It’s fair to say I haven’t read nearly as much as I planned to on holiday, so I’m a tad behind on this blogmas feature, but here’s the second of my recommendations from the lovely Aimee. I plan to read everything from my original list, the reviews will just be later than I planned.
Aimee said: “I’m throwing this book on my list as a whim because it arrived in a subscription box that I received today but it sounds dark & magical. That book is The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace.”
My thoughts: Dark and magical about sums it up. It also has fire. Aimee’s recommendations speak to my bookish soul. The Memory Trees is a beautifully intricate novel about family, secrets, memory, mental health, history, feuds and grief.
This novel follows Sorrow Lovegood’s life after the death of her sister Patience. Sorrow cannot remember much of her life from that time. Her parents are separated and her relationship with both is strained as she feels she cannot be herself around them. She knows her mother had a breakdown, but does not remember what happened and her father is worried Sorrow is also having a breakdown. Back in the home she grew up in, Sorrow is reminded of her family’s long standing feud with the Abrams family and the impact this has on the town.
The feuds are a really fascinating aspect of this story: no-one really seems to know why they are fighting any more but the feelings of hatred on both sides are still strong. Cassie particularly still has intense feelings about this and it takes a long time for us to discover why this is.
The history and secrets of the Lovegood family are revealed slowly in a gripping and tense story. It is written partly in the present time and partly in the past as Sorrow discovers more about her family and herself.
The Memory Trees also focuses strongly on grief and the different ways different family members grieve their losses. If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you will know that this is a topic that fascinates me.
The thing I loved most about this book was how everything is tied back to the trees. The orchard mourns the family losses as much as the humans do, with “witch weather” in the orchard indicating a death. Kali writes: “The witch weather wasn’t revenge. It was the orchard’s way of mourning” and I thought this was a really beautiful concept, along with the Lovegood tradition of planting an Ash tree for every death in the family: “Their only ceremony was giving the dead back to the earth and planting a new life to mark its passage”. This idea had me itching to fill my garden with trees, it’s such a beautiful way of remembering.
I absolutely loved, loved, LOVED this book and I would urge everyone to read it.
Thank you so much for the recommendation Aimee!