February 23, 2014 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm
The House of Memories by Monica McInerney
Publisher/Year: Penguin Australia, 26 September 2012
Genre: Contemporary Adult Fiction
Source: I bought it!
Other books from author: A Taste For It, Upside Down, Inside Out, The Alphabet Sisters, Family Baggage, Odd One Out, The Faraday Girls, Spin The Bottle, At Home With The Templetons, Lola’s Secret
Sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are those that matter most.
Following a tragic accident, Ella O’Hanlon flees to the other side of the world in an attempt to escape her grief, leaving behind the two people she blames for her loss: Aidan, the love of her life, and Jess, her spoilt half-sister.
In London Ella is taken in by her beloved uncle Lucas, whose extraordinary house holds many wonderful memories for her. Along with other members of the very colourful Fox family, Lucas helps Ella to see that she is not the only one still hurting, and that forgiveness can be the greatest healer in a family and in a marriage.
For anyone who has ever loved and lost, this is an exquisitely moving and life-affirming novel by the internationally bestselling author of Lola’s Secret.
What I Thought…
I bought this book on a bit of whim one day in October 2012 when I was in the CBD trying to kill a few hours. I was there for an appointment in the early afternoon and I was meeting up with some friends later in the evening, but I didn’t realise the appointment would finish so quickly, leaving a huge gap of time for me to fill… And what better way to fill time than with a book! I already owned two of Monica McInerney’s books at the time but I hadn’t read them, and this was a new release so I thought I’d give it a whirl. And boy I’m I glad that I did!
I read this book from start to finish in two sittings that day; I sat in my car and read for several hours before meeting up with my friends, and then I finished it off in bed that night (and early morning) when I got home. It completely engrossed me and I couldn’t put it down – I almost ditched my friends so I could finish reading it! The writing style reminded me a little of Jodi Picoult, with the book mostly written from Ella’s POV with occasional chapters from Aidan, Jess and Charlie’s respective POVs, and also in the way it jumped around a bit from the present to the past and back again. I’ve always enjoyed this style of writing, and McInerney masters it beautifully in The House of Memories.
This book was heartfelt, poignant and it touched my heart. The characters were realistic and written in a way that evoked sympathy for their situation after the tragic accident, especially Ella. I don’t know how I would ever cope if I was to experience what Ella and Aidan went through, it’s got to be the worst thing that could ever happen to a parent. This book had all the feels, and I cried many times throughout. We all react to grief in different ways, and this book was a realistic protrayal of that and how it affected each character.
I remembered Henrietta’s words to me that night in the kitchen.
Grief is selfish.
The bond and relationships between the characters was well-developed, especially the relationship between Ella and her Uncle Lucas. He’s her go-to in all the hard times, from childhood to adulthood, and he’s the anchor she needs to help get her through her grief. I couldn’t stand Jess, she brought out such a negative reaction in me which is a testament to McInerney’s writing, and Ella’s parents drove me up the wall with their insensitivity at times.
I’ve since read most of McInerney’s other books, but this one still remains my favourite. If you’re looking for something heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time, you should give it a shot.
Rating: 4.5 Stars