The Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio | Rating: ★★★★☆
As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Net Galley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
Although tales of star crossed lovers are common in all forms of entertainment, the forbidden romance trope is very much so a go-to when writing a love story. Many would argue that it is overdone and perhaps that is true, but in some cases the "I want what I can't have" element adds a little spice to a story and propels us into a world of romance and envy. The Memory of Us sports this trope and gives it a true, solid, heart that will have readers intrigued from the get-go.
There are quite a few things I should state, first, before tackling my review of this novel. First, is that it it is Di Maio's debut novel--a damn good one, at that, and I expect we shall be hearing more from her in the future. What's most striking about The Memory of Us is its delightful, realistic and heartfelt prose. Camille's words breathe life into the story and reader and will leave the audience feeling quite pleased throughout. Indeed, it is most easy to lose yourself in it. There's so much heart and warmth to the story that I promise you, readers, you will come out of it feeling something.
Secondly, if you hadn't caught onto it based on the plot description and cover art alone, it is a historical fiction. I know, I know, I say it often--but it's never easy when dipping your toes in historical fiction. Camille Di Maio is one of those authors, however, who showcases her talent in doing so and certainly did her research. She portrays the timeline fantastically, accurate and I cannot stress this enough.
The last thing I should tell you, readers, is that the story is told during two different timelines. There are flashbacks. It's a story told throughout decades and while that may put-off many readers, it is done spectacularly. Just be sure to remain alert while flipping the pages. I, personally, loved seeing it done this way, because it just felt genuine to hear the story told in such a manner. I couldn't put it down.
As for the relationship... Julianne and Kyle's relationship is emotional. Heartfelt. Sincere. I can't explain it but in spite of the star crossed trope, there's something very deep and gratifying about their love for one another in spite of all the bad in the world, in spite of the forbidden nature. You can see and feel how they love one another and I think that's incredibly sweet and romantic without losing touch of their reality. You want them to get a happy ending--you want it with your whole heart and there's just such a profound attachment between not only the two, but paired with the audience as well.
There are many plots in between, too, that will tug at your heartstrings and I encourage readers to have tissues handy just in case. Because the plot of The Memory of Us is so upfront, I don't want to risk spoiling the entire story for everyone, so I will say this: it's going to leave its mark on you. My review will remain spoiler free. As for cons of the story, there wasn't many--but the few that were there did dip my rating down to a 4-star instead of 5. Overall, The Memory of Us is sweet and emotional; the perfect read this summer and an ideal start for a budding novelist.