Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Familysaga – The Memory by Judith Barrow

Delighted to have been asked to review the latest book by Judith Barrow the compelling family drama The Memory.

About the book

Mother and daughter tied together by shame and secrecy, love and hate.

I wait by the bed. I move into her line of vision and it’s as though we’re watching one another, my mother and me; two women – trapped.

Today has been a long time coming. Irene sits at her mother’s side waiting for the right moment, for the point at which she will know she is doing the right thing by Rose.

Rose was Irene’s little sister, an unwanted embarrassment to their mother Lilian but a treasure to Irene. Rose died thirty years ago, when she was eight, and nobody has talked about the circumstances of her death since. But Irene knows what she saw. Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty, betrayal and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past and finds hope for the future.

“…A book that is both powerful and moving, exquisitely penetrating. I am drawn in, empathising so intensely with Irene that I feel every twinge of her frustration, resentment, utter weariness and abiding love.Thorne Moore

Judith Barrow’s greatest strength is her understanding of her characters and the times in which they live; The Memory is a poignant tale of love and hate in which you will feel every emotion experienced by Irene.” Terry Tyler

The new novel from the bestselling author of the Howarth family saga

My review for the book – A page turner from start to finish.

Judith Barrow has always created characters that are clearly defined and memorable. This is the case again in her latest book about family with all its complexities, particularly within the relationship of mother and daughter. What appears to be an idyllic childhood for Irene changes with the arrival of Rose, who has Down’s and the distance that her mother Lillian creates between herself and her husband and children.

As their world implodes, three generations of women find themselves under the same roof and after Rose dies, guilt and suspicion create an even bigger chasm between them all.

Irene’s childhood friend, Sam,  becomes the love of her life and the buffer between Irene and her mother . He has his own family dynamics to come to terms with, and their relationship is tested with duty determining its direction. Dreams are put on hold, as commitment to both Irene’s and Sam’s parents take precedence.

The underlying mystery about Rose’s death is explored throughout the book as the two timelines of the 1970s and 2002 synchronise in vivid flashbacks. This enables the reader to understand the reasons behind the fractured relationship between the women, and also to appreciate why Irene is still driven to care for her mother as she slips into dementia. As the house becomes a prison for them both, the essence of Rose keeps them both tethered to each other despite Lillian’s mental state, and the wedge being created between Irene and Sam.

When it looks like the situation is going to become even more complex and dire, a revelation turns Irene’s life on its head. One that is brilliantly unexpected .

I have enjoyed all of Judith Barrow’s family saga novels involving the Howarth Family and this new book is every bit as absorbing and heartwarming as they were. Wonderfully written with an easy flow between the two timelines, it was not easy to put down.

I can recommend to all lovers of mysteries and stories that portray the complexities of human relationships with such expertise.

Buy the book : Amazon UK

And:  Amazon US

Also by Judith Barrow

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Judith: Goodreads

About Judith Barrow

Judith Barrow,originally from Saddleworth, a group of villages on the edge of the Pennines,has lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for forty years.

She has an MA in Creative Writing with the University of Wales Trinity St David’s College, Carmarthen. BA (Hons) in Literature with the Open University, a Diploma in Drama from Swansea University and She has had short stories, plays, reviews and articles, published throughout the British Isles and has won several poetry competitions..

She is a Creative Writing tutor for Pembrokeshire County Council and holds private one to one workshops on all genres.

Connect to Judith

Blog: Judith Barrow
Twitter: @judithbarrow77
Facebook : Judith Barrow Author

I hope that my review will encourage you to head over to buy and read Judith’s latest book and thanks for dropping in.. Sally.

39 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Familysaga – The Memory by Judith Barrow

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  2. Riveting review! Congrats to Judith! Human relationships you say? Right up my reading and writing alley. I’m looking forward to getting to this book. Sounds more like a psychological thriller mixed in the family story. ❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations to Judith and to you for a great review. I have many of her books to catch up with. I wonder if once I finish the course I might pick up speed, but like Jacqui, I’m struggling to concentrate on more than one thing at a time. Keep well!

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  6. I’ve read all of Judith Barrow’s books, so I bought this as soon as it came out. I liked the structure of this book a lot – it’s written in the first person, and each chapter starts with a small section in the present day (2002), with Irene, the main character, taking care of her mother, who has dementia.
    Wonderfully reviewed. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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