The Memories We Bury – Won’t Be Forgotten (or, you know, repressed) Anytime Soon

Well folks, I’m the next stop on the blog tour for H.A. Leuschel’s new psychological suspense novel The Memories We Bury.  I normally like to write something bantery here and give a bit of a build-up but, honestly, I REALLY loved this novel so I’m just going to jump into it so I can get to gushing about how great this is.  Coolio?  Coolio!

Blog Tour 10Today I am thrilled to share with you all, H.A. Leuschel’s latest novel, The Memories We Bury, “An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood.”

From June 29th to July 5th, you can purchase her book for ONLY $0.99 on Amazon! You can also try to win a digital copy of The Memories We Bury by entering the giveaway below!

The Memories We Bury

Publication Date: April 17th, 2020

Genre: Contemporary/ Psychological Suspense

An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood.

Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, who’s own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control.

Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her?

In ‘The Memories We Bury’ the author explores the dangerous bonds we can create with strangers and how past memories can cast long shadows over the present.

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MY THOUGHTS:  This novel kept me up until 3:00 am.  And as soon as I’m done writing this, I’ll be ordering H.A. Leuschel’s collection of short stories, Manipulated Lives.  Do I even need to say anything else??  But OH MY GOSH.  This was absolutely fantastic!  I’m going to be very, very careful with what I have to say because the novel unfolds in this masterful way with this slow, mounting tension and I don’t want to even come close to spoiling anything for anyone.  Ok?  Ok.

Reading The Memories We Bury made me deeply uncomfortable.  And, as I write that, I get that can sound like a bad thing.  But I mean it in the best possible way!  With chapters alternating between Lizzie and Morag’s perspectives, the reader spends the entire novel inside their heads and the skill with which Leuschel crafts their webs of relationships, perspectives, and psychological struggles was so unnerving.  What made it unnerving was how accurate it felt.  I wasn’t a third of the way into the novel before I checked to see if Leuschel had a degree (or several) in psychology.  This wasn’t your generic psychological suspense/thriller novel with an unreliable narrator due to some trauma in their past and/or substance abuse issues and blah, blah, blah.  This was written by someone who understands how the heart and mind work.  She was so accurate in how she portrayed all these complex (which I can say, as it’s in the blurb and I’m not spoiling anything!) relationships and that’s why the book was so uncomfortable.  This was real.  I kept hearing my therapist’s voice in my head as I read pointing out red flags!

Exceptional.  Exquisite.  Gripping.  Haunting.  Pick the adjective, whatever you want, as long as it’s positive/glowing it works.  I’ve spent a lot of time telling family and friends about this novel since I finished it and I won’t be stopping anytime soon.  It was one of those books where, when I’d put it down, the characters’ mood affected my own.  You know?  When you’re so engrossed in a novel you’re in a good place if the characters are and, if they aren’t, you’re agitated right along with them until you can pick it up again – that was my experience reading The Memories We Bury.  Before I was halfway through the novel I was caring about Lizzie like she was a dear friend of mine.  And, as I’ve learned in therapy, since I’m an empath/helper by nature I just wanted to hug her and do anything I could to help!  But instead I just had to be tense and read!

This was brilliant.  I absolutely loved it!  And you can bet I’ll be rereading The Memories We Bury to see what it’s like when I know the ending.  But obviously I’m going to check-out Manipulated Lives first.

Excerpt

Chapter 2

I have never sent the letter but have unfolded it so many times it has frayed at the edges. Each time I read the lines and try anew to understand them, they swim away like fish in a lake trying to escape my feet as I trudge through the water.

I curse myself for keeping the damned letter after all this time because it is a constant reminder of the past, but I can’t make myself throw it in the bin. Will I ever make peace with it? Lizzie and Jamie have both left me, hence another reason to get up in the morning has long gone. I shake my head, still trying to comprehend the loss, even though it is now almost two and half years since Lizzie discarded me and moved away.

My own sister has ceased to show any sympathy about my distress and hence is of no help either. She’s made of tougher material than me, I guess. After a long and successful career in the police force, she took early retirement and dedicates her time to growing organic fruit and vegetables on a smallholding in the Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh. Lorna does at least stand by me though, as she knows about the strong bond I had with Lizzie and Jamie and that I’ve done everything for them. However, does she understand the loss I’ve had to endure? Lorna has never been a mother and no doubt a life in the police has lessened her ability to empathise over matters such as these.

‘Morag, what do you expect? Bad things happened; you know that,’ my sister said the last time we spoke over the phone.

