Andrea shares her favorite book recommendations over at Good Girl Gone Redneck. Do head on over and see what she suggests you read for the rest of the summer! You’ll find affiliate links throughout this post. Any purchase helps support Midlife Boulevard, so we thank you in advance.
The Memory of Us
The Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio is already one of the best books I’ve read in 2016.
We’re a little more than halfway through the year so that’s kind of a big statement. I’m over thirty books in. (That doesn’t show much for my hopes to hit 100 this year, but meets my not-so-lofty normal 60-something reads.) I’m already certain that this book will land on my Top Ten Reads in 2015.
We start off meeting the lovely and elegant Juliette Westcott. A young girl, Juliette is from an affluent family in Liverpool. We enjoy her right away. And we notice that she’s a bit different from many of the upper class people she’s surrounded with.
But she really is delightful.
One thing we love about Juliette is when we learn that she has found out about her twin brother Charles. Charles was born deaf and blind, and was quickly institutionalized – hidden from the world – at Bootle House. Juliette’s parents do not know that she knows of his existence. But she does. And she has ensured that she is a part of his life.
Juliette quietly goes to visit him when time permits for her to sneak away. It is there that Juliette meets Kyle. Kyle, the gardener. A young man working with his father to take care of the grounds at Bootle House. A young man who has connected with her non-communicative brother. Through plants, no less! Juliette can’t help but find herself drawn to the man.
Kyle is attractive and kind. Kyle is nice to her brother. Kyle is, however, in school to become a Catholic priest. Kyle, therefore, is unavailable.
Juliette does her best to push Kyle out of her mind. She heads off to nursing school in London. She works hard. She dates. She dances. She does all the thing a proper young lady does with her friends in 1930s London. Life was so different then. I never questioned that I was not living in this time with Di Maio. This book was flawless in that regard.
I must share that I have read many books that include historical fiction as – perhaps I’d call it a secondary story? – and often skimmed through the details and descriptions. This story was so so different. The time and location, the impending war, all of it is there and is a part of the story. But it ebbs and flows with its importance, and you never tire of it or roll your eyes asking why it’s been included. The war has a huge role in this book. It impacts Juliette and Kyle beyond what I can share in a simple non-spoiler review. But it’s not the kind of storyline that feels wrong for the time it is set in. It’s so well written and enjoyable. So so good.
The other characters in this book were equally as powerful. From Juliette’s overbearing parents to her best friend Lucille. Add in her nursing school friends, Ms. Ellis from Bootle House, Nurse Jane and they’re all incredibly strong and enjoyable characters. All important to the story.