Today’s challenge reviewer is Ann Reilly.
Ann has been reading The Memory by Judith Barrow
A Great Read!
Once I started to read this book, I couldn’t put it down!
It is a story told in two timelines running concurrently. One story line is told as the minute-by-minute events as one day passes. The other spans many years from the childhood of the lead character, Irene. As the story unfolds, you can see how the events from the past has finally led to this one day and this point in time. There was also an unexpected twist at the end.
Irene has played the role almost of a martyr, from childhood, born from a sense of duty that continues and has completely taken over her life. She has selflessly assumed the role of carer, from the age of eight initially, looking after her Downs Syndrome sister, through to her nanna, father-in-law and finally her mother.
Anyone who has assumed a long-term caring role for a parent would relate to this story of complete sacrifice for another, a feeling of being trapped, to the exclusion of one’s own life’s dreams. You can feel empathy and at times frustration for the situation. She is supported by a loving husband, which she puts at risk.
I liked the short punchy chapters that take you through a lifetime of lost opportunities, suffering and at times joy, spanning from 1963 to 2002. It was an easy read, this is my first Judith Barrow book, I will be looking to read more from this author.
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.