Good morning my lovelies. Today I have a review for you of a beautiful, emotive and heart wrenching novel……The Memory by Judith Barrow.
Today has been a long time coming. Irene sits at her mother’s side waiting for the right moment, for the point at which she will know she is doing the right thing by Rose.
Rose was Irene’s little sister, born a chromosome short, an unwanted embarrassment to their mother Lilian but a treasure to Irene. Rose died thirty years ago, when she was eight, and nobody has talked about the circumstances of her death since. But Irene knows what she saw.
Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty, betrayal and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past and finds hope for the future.
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Irene is delighted when she finds out her parents are expecting, and when they bring home a beautiful little girl she falls in love instantly. But she doesn’t understand why her Mum doesn’t feel the same and doesn’t want anything to do with her…… She realises her sister is special, and later finds out that she has Down’s Syndrome. Only strengthening the love she has for, Irene has an unbreakable bond with Rose and will protect her above all else. Until she passes away at the age of 8….and Irene believes there is more to it than she is being told.
Left devastated Irene moves on with her life as best as she can with plenty of ups and downs, and eventually ends up back home caring for her Mum. Having kept a secret since the day Rose died, Irene faces up to what she feels she must do to put things right. Stressed, overwhelmed and tired, the only question is will Irene go ahead with her plans……
The Memory was so moving, it actually had me in tears at one point. Told from Irene’s viewpoint, we experience 24 hours with her as she’s at home caring for her challenging Mum who is suffering with dementia. But at the same time she takes us back through her memories of her childhood and life; when she meets her little sister, the bond they have, her death and the challenges that follow for Irene as an adult.
I was so invested in Irene and honestly felt like I was reading someone’s real life memoirs. Irene loved her sister so much and would have done anything for her. We go through the tragic loss with her and it’s heart breaking. As Irene grows she ends up sacrificing her own desires to care for others, something that constantly seems to happen through her life. When she seems to be able to move on with her life, something else crops up. The poor woman is so selfless, and goes through so much. You can’t help but empathise with her and wish you could give her a massive big hug!
I fell in love with Rose instantly. An adorable little character who’s end I was devastated by. Sam is a real gentleman although I could have given him a bit of a boot a few times! And then we have Irene’s Mum, Lil…….this woman brought out every emotion in me. I was angry with her, disgusted, sad and shocked. She says and does some terrible things, but isn’t always what she seems……And I loved Nanna……
The Memory is a truly emotive and heart wrenching novel covering sisterly bonds, family, secrets, betrayal, loss and ultimate sacrifice. I didn’t want to put it down. Highly recommended by me.
about the author
Check out Judith’s Meet the Author here to read all about her!
Thank you so much to Judith and Honno Welsh Women’s Press for gifting me with a paperback copy of The Memory. All views are my own.
If you’ve read this too, I would absolutely love to know what you think and have a chat about it, so get in touch.
Enjoy your day my lovelies