I was totally blown away by Camille Di Maio’s debut novel, The Memory of Us. It is my favorite book so far this year.
This WW2 tale, set in England starts in the future, in 1961. Julianne, the main character, flashes back to her carefree and privileged days as a teenager in Liverpool where she enjoys her days filled with friends and suitors. These wistful days come to an end when she finds out that she has a twin brother, Charles, who has been institutionalized since birth. Her parents’ need for perfection in every facet of life confounds her. Why wasn’t she told about her brother? She visits him monthly without her parents knowledge. While visiting her brother, Julianne meets the son of the groundskeeper, Kyle, who takes a special interest in Charles and tries to make his days happier. Julianne is instantly taken by this most kind and handsome young man. Unfortunately, Kyle is Catholic, which goes against her parents’ Protestant beliefs. On top of that, Kyle is also studying to become a priest. Can these social and moral obstacles be overcome for love? Camille Di Maio takes us on a 20 year journey in the lives of these two main characters that begin at the onset of WW2.
I couldn’t put this wonderful book down. WW2 is one of my favorite themes to read about, and Ms. Di Maio’s portrayal of this time in history was so very interesting. She transported me to war torn England and its aftermath with her terrific writing. I felt so very many emotions: love, anger, happiness and surprise. A few tears were shed along the way, which is always a good indicator that the book is great. A must read!!
Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this most wonderful book!
Rating: 5 stars
Title: The Memory of Us
Author: Camille Di Maio
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