“The Memory of Us” by Camille Di Maio is the story of a girl from a family in post-war Britain beginning in 1937. The young socialite, Julianne Wescott, decided to apply to nursing school to try to make a difference and also to irritate her parents who expected her to be a socialite wife. She meets an Irish lad and falls hard for him. There is a slight problem however as he is studying to be a priest in the Catholic faith. She is an Anglican, but not a church goer.
This is the story of their life together and apart. Of course, the entrance of Great Britain in the war and the subsequent bombing of England by the Nazis created tragedies from which not all will survive.
I was moved by the depth of love and devotion I felt from the main characters of this novel. I was also very interested in the lives of those, who before the war, tried to maintain life as they wanted it to be. I was saddened by the turn of events that brought changes in their lives, but heartened as they began again.
Ms. Di Maio writes in a plain, compelling way to bring the reader into the story. This is her debut novel and I will be looking for other works by her in the future.
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?