The Memory of Us
by Camille Di Maio
Lake Union Publishing, May 2016
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?
Juliann Westcott, the debutant daughter of a Liverpool shipping magnate, discovers a blind and deaf twin brother locked away in an institution. It’s at the institution that Juliann meets gardener Kyle McCarthy, an impoverished Irishman who is studying to be a priest. Despite her parents’ strong disapproval of Kyle’s social standing and religion, Juliann and Kyle fall in love and elope.
In London, Kyle takes on odd jobs, while Juliann studies to be a nurse, but after Kyle enlists to fight the Germans, the Blitz forces Juliann to return to Liverpool. While staying with a friend in a basement shelter, a German firebomb changes Juliann forever and she makes a choice that changes her life, and Kyle’s, forever. Then, 20 years later, at the bedside of a dying woman, nurse Juliann runs into priest Kyle again and must face the consequences of those long ago choices.
A classic rich girl-poor boy tale takes a slightly different turn amidst the rubble of a bombed out building. This is a tale of redemption, of forgiveness, and of reconciliation. Mostly, this is a tale of hope—that despite the worst that life and fear can unleash, there is still a chance for love to win. The predictability of the plot is easily forgiven in view of the sweetness of the ending.
I’m particularly proud to say that this author is not only a mega-selling real estate agent by day but also homeschools her four children—oh and writes novels too. She must be a superwoman! And I’m not usually one to gush over cover art, but this cover is lovely.