‘You don’t understand, Lorna. Lizzie and Jamie were like family to me. It’s been over two years and… it’s still devastating.’

‘Yes, I can see that, Morag. May I remind you that you should know why that is by now. You need to focus on trying to patch things up with your own kids.’ Her voice sounded frustrated as it did at the end of every phone call.

‘I guess you’re right. There is not much else I can do than hope she comes to her senses.’ I could feel the exasperation at the other end of the line because it seemed like my sister had left or stopped breathing. It was a silence that meant disapproval about my last comment.

‘Morag, I must go, I have lots to do in the garden. Just try to get them out of your mind once and for all and…’ my sister said, stopping mid-sentence. I assumed that she didn’t want to go over the same story yet again. She needed to end the call before it got unbearable for both of us. ‘You’re lucky, Morag, that you still have me,’ she added and hung up, leaving me with my hand frozen with a surge of anger, the phone still pressed to my ear. Lucky? Nothing could be further from the truth.

I can’t forget the adorable squeals the wee chap used to emit when I stood in the kitchen feeding him his mixed vegetables, or played Peekaboo with him. Babies and

toddlers are easy to please. Young children don’t judge anyone, being an open receptacle for anything and anyone, and with Jamie, my life had felt filled up with his. I’d jumped over my own life when my children were born. It had come naturally, and again with Jamie, I did not hesitate for a second either.

Life is empty without him.

I stand and walk over to the windows to pull the curtain aside for what seems the umpteenth time today, dismay replacing hope at the realisation that my two best friends and neighbours are here no more. Even after all this time, I still have bad days, and this is one of them. Tears prick at the corner of my eyes and I wipe my wet cheeks with my fingers before I can find a tissue, and sob until my whole body aches and exhaustion replaces the sadness. I must spend some time in the bathroom later today to fix my face if I still want to look decent for my afternoon tea with Caitlin, my dear loyal friend.

Assuming the role of a mother to Lizzie and a grandmother to Jamie was what had fuelled every single cell of my body.

I stand up and turn to the coffee machine, wearily lifting a capsule of the strongest kind from the small metal rack. I picture Jamie in my mind, who’d marvelled at the capsules display stand. One day we’d invented a game of pass the capsule, and his eyes lit up as I pretended to make them disappear under a dish towel or into the centre of my hand. His eyes would focus and his face would turn serious at the realisation that the item had gone missing, and then he would break into a smile when I made the capsule appear in front of him again. He’d grab for it with such clumsy and innocent delight that I never tired of repeating the game, just to see his face light up. The power I held to focus his attention was addictive. We had that special connection, like a magnet drawn to another.

But all is in the past now. History. I have to admit to that bitter fact. My sister Lorna is right. What did I expect? That they would appear in front of me, throwing themselves into my open arms? I don’t believe in miracles, so that is one more option erased from my list.

I settle at the kitchen table with a small blueberry muffin and stir some milk into the cup of coffee steaming next to it. The comfort of food is something I shared with Lizzie. We understood each other there, and I loved sharing my culinary skills with her. We’d talk pie and cake recipes for hours, discuss ways of adding flavour to a simple tomato sauce for pasta dishes or how to make sure Jamie would never turn his nose up at vegetables because we’d prepared them with aromatic fresh herbs and olive oil.

Lizzie had never reached my level of expertise, but her eagerness had been endearing, and she never stopped showing her admiration for me. She even mentioned once that I could be a contestant on the Great British Bake Off. I toyed with the idea for a short time, and then shrugged my shoulders, despite the tempting image coming into my head of what it may feel like being crowned the best British baker. The second-best feeling, I answered with a smile, the best being a mother and grandmother.

My thoughts have calmed me, and the tasty muffin has added to my improved mood. I settle down in the living room and leaf through one of the oldest albums I’ve kept since my parents died. They contain family pictures taken during some of the few holiday trips abroad and photos taken of my sister and me in school uniform.

My eyes linger on a photo depicting my parents in stunning Christmas attire. My mother had picked her finest black dress, set with small sparkling crystals, which exposed her neck and revealed an ample chest. She’d tied up her blonde hair in a high bun, with one wavy strand escaping above her left ear. The diamond studs in her earlobes, a delicate silver chain around her neck, and subtle make-up and pink lipstick gave her appearance a perfect finish. Next to her, my father looked haughty but I had to give it to him he was the most elegant man I’d ever set eyes on. He had a physique that accommodated most styles. His shirts were always original and in fashion, and his regular visits to the hairdresser meant that he’d always look the part. It would be hard to judge which one of the two was the better looking.

