Publication Date: 26th September 2012
Book Source: Penguin Books Aust & NetGalley
Synopsis: 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 households 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.
I've been meaning to read this Australian author for ages so when The House of Memories came up on NetGalley I snapped it up.
Tragedy has a way of drawing people together or tearing them apart, no in-between. Sadly it can be the outcome you least expect or the outcome loved one's least benefit from that actually occurs, especially when guilt and blame come into play. People deal with tragedy and grief differently, there's no right or wrong way, it just ... is. You may not be alone in your grief but it can feel like you are and while it hurts to see someone you love hurting and pushing others away you cannot make them accept or feel a certain way, even if you know that 'way' will heal their heart.
Ella is so consumed by her pain and grief the only thing she can think to do is escape, for her it's not a choice, but a case of survival. But the thing about grief is, the faster you run, the harder you fight ... it's a tenacious bugger, sitting on your shoulder, regardless.
For such a tragic read I didn't find it overly sad, not in a heart breaking, handful of soggy tissues way. I'm a big sook and surprisingly I didn't cry, at all, but don't get the idea that The House of Memories isn't well written, because it is. Maybe it's Ella's emotional detachment and McInerney's writing that conveys it so eloquently ... there's a sense of matter-of-factness, a bluntness to the retelling, an emotional disconnection, it doesn't make less of the tragedy, but for me it expressed the isolation, pain and detachment convincingly.
I adored Ella's eccentric Uncle Lucas and her relationship with half brother Charlie was lovely. Ella was truly blessed to have such a loving, supportive family; a family willing to wait, give her space and love her unconditionally, a family not adverse to a little conspiring to draw her to certain realisations when the time was right.
I'm not sure I've worded this well, The House of Memories is not the usual telling of love and loss but it's touching and ultimately hope and forgiveness shine through.
Has anyone else read a Monica McInerney novel they recommend?
Want to know more about Monica McInerney? Visit her website.