The Memories We Bury by H.A. Leuschel

Synopsis:

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.


Leuschel is a very talented author who obviously knows a great deal about narcissism and personality disorders (if that’s the correct wording?), she weaves this knowledge in to her stories and though it can be quite tough going and feel a little bit intense, she beautifully illustrates what it’s like to be connected to a narcissist.

Lizzie is pregnant with her first child and doesn’t have a mother figure in her life to help her grow into this stage of her life, until Morag, the kindly next door neighbour, steps in with her expertise and advice as a retired paediatric nurse.

It starts out very sweetly at first, a woman who’s always wanted to be a grandmother stepping in to help a vulnerable young mum and give her the benefit of her wisdom, until things don’t go quite her way and we see how she deals with that. Lizzie’s husband, Markus, is less than enthusiastic about becoming a father and his determination to keep his pre-child life is infuriating.

The chapters alternate between the perspectives of Lizzie and Morag, letting you get a good peek inside their minds and their different interpretations of events.
What really made this book shine for me was that the author includes the background of both main characters, so we can begin to understand why they behave the way that they do, even if that doesn’t absolve them of responsibility. This deep dive into the psychology of abusers and victims is as fascinating as it is disturbing and trust me, it was disturbing. I found myself having to put the book down a few times to gain some distance from the narrative – it’s intense.

This isn’t just a book on psychology though, it’s a battle of wills between two people, though one of them doesn’t know that right away. The suspense is excellent, it’s impossible to guess how the story is going to progress given the unreliable natures of the narrators and you have to interpret things for yourself. I really enjoyed the ending of this book, which tied events up neatly though I wasn’t sure that it would for a while!

If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, grab this book and devour it. It’s educational as well as a compelling read, people like these characters really do exist and live among us!

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