I don't tend to read a lot of thriller books. I have nothing against them, they're just not something I gravitate towards. However, after making some terrible mistakes in regards to personal reading, now when I look for new books to review I simply ask for a surprise. The Memories We Bury by H.A. Leuschel was one such book.
When I first started it, I didn't think much of it and was tempted not to finish it. There seems to be a style for authors writing pieces that vary from one narrator's perspective to another and back with each chapter, and it's not something I'm overly fond of. Although it can be helpful, I sometimes find myself getting lost in the narration and not quite knowing who's perspective I'm reading from. Regardless, I carried on and finished the book in one sitting.
Unlike the book I previously reviewed, the plot line for this book is relatively simple. A young woman, Lizzie, and her husband Markus move in next door to an elderly woman named Morag, who carves a place for herself in their lives as a means of satisfying her need for grandchildren. What starts off as a friendly relationship becomes toxic and manipulative as Morag attempts to convince Lizzie's husband and friends that she is suffering from post-natal depression and is incapable of caring for her young child Jamie.
As I said, I don't normally like books that write different chapters from different narrator's perspectives, but in this instance, I feel it really benefitted the text. From Lizzie's perspective, you can see how she is initially grateful for, and then comes to depend on, Morag's help, especially as her husband becomes more and more absent as the text progresses. Her sections of the text also draw on her relationship with her own cold and withdrawn mother and show us how Lizzie comes to see Morag as the mother she never had, as is her intention. Reading her narrative also allows us to see how Morag's behaviour becomes progressively more manipulative and shows us how she becomes a danger to Lizzie and her newborn son Jamie.
Reading from Morag's perspective, however, allows us to understand why Morag is acting the way she is, at least to a degree. From the beginning, we know that she craves grandchildren and that she is a widow living alone who's children seldom come to visit. By seeing how she portrays herself as the kind and considerate neighbour, we see how her actions are entirely based upon her desire for grandchildren, and how she sees becoming a part of Lizzie and Jamie's life as a way of giving her the relatives she craves so badly. Whilst her actions start off as well-meaning, we soon see her actions becoming more and more dangerous and manipulative.
It is as the book progresses that the divide between the two narrators becomes more and more effective in aiding the progression of the plotline. We not only see Morag's behaviour intensify and Lizzie's doubt begin to grow, but we are also given an explanation for why she acts the way that she does.
As I said, at first I didn't have high hopes for the book and I do not think I will read it again. However, I did finish the book in one sitting and am sat here writing this review immediately afterwards with what can only be described as a severe case of the heebie-jeebies, and I think that makes it a very good thriller indeed.