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, whose 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.
I sit up with a heavy gasp, my nightdress moist with fear, triggered by a nightmare in which a hooded giant, his steps vibrating under my feet, had chased me. Just as I was about to hide behind a bush close to a lake, a rough hand grabbed my head, pulling at my long hair, then lifted me off the floor like Jane in King Kong before dropping me into the still grey water and pushing me under the dark surface.
Nightmares are the remnants of confusing, unsettling years, although I am getting better at shaking off the anxiety that triggers those dark images of losing control.
‘Calm down, Lizzie. Deep breaths,’ I whisper to myself, relieved to hear that I’ve not woken my young son. Now, get up, lazybones. This is your special day… let nothing or no one spoil it. I admonish myself, smile, and within minutes stand under a hot shower, washing away the last remnants of my dream and, with it, the debilitating impression of never being enough. It’s a curious statement at the best of times. How can anyone ever declare to a fellow human that they are not enough for them, not doing enough, not talented, pretty or strong enough? I grew up with this feeling of not being enough. For a long time, I even imagined that it was fine, that it was normal, and that all the other children in my school experienced the same insecurities, the constant urge to thrive, to better themselves. We were malleable and flawed little beings and the adults were perfect, knew everything there was to know and had an answer to every question.
It’s embarrassing how naive I was, because it only dawned on me later that things were different for most of my classmates. The realisation made me feel hollow at first, but I felt hope a year later when I started to shine at something. During my final year at primary school my teacher had discovered a musical prodigy she said, and I kidded myself that I had reached the end of the road, that all my efforts had paid off at last. Relief coursed through my veins at the astonishing sight of my mother’s sudden admiration for me. At last her daughter had a talent she could boast about at the school gates. Her enthusiasm gave me hope for a few years and it was exhilarating to find a purpose that gave me a sense of worth, and with or without the approval of my mother, music became my haven.
I smile now thinking about those years gone by – the years during which I could cement a small layer of confidence and direction into my life. They gave me the opportunity to see that if I set my mind to it and worked hard, I would reach and touch happiness. However only few people valued me for who I was, no matter whether or not I could play Mozart. My grandad was the first to do so, followed by my father, my first music teacher and then, much later, Juanita and Cathy, two fellow students I met at university.
As for my relationship with my mother, it was a tiring and confusing journey. There was always something at odds. Good examples are my school photographs. Either it was a strand of hair standing up, a hair clip squint, my expression too stern or my smile tainted by braces. The palms of my hands would always be sticky, my fingers trembling when holding up the envelope containing yet another faulty set of photos to my expectant mother. Each time I hoped that at least once she would see what my teacher had called ‘a pretty smile’, ‘sparkling eyes’, or my ‘lovely hair’ because I never gave up trying to please her.
My review will be available at the end of the tour. As the Social Media Manager for Love Books Tours, I felt it was best for me to share my thoughts when my work for this book tour ended. Stay tuned!
Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy, specializing in the study of the mind.
Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first novel, Manipulated Lives, a fictional collection of five novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists.