Remember to Love Me by Becky Wright
Star Rating: 4/5
Genre: Science Fantasy, Romance
Buy the book: Amazon
Synopsis (from Amazon): 1900 – Annabelle yearns for nothing more than motherhood and her duty to provide an heir to devoted husband Richard Hardwick, successor to a wealthy family fortune. Her younger sister Emily, engaged to Lance Corporal James Wright, imagines only wedded bliss, but as darkness falls in the shape of War, James is deployed to South Africa, leaving her alone with an uncertain future. As melancholy festers, Emily escapes taking solace by the sea. As the distance stretches between the sisters, so too does the life-thread of family. 1997 – As her 21st birthday approaches, April reluctantly moves closer to her Grandmother Sarah, to her mother’s childhood home of Bury St Edmunds, in the heart of the Suffolk countryside. As she struggling to adjust, pining for her seaside upbringing, she takes solace in the bond she shares with her grandmother. In a visit to the attic one December afternoon, she discovers more than just dusty tea chests and old suitcases. She encounters an ancestor that has remained, a ghostly apparition whispering secrets in the shadows. Confronted with visions and dreams; memories of a lost time, grave secrets, sisterly love, romance and family loyalties that stretch beyond even love’s limits. April is thrown into turmoil, living moments in two eras, experiencing love and loss in both. Piecing together snippets of another life, giving peace back to the house and laying ghosts to rest; she unfolds the mystery of her family’s Supernatural legacy.
You ever read a book you need time to process? Like, a lot of time? I needed about a month and half to process Remember to Love Me, but I think you can tell by the rating that's not a bad thing. First thing's first, in my effort to read more works by my fellow indie author's I read Remember to Love Me back in December, which might not have been the best choice on my part, but I'll get to that later. Becky Wright is an absolute sweetheart, and you should definitely follow her on Instagram, or wherever you like to spend your time online. She's also one of those authors who you can just immediately tell has a talent for prose. Check out this line:
"...North Sea. Intense and rich, the purple dusky sky reached down to kiss the dark horizon; the sea undulated at the line of her eye."
I love that. Some people write words and tell stories in steps. Becky writes like a song sounds, with ebbs and flows and rhythm. She's also really good at making you feel things. And I mean feel them. The opening scene of Remember to Love Me almost brought me to tears. Every little detail perfectly captures what it feels like when you've lost someone dear to you.
From there, we begin to see the lives of these two families unfold. Something I think Becky does masterfully is time slips. I've read books with time slips before, and I ended up being so confused that I just gave up trying to keep track of what time period the story was currently in. Not so with Remember to Love Me! I was never confused, not once, thank goodness! You have no idea how frustrating that is until you've experienced it, so all the high fives to Becky!
I also really loved the relationships in this book. April, the main character, is going through a lot of difficult changes in her life, and her grandmother's presence is like a balm to her frustrated, angry, and disappointed soul. The relationship between Annabelle and Emily is so sweet too. They are each other's "people." You know what I mean when I say that? Your person or people are the ones you can call at 3am, and they will not only pick up, but they will get some coffee and listen to whatever it is you're dealing with. That is Annabelle and Emily and April and her grandmother.
Oh! And can we talk about disparate opinions? So I don't agree with Annabelle's ideas that she has a duty to provide a child to her husband, but I know a lot of women feel that way for one reason or another, that if they can't, they feel like they're not woman enough. I really appreciate the way Becky handled this, though. I never got the feeling Annabelle was saying all women have to feel this way (and I'm usually pretty sensitive to that sort of thing), but rather she was saying this for her, which is something I think a lot of people get wrong. What's right for you isn't going to be right for other people. And the events of this book bring up the issue of shame from a lot of different angles. Shame is such an insidious, wretched, lying thing. One of my notes actually reads:
"I legitimately just went, "Nooooooo!” I like this bit because, even though I don’t agree with this sentiment, a lot of women struggle with feeling like they’ve failed after [redacted for spoilers], and this is so poignant."
Regarding why it took me so long to process this book, it's because it hits a lot of my pain and fear buttons. I lost my great grandmother on December 18th when I was ten. Let me just say she was an amazing person. And the book also did some things I am deathly afraid of happening in my own life, so reading through the events of this story brought a lot of that not-fun-to-deal-with stuff to the surface. I needed time to separate my feelings from it--trust me, your feelings will get all wrapped up in this book--and look at it from a more objective distance. None of that is a bad thing, though. That's one of the magical things about books: they can make us face stuff we're not good with through the eyes of another.
My main complaint about the book is that conflicts and difficult situations, to me, got solved a little too easily. Time seemed to be the only the only catalyst for reconciliation, and some difficult conversations came too easily. The dialogue wasn't quite as realistic as I would like as well, but that was minor.
All in all, this is a beautiful book that will give you all the feels. I highly suggest bringing a hot drink and a box of tissues with you when you curl up with it.
Thanks for reading!