Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I stare down at my naked feet, now sinking into the mud, my attempt to escape the thick slick earth increasing my dread that no one can hear my desperate scream for help.”
Wow, such a beautiful story! I am genuinely lost for words (despite me writing a 2000+ word review) and this one will definitely stay in my mind for a long time to come. A powerful, thought-provoking book with such deeply developed characters, each with their own unique backstory. I’m honoured to be opening this blog tour with loads of other fantastic book bloggers!
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?
The opening chapter to the book was both beautiful and heartbreaking. On the one hand, we see the author’s clear talent for writing fiction, introducing us to such a lovely, likeable character, Lizzie, and a writing style to wow any reader! On the other hand, we learn a lot about Lizzie’s childhood memories and the uncertain relationship she had with her mother growing up, which was really quite saddening. This sets the story up well, and I couldn’t fault it! With such thorough detail so early on, I found it easy to relate to this character and I felt like I’d gotten to know her so well already. The story continues to be told from two different perspectives which I always find interesting, so it would be great to see how this developed over the course of the book. After the first chapter, I wanted to know more about Lizzie, and exactly how another character and narrator, Morag, fitted into the story.
I loved learning more about Lizzie and Morag’s friendship, and it seemed as though the pair were incredibly close. Morag seems completely lost since Lizzie and her son, Jamie, left. I was really curious as to why they left and I needed to know exactly what they left behind. The pace of the book was fantastic and we get such a detailed backstory to further aid our understanding of the book. Each character we meet is perfectly portrayed and has obviously been created with such great care and attention. It was easy to get lost in the story and I found that the minutes ticked by without me even realising! I had some questions in my mind about Markus and exactly how the birth of his son changed him, but I was confident that my questions would be answered later in the story. The opening of the book was faultless and I found it to be such a solid, powerful reading experience. I couldn’t wait to see what came next!
The author has a very unique way of taking you on a journey like no other, where the reader is deeply rooted into the plot like we’re right there alongside the characters. We learn so much about Lizzie’s life and the detail is simply out of this world. The pace is great and the description made every single paragraph pop out of the page. The way the author has written the story up to now and her tone of voice is rather soothing in a way, and it was so easy to get lost in the words. As much as I loved learning the intricate details of Lizzie and Morag’s lives, I was desperate to see how the story took a different turn when Lizzie leaves with her son, and just how Morag would cope. I found myself close to tears after reading about the loss of Lizzie’s grandfather and her mother, and the author sure does know how to pull at those heart strings! So powerful, so poetic and completely and utterly flawless.
“There are no half measures with you, Morag. You switch from confidence to paranoia in a heartbeat.”
It’s clear Lizzie still feels a sort of loss in her adult life and I found the book provided plenty of food for thought for the reader. Morag doesn’t seem to be too fond of Markus and the more I read, the more I seemed to agree with her! He wasn’t there for the birth of his child, he didn’t step up to be the father he should have been when Lizzie needed him the most, and I felt like there was something hidden within him that we are yet to discover. Each piece of the story was placed together so well, and I enjoyed how it was unraveling at this stage. I loved Morag’s character – she seemed so kind and gentle, and that she’d do anything she could to help Lizzie, but was there something more to this character, something we don’t see on the surface? Was she hiding a secret of her own? I had absolutely no idea where this story would go, but I couldn’t wait to find out!
The trials and tribulations of giving birth and the unfamiliarity of caring for a new little human has been portrayed so well by the author, and Lizzie is going through quite a tough time. My suspicions began to escalate about Markus, and just why he seems to be steering clear of his responsibilities of being a new father and not using any common sense when he does pitch in. With a new job role confirmed meaning Markus will need to spend more time away from Lizzie and little Jamie, Lizzie will need Morag’s help more than ever to cope. Is Markus being entirely truthful? What is the real reason for his actions? The story continues to get deeper and yet more detailed, and with some of the issues raised, I felt some readers would really be able to relate. The author continues to cover very real themes which I appreciated and I found myself connecting with the theme and the characters well.
Morag devises a plan to get back into Markus’ good books as she’s longing to spend more time with Lizzie and her new baby. She’s been desperate to have grandkids of her own since having her own children, and I found it so sweet that she wanted to help Lizzie so much! However, I started to feel a little worried for this character as she begins to experience some strange things in her home. Being a widow and living on her own, this must have been particularly terrifying for her! Is someone or something really trying to break into her home, or is she simply being a forgetful elderly person? Morag’s character was my favourite so far in the book and I quickly became so attached to her. I couldn’t help but feel like there was some sort of danger mounting – I wasn’t sure for which character yet, but it was like there was something in the air. At the halfway point, I was enjoying the book so much that I felt that if it went on forever, I’d be more than happy to continue reading! The sign of an amazing book, that’s for sure.
