The Memories We Bury by H.A. Leuschel
Publication Date: publication: April 17th 2020
Publisher: EKT Selection Ltd
Genre: Psychological Fiction
An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood.
Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, who’s own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control.
Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her?
In ‘The Memories We Bury’ the author explores the dangerous bonds we can create with strangers and how past memories can cast long shadows over the present.
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. ***
Books I read by the same author:
The Memories We Bury was psychological fiction that revolved around neighbors Lizzie and Morag and their relationship that started sweet and turned bitter over the time. It was about obsession, manipulations, friendship, family, trust and betrayal. About danger that comes with trusting a stranger that comes under title ‘neighbor’ and its consequences, impact of childhood and its role in shaping person, controlling parents and their mistakes.
This was my 3rd book by author and like other two books, this book had captivating, flawless, and beautiful writing. Book was set in Edinburgh, first person narrative with alternative POV of Morag and Lizzie.
It started in 2016 withLizzie and Morag’s perspective telling how they were disappointed with what happened with them, Lizzie with her betrayal both from Morag and her husband, Markus and Morag with Lizzie moving away with her son, Jamie to Glasgow after all she did for her. That added enough curiosity to find out what happened and who was at fault, why they separated and are hurt. So to get the answers we are taken back to 2013, to the beginning of Lizzie and Morag’s friendship, their past life and at the root of distrust and betrayal.
In the beginning all characters looked nice but few chapters in this book and I knew there was something wrong with Morag. I had so many questions about her and her behavior and they all were answered in due time, some I could guess while some were surprise. I wanted to know why nobody from her family were close to her, why she was secretive and vague about them, why she was crossing the limits of friendship and neighbourship (Is that a word?), and why she was trying to control Lizzie life and constantly mentioning she knows all and means the best. And whenever she said that she reminded me of Gothel from Rupenzel and her Disney version song ‘mother knows the best’. Thing was she was not Lizzie mother, a mother figure to Lizzie and that’s because Lizzie thought she was loving, caring and adoring elderly lady until she became like her mother, but in worst way.
At 50% of the book I could see what Morag was trying to do. And what she did to Lizzie so that she could have more time with Jamie. I didn’t even need to read the truth about her past and family, about Aileen and her sister Lorna’s view and what Morag said later to everybody to know that she was wrong and only person responsible for what happened in Morag’s life and what she might have done. Who could have think 64-years-old lady could be so manipulative and controlling! After reading this book I’m not letting anybody enter my and my daughter’s space.
“Why is it I seem to remember events that hurt me better than experiences I’d rather hold on to because they made me happy?”
Lizzie was timid, naïve, and push over, easy to be intimidated especially by people like her husband- Markus and Morag. She was realistic and I empathized with her. Her past was poignant. I could see how difficult her childhood was and how much she might have struggled to come out of it and get her freedom. It was so sad to see her losing her freedom and control over her life this easily. I felt angry for her, I wanted to shake her so hard so she could come out of Morag’s clutches and the fog she created. And when that happened I was cheering for her new found strength that helped her to fight Markus’s belief and Morag’s control.
She was the only nice person in the book. Okay, there were others but were not present in her life all the time. Lizzie’s friends were good but I do feel they should have talked to Lizzie about their concerns.
Markus was there just to pay bill, he was ambitious, egoistic charmer. When he got the new about pregnancy he withdrew to the safety of his work and office. He wasn’t ready for being a parent and had no clue about parenting. His big mistake was he left Lizzie alone most of the time, he wasn’t even present at the birth of Jamie, moreover he believed whatever Morag said because he thought she was nanny or surrogate mother and grandmother to whom he didn’t have to pay. I don’t understand why Lizzie stayed with him so long. He was not likable person and by no means a father and husband material.
I liked the message in the book. Parenting is tough no doubt there. It shows that how confidence and little help either from family, loved ones, or group can help you with questions one have but at the same time how important the need of boundaries, your space, and independence is. You cannot trust anyone with your kid especially not a stranger you met few months ago. Only and only a mother can decide how she want to nurture her child, just don’t let anybody say or prove otherwise. Most important was even a perfect parent can make mistake and can be wrong about their way of upbringing. How wrong it is to push children in achieving something or fulfilling dreams you set for them and its consequences are irreversible. It also said about dealing with grief and past bad memories. I loved this lines about it-
“I always believed that you could put your bad memories inside a box, firmly close it shut, turn the key, put it away, and move on. Now I know that it is not possible, nor is it good to imagine that you can do so. The future always come looking for past.”
Best thing about the book was it was very realistic. It can happen to anybody. Climax was tense. One by one all the mystery and secrets were revealed. I was right about Morag all along and yet author succeeded in surprising me with Morag’s past, what happened to her family and her claims. When I thought it was all was over and book will end soon, there was another little surprise that enlighten me about how much truth was there in Morag’s claim. I admired Lizzie here and I was glad to see she could see who was right and good and who was not. End was great, warning us, ‘not everybody can change’.
Overall, it was gripping, realistic, emotive, and steady paced psychological fiction with beautiful writing and great characters.
What do you think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already or any books by the same author? Are you going to add it to TBR? Have you read a book that had best or worst neighbor relationship?
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