role is to tease out the most important feelings, emotions and memories from your life on earth, and create your own personal Heaven which, all procedures being followed correctly, you will enter upon your death. This means that instead of eternal nothingness, you will instead spend eternity in a timeless state reliving the very best and most important moments of your life.

Isobel works largely with the rich and of course, those facing impending death. Jarek is one of the latter – a young man with a very aggressive form of incurable brain tumour who comes to Isobel to build his Heaven – a Heaven that he doesn’t want his estranged wife to feature in at all. Falling for this charming, tragic man more each time she meets him, Isobel is torn between her professionalism, her husband, and her aching heart.  Her feelings for him growing stronger with each session, Isobel is determined to make sure that Jarek has the best Heaven he can possibly have – ideally with her in it. As time moves on, Jarek’s condition becomes increasingly worse and their time together is clearly going to come to an end sooner rather than later when a tragic event throws Isobel’s personal and professional life into further chaos. Under suspicion, she is forced to confront moral issues around Heaven creation that have never arisen before. To prove herself innocent of any wrongdoing and avoid Jarek’s artificial Heaven being destroyed forever, she has to undergo dangerous procedures and expose her most intimate thoughts to her colleagues and to the establishment.

I really liked the concept of this book – there are many questions raised from both a feasibility and a morality angle – right the way through from “could we really do that” to “even if we could, should we really do that?”  How can you govern something like that? Is anything sacred?

I was quite fascinated by the behaviour of characters in this book although I don’t think I particularly liked any of them very much. Perhaps that is part of the plan – I guess it’s easier to remain objective to the story if you’re not emotionally involved with the players – however that’s why this book got a 3.5 rather than a 4 as I felt somewhat detached from the main characters.

An interesting takeaway from this book was that it made me think about my relationships & experiences; what would I take with me into my own personal Heaven and which people and events would be firmly left out?

Who would you take with you and who would you close the door to?

An intriguing and thought provoking novel from Holly Cave.