- N. N. Light
4.5 stars for The Memory by @judithbarrow77 #literaryfiction #familysaga #bookreview
Title: The Memory
Author: Judith Barrow
Genre: Family Life Fiction/ Family Saga
Mother and daughter tied together by shame and secrecy, love and hate.
I wait by the bed. I move into her line of vision and it’s as though we’re watching one another, my mother and me; two women – trapped.
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, 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.
"...A book that is both powerful and moving, exquisitely penetrating. I am drawn in, empathising so intensely with Irene that I feel every twinge of her frustration, resentment, utter weariness and abiding love." Thorne Moore "Judith Barrow's greatest strength is her understanding of her characters and the times in which they live; The Memory is a poignant tale of love and hate in which you will feel every emotion experienced by Irene." Terry Tyler
The new novel from the bestselling author of the Howarth family saga.
Irene is her mother's caretaker and over a twenty-four period, she revisits the past, allowing long-buried shameful secrets to be brought to light. Years ago, when her sister, Rose, was brought into the world, Irene was overjoyed. It didn't matter to her Rose had Down Syndrome, she loved and took care of her as if Rose was her own daughter. Her mother, on the other hand, rejected Rose and would have nothing to do with her. Rose's death, shrouded in mystery even after all these years, bind Irene to her mother. As Irene remembers the past and tries to reconcile it with the present and future, she wonders if her memory is flawed or does the answer lie with her own mother?
The Memory is an emotional story about mothers and daughters, love and loss, raising a special needs child, and the barren canyon of emotions that lay hidden behind grief. The plot is overflowing with feeling as Irene comes to grips with the past. I cried so many times while reading, I needed two boxes of tissues. Judith Barrow framed the story as a 24-hour period but I tend to disagree as there were plenty of flashbacks and flashforwards. I personally couldn't relate to the characters, but I could relate to being the daughter of a mother with high expectations. The tension is palpable throughout the story, so it took me awhile to read it. The writing is exquisite, the pacing perfect, and the characterizations well-developed. If you're a fan of family-life sagas, you'll love The Memory. Fans of Rebecca Wells, this is a must-read.
My Rating: 4.5 stars
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Although I was born and brought up in a small village on the edge of the Pennine moors in Yorkshire, England. for the last forty years I’ve lived with my husband and family near the coast in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, UK, a gloriously beautiful place. I’ve written all my life and have had short stories, poems, plays, reviews and articles published throughout the British Isles. I had the first of my trilogy, Pattern of Shadows, published in 2010, the sequel, Changing Patterns, in 2013 and the last, Living in the Shadows in 2015. The prequel, A Hundred Tiny Threads was published in 2017. The Memory was published in March 2020. My next book, The Heart Stone is due to be published in February 2021. I have an MA in Creative Writing, B.A. (Hons.) in Literature, and a Diploma in Drama and Script Writing. I work as an interviewer of authors for an online TV company; Showboat tv. I am also a Creative Writing tutor for Pembrokeshire County Council’s Lifelong Learning Programme and give talks and run private workshops on all genres.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N
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