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Book Review – The Memory Child By Steena Holmes

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When Brian finds out that his wife, Diane, is pregnant, he is elated. He’s been patiently waiting for twelve years to become a father. But Diane has always been nervous about having children because of her family’s dark past. The timing of the pregnancy also isn’t ideal—Diane has just been promoted, and Brian is being called away to open a new London office for his company.

Fast-forward one year: being a mother has brought Diane a sense of joy that she’d never imagined and she’s head over heels for her new baby, Grace. But things are far from perfect: Brian has still not returned from London, and Diane fears leaving the baby for even a moment. As unsettling changes in those around Diane began to emerge, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems.

A woman’s dark past collides head-on with her mysterious present in this surreal and gripping family drama

Women are made of steel. This was my first thought once I finished this book. My second thought was, wowsers…think I’ll need a few days to let that story sink in and settle! And I have. I actually finished this book last week. I started reading it after lunch and by bedtime that same night I was finished. I could not put it down. Sometimes I really didn’t want to keep reading. Didn’t want the words to drag me down the path I knew they were taking me….but yet I did at the same time.

I felt like I was in the twilight zone, where everyone was speaking a language only I couldn’t understand.

The writing flicks between Brian’s POV in the year previous and Diane’s POV in the current day. I found this such an interesting way to approach the book. It made for stark definition in the story being told and I don’t think the story could’ve been as dramatic if it had just been from her point of view for the entire book. Having Brian speaking really allowed Steena Holmes to emphasise things about Diane and situations that maybe wouldn’t have come up otherwise. Complimenting this was the introduction of the other supporting characters. Their actions and discussions, no matter how subtle, all were instrumental in building the story and unravelling the mystery of what had happened and what was happening.

I did kind of have an idea of what was going on in this book beneath the surface, not a complete picture, but enough to build myself a kind of hypothesis as I was reading. I think generally most people would get the gist of what the inevitable end was going to be. But I think in this instance, the journey to the end, not the end itself was intended to make the biggest (heartbreaking) impression. So I didn’t feel short changed at all, I think if I did then I would’ve been missing the point to the story, which was watching a woman battling to make sense of her world, make sense of her feelings and thoughts and find her reality amongst her chaos.

Except, no matter how many promises someone made to me, I always ended up alone. Always.

This book is not for those of you who want rainbows and happy endings for your next read. But if you can put the rainbows on hold for half a day you should definitely sit down and give it a go. I just recommend that you make yourself a comforting cup of tea and maybe have a block of chocolate handy, because you’re going to need it.

The Memory Child

By Steena Holmes

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