Memories of the Storm (by Marcia Willett)

I do like Marcia Willett's books. I'm slowly re-reading the ones I've collected over the past ten or eleven years, but am always delighted to be given - or to order - a new one that I haven't previously read.

'Memories of the Storm', unlike some of her other novels, does not - as far as I have noticed - involve characters who have had roles in other books, so it stands totally alone. I found it a warm and engaging book.

Hester, who I suppose is in her early 70s, but is still pretty active and rather bohemian, lives in the family home. From time to time she provides a refuge for her goddaughter Cleo, who is currently involved in a rather unsuitable relationship and isn't too happy in her job. Then they meet a young man called Jonah who is working in the district, and whose mother Lucy stayed with Hester as a child during the war.

Lucy has refused to talk about her childhood until now, but encourages Jonah to talk to Hester. Her life has never been easy, and she's currently struggling as carer to her incapacitated husband. Gradually it becomes clear that Lucy's perception of events in childhood, and particularly of the stormy evening when she moved away, are rather different from Hester's. It seems to be the right time to re-visit the past, although it isn't easy.

The past and present intertwine well, and the story gradually unfolds with some tension as we wait to discover what the real truth is. I found it a bit complicated at first, and hard to keep track of all the people, but by the end was enjoying it immensely.


Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 6th March 2010

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