The thought of having some time away from Jamie terrifies Lizzie, even though her husband and friends tell her it’ll do her some good. I’m not a mother myself so I don’t know if this is common, but the thought of leaving him, even for a few hours, makes her feel very panicky. Lizzie and Morag begin to spend more time with each other and she becomes so supportive while Markus saunters off to the gym or a long work meeting. His excuses start to escalate further and when Lizzie’s debit card gets declined, things get even more suspicious. I needed to know what this guy was hiding and he needed putting in his place! I was so glad Lizzie had Morag to make her see sense and to question all these strange scenarios that could potentially mean trouble. Morag was dealing with loneliness herself and it broke my heart! The conversations she has with Lizzie, someone she can trust, are just so beautiful and the dialogue used by the author is perfect. We can see the connection between these characters and each meeting between them was something special.
“Those words melted my hurt like ice cubes dissolving under a hot sun.”
It’s Lizzie’s turn to experience strange incidents in her own home – she returns to find windows and doors open with no recollection of leaving them open before she left. Was Lizzie and Jamie in danger? Did someone want to take her child? I had so many theories running through my head, perhaps some a little too extreme, and I began to get nervous for the characters I’d grown to love throughout the book. The author made me feel every emotion ten fold and built up an unusual suspense in the best way! Morag seems to have her own plans and we don’t know what these are at this stage – getting on well with Markus was the first step and I was eager to find out more about this! Would it be a positive thing? Or is she far from the sweetest caring neighbour we know her to be? With Morag spending more and more time in the new parents’ space, I was concerned how this would effect Lizzie and Markus. Had she overstepped the line? I was so excited for the ending of the book and to see just how things would work out for all the characters!
With a gradual change in personality and an unhealthy obsession becoming apparent in one particular character, the nature of the book was changing, and I’d probably even say it was turning a little darker than I expected! I found my opinions on certain characters changed dramatically as we got nearer to those final few chapters and I actually began to feel a little nervous for Lizzie and little Jamie. The way the author has turned things around like this was so impressive and completely unexpected, and the plot was turning into something much more clever than I first thought it would. I appreciated the alternating points of view even more at this point as we really see some true colours, even some potentially dangerous outcomes for some of the characters too. I couldn’t tear myself away from the pages the deeper I got into the action, the deceit and the lies, and I found the whole reading experience simply unforgettable.
My eyes were well and truly tearing up as things progressed (not that they weren’t at other points in the book) and as Lizzie gained more strength, she found herself deciding what was best for her and her family, and sticking to her guns. Lizzie’s past and present begins to collide and I thought the link between the two was written incredibly well, and it was an outcome I never saw coming. The author has continued to amaze me all the way through this book, and has thrown a few curve balls in there to really shock and intrigue the reader even more! I had so many thoughts going through my head at this point and I found myself feeling so many emotions so deeply. Putting yourself in the shoes of each character was so easy, and I had so many hopes for the ending of the book. Would Lizzie be able to find herself? Would Morag find some peace?
As answers to burning questions are revealed, we get quite the shock about one certain character, which made me want to start the book again and read the things I hadn’t quite connected together the first time round! Everything began to slot into place and it just left me more amazed by how well this story came together. I just loved everything about the book; how involving the beginning and middle of the story was, and now how much the ending really ties everything together. I still don’t know how to feel about everything I’ve learned! With the final chapter looming, I was desperate for a happy ending for all these characters. Even though I haven’t seen eye to eye with a few of them, I still felt as though their intentions were meant well and that problems we’ve encountered throughout the book could be resolved. What would the outcome be?
“I’d been convinced that you could pack up your memories and bury them deep in the ground, imagining all the thick mud and stones weighing them down, so that it would be impossible for them to ever worm their way back up to the surface.”
The detail at the end of the book was extraordinary. Loose ends are tied and we get a great explanation for why certain characters acted how they did. I felt a lot of characters in the book learned a few life lessons, especially after their mistakes and, yet again, I found myself becoming overwhelmed with emotion. The author’s words well and truly got me and this book will not be forgotten for a long time! I feel the book taught a lot about getting to know people and having the right people around you when times are tough – even the fact that it is possible to love too much. The letter written from Morag’s perspective will leave you with a different outlook on life, I guarantee! This book is a definite five star read, but I’d give it more if I could. Absolutely astounding.
This book should definitely win an award or two! I can’t quite believe the journey I’ve just had, but it’s been such an emotional reading experience. I connected to Lizzie and Morag’s characters so well, felt every emotion under the sun and was left in awe due to the author’s incredible story-telling skills. If you’re not ashamed of having a little cry, (because believe me, you will) and you’re looking for something that will hit you with powerful paragraphs, dialogue and all-round emotion, this is definitely one to add to your list. I feel like giving everyone in my family the biggest hug right now! An absolutely unforgettable book and one that I’ll be buying in paperback for my bookshelf!
Thank you so much to the author, H. A. Leuschel, and Emma at Damp Pebbles for my copy of The Memories We Bury and my place on the blog tour! You can purchase your own copy of the book on Amazon, available on Kindle and paperback. Make sure you follow the author on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates!