Julianne Westcott was living the kind of life that other Protestant girls in prewar Liverpool could only dream about: old money, silk ball gowns, and prominent young men lining up to escort her. But when she learns of a blind-and-deaf brother, institutionalized since birth, the illusion of her perfect life and family shatters around her.
While visiting her brother in secret, Julianne meets and befriends Kyle McCarthy, an Irish Catholic groundskeeper studying to become a priest. Caught between her family’s expectations, Kyle’s devotion to the church, and the intense new feelings that the forbidden courtship has awakened in her, Julianne must make a choice: uphold the life she’s always known or follow the difficult path toward love.
But as war ripples through the world and the Blitz decimates England, a tragic accident forces Julianne to leave everything behind and forge a new life built on lies she’s told to protect the ones she loves. Now, after twenty years of hiding from her past, the truth finds her—will she be brave enough to face it?
Honestly it’s been an extremely long time since I read a historical fiction that truly took my breath away. The last time I ever had a book leave me with such a feeling was the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan. This is surely not the case when it comes to Camille Di Maio’s novel The Memory of Us. Oh good heavens this book is extreme treasure to behold. The story is told in the protagonist Juliane’s point of view which beings in the 1960’s. Through out the novel we endure her flashbacks to the 1930s when Julianna first meet Kyle. Before their relationship can begin to flourish it is made quite clear that they are from two different social circles, since Kyle is in training in the priesthood. Kyle is just as devoted Catholic as I am, which means whoever need religious denomination matters.
This novel is real jewel especially during this weekend of Memorial Day. I’ve been very lucky with Netgallery & Lake Union Publishing at discovering new authors. This is Camille Di Maio debut novel. I’m so happy to take part in this journey of hers, because I am going to constantly keep my eyes out on what the future holds in her young writing career. This is such a lovely story to have as a debut novel. The author truly writes form an emotional well of deep of truth. The depiction of the rough nature of war is painted so clearly in this book that it brings family stories that my grandmother told of how the war treated her during her young nursing career. The trials and tribulations of war can take a tole on any person however it can differently take it’s tole on a young couple. This book is pure emotion, raw love, as well as a great distinction of the area in the most realistic read of historical fiction.
There are part of the book that did frustrate me, this had nothing to do with the plot, prose or the pacing of the novel. The conflict that I have is purely conflict between the character that was portrayed by Julianne then and now between flashbacks as well as the decisions made when it comes to Kyle. That is what strikes me as odd, her character and the decisions made always seem t odd with the character in which is constantly previously portrayed. It was just really hard to convince myself that the actions that were made are the decisions the character that I though I got to know would know.
The Memory of Us is an amazing romantic World War 2 novel that truly stole my heart away. I’m really devoted to Camille Di Maio because she is a brilliantly crafty storyteller in order to create such heart breaking and loving characters in this novel.The author has a great attention to detail even on the smallest aspects of the historical portion truly transports you to a time where the hardish of war can be honestly felt through the pages of the book. Be prepared to send hours of sleepless night reading this amazing tale.
Hopefully I have encourage you to read this amazing novel, I myself am ordering this novel just to have a copy for my library.
Happy Reading my lovelies!