I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Memory of Us was written by debut author Camille DiMaio. One of the first scenes involves protagonist Julianne visiting her twin brother at the institution that serves as his home. Julianne is not supposed to know that her brother exists; not only is she aware of him, she also makes regular clandestine visits to spend time with him. This defiance of convention and of parental wishes sets the tone for the rest of the book.
It is at Bootle House that Julianne first encounters Kyle McCarthy. Julianne is accustomed to moving in the upper echelons of Liverpool society, and Kyle is completely like any of the other boys that she knows. Not only is he an Irish Catholic, but he also attends a seminary and intends to become a priest.
These two very different young people are drawn to each other. Even if they could manage to transcend the boundaries of socioeconomics and religion (she is Protestant), it is the late 1930s, and all signs point to a war on the European continent.
The Memory of Us is an incredible book, and a testament to the things that can happen to people torn apart by war and grief and uncertainty. DiMaio has clearly done a great deal of research, and I loved watching a vivid portrait of life in the 1930s unfold on each page. I was entranced by her descriptions of clothes, and even more by the descriptions of food.
I would absolutely recommend The Memory of Us. This book demonstrates the lengths that people will go to for love. DiMaio has done a wonderful job with characterization, and this is manifested in the smallest of gestures rather than some of the more overt actions. I found myself reading quickly because I was constantly in a state of anticipation, and needed to know what was going to happen next. I enjoyed The Memory of Us, and I am looking forward to reading more from Camille DiMaio.