#Blogtour How We Remember by J. M. Monaco @jm_monaco2 @RedDoorBooks

How We Remember by J.M. Monaco   RedDoor  September 13th 2018

Family Secrets. Sibling Rivalries

The blood ties that have kept Jo and her brother Dave together are challenged when an unexpected inheritance fans the flames of underlying tensions. Upon discovering her mother’s diary, the details of their family’s troubled past are brought into sharp relief and painful memories are reawakened.

Narrated with moments of light and dark, J. M. Monaco weaves together past and present, creating a complex family portrait of pain and denial in this remarkable debut novel.

Perfect for fans of Anne Tyler and Sylvia Brownrigg, this is a novel that will stay with you long after you stop turning the pages.

My Review

Do we, or our family and friends always remember things as they were? Do events in our past still resonant in the present or are they forgotten, pushed under the carpet and never spoken off again? In Jo’s case what happened to her has long been buried by her family, but for her it remains as clear as the day it occurred, only Jo has learnt how to live with what happened. It would be wrong of me to divulge what happened to Jo, but suffice to say it has a huge impact on the novel and the many tensions that existed amongst Jo, her brother, her father and her wider relatives.

What Monaco does so well, is to use the death of Jo’s mother to tear apart those tensions, to re open old family wounds and grievances. Told mainly from Jo’s point of view we got a glimpse into a fractured family, torn apart by alcohol, drugs, affairs and illness. Jo herself, was one strong lady, blighted by multiple sclerosis, a career nearing an end, but a determination that you had to admire. What I loved was Monaco’s skill in getting straight to the very heart of Jo, drawing out every nuance of emotion and turmoil for the reader to experience. I felt huge sorrow for her, but I also admired her sheer guts and determination to achieve and fight for what she wanted.

I am not sure I had quite the same feelings for Jo’s brother, Dave. He may have had mental health issues, but I found him to be quite selfish, and unrealistic, offering little or no support to his sister. His father was no better, and he was in some way a typical man. He came across as very rugged, tough and intolerant of his children, caring little for family life or it seemed his wife.

Yet, families always have a way of coming together when it matters and that is what I hoped for as I read. It is not for me to say in this review if they did or not, it is up to you to pick up a copy of How We Remember and discover for yourselves.

What I can say, is that Monaco’s novel is wonderfully written. The narrative, is at times both poignant and emotive, and it drew me in as I read, fully immersing me in the world of Jo and her family.

The themes are timely and, the difference from how we would deal with them today and how they were dealt with long ago so abjectly different it made me quite cross.

What does not differ is how families operate, how dynamics can change after an event or the death of a loved one. I found the book a timely reminder to treasure those close to us, to not take them for granted and make the most of the time we have.

How We Remember is a book at I would highly recommend to anyway who enjoys a novel of family emotions, you will not be disappointed.

I would like to thank Red Door for a copy of How We Remember to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour

About the author

JM Monaco

J.M. Monaco grew up in the northeast region of the USA where she studied English and Creative Writing at undergraduate level. She worked in a variety of areas before taking up postgraduate studies in England where she completed her PhD. She now lives in a buzzing city in the South West of England with her husband and children.

Copies of How We Remember can be purchased on:

Amazon   https://www.amazon.com/How-We-Remember-J-Monaco/dp/1910453625

RedDoor  https://reddoorpublishing.com/books/how-we-remember/

For more information about the author visit the blog at ;


Follow J.M Monaco on Twitter @jm_monaco2

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