I turn the page and spot a picture of Lorna at the age of four. She seems confident and proud to be holding an infant in her arms. She is my senior by eighteen months. Back then I’d looked up to my sister as if she’d been my mother. She gave me warmth and security and even now, as ladies in our sixties, the roles have changed little.

We grew up in a family where all the members competed for energy. Our parents reprimanded us with harsh words and severity we did not deserve most of the time. To the outside world, my parents were sparkling individuals, admired like you’d admire a vintage Bordeaux wine. I know this is a strange comparison but it conveys the idea that they wanted to stand out, for their special attributes and, to some extent, I get that. Appearances can blind you.

Our garden was impeccable, the house tidy to an inch of its life – even in our early years as toddlers, a visitor would never know that two little girls had entered my parents’ lives because they’d made sure that every room was as neat as a pin and that we could come in at specific times only, when there were guests. I can still hear the whistling slaps coming my way if I couldn’t answer the times tables fast enough, and worse, stumbling over my answers and even worse still, not knowing them. Little did my sister know that one day she’d be joining the police force, and claim that our harsh upbringing had been the best preparation for passing the tough entrance exams. I never beat the eternal optimist in Lorna out of her. Whether nature or nurture were at work to shape her, remains an open question but I am sure she carried a strong gene of positivity.

However, I still have to scoff when I recall Lorna’s thanks given to our parents. It was ludicrous. She turned out okay, she’d add, and whether that was despite of or because of our education, no one would ever know.

We all make ourselves believe what we want to believe. Challenging the only person who ever stood up for me as a child would be cruel, so I bit my tongue then and always will. My sister’s right. I am lucky she is still by my side but that does not change the fact that every morning looking out of the window towards the neighbour’s house, I am reminded that Lizzie and Jamie have left, and that even after all of this time, I still can’t deal with their absence.

Available on Amazon

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About the Author

Photo - Helene edited

Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy, specializing in the study of the mind. Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first novel, Manipulated Lives, a fictional collection of five novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists. She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal.

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TheMemories

Blog Tour Schedule

June 29th

Cocktails & Fairytales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

The Purple Shelf Club (Review) https://www.purpleshelfclub.com/

Rajiv’s Reviews (Review) https://www.rajivsreviews.com/

Jessica Belmont (Spotlight) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

June 30th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com

Libroum in Sepiternum (Review) http://libroruminsempiternumhome.wordpress.com

July 1st

Meli’s Book Reviews (Review) https://melisbokreviews.wordpress.com/

My Comic Relief (Review) https://mycomicrelief.wordpress.com/

Stine Writing (Review) https://christinebialczak.com/

July 2nd

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

Dark Whimsical Art (Spotlight) https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com

52 Weeks with Books (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/52weekswithbooks/

July 3rd

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Book Reviews by Satabdi (Review) http://satabdimukherjee.wordpress.com

Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/

Blog Tour Organized By:

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5 thoughts on “The Memories We Bury – Won’t Be Forgotten (or, you know, repressed) Anytime Soon

    1. It’s my pleasure! Thank you for the comment :). As I said above, I adored this and I cared so, so much about your characters. I’ve never read a psychological suspense novel that’s felt so informed before either.

      Like

    1. I know! I just wanted to hug everyone – especially Lizzie – and suggest we all go to therapy and then lunch together to talk everything out XD. I was so hooked by the story and I was so invested in the characters’ lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Michael,

    Sounds like a great deep book into the human mind. I am glad people are creating these characters with depth and complexity. Don’t you agree that instead of reading being of an escape from reality it can be a wonderful cathartic tool to consider, analyze, and maybe even find breakthroughs for the reader. Believe it or not evek Kate DiCamillo’s fictional stories do that for me.

    How are you doing? Getting out a little more? Staying creative? Me, too. I am excited to start a year long book marketing event and on August 3rd we are doing a weekly Facebook live for creatives. I will make sure you get an invite.

    Late August we are doing a creative panel on Neekology called The Imaginarium: where creatives go or do get their mojo recharged. Let me know if you or any of your bloggers want to join in. That will also be a Facebook/IGTV event.

    Thanks,

    Gary

    On Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 11:46 PM My Comic Relief wrote:

    > Michael J. Miller posted: ” Well folks, I’m the next stop on the blog tour > for H.A. Leuschel’s new psychological suspense novel The Memories We Bury. > I normally like to write something bantery here and give a bit of a > build-up but, honestly, I REALLY loved this novel so I’m just g” >

    Like

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