Burden of Memory
Poisoned Pen, 2006 (2006)
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
eing proud of the work she did as a Canadian nursing sister attached to the British Army during World War II, elderly Moira Madison wishes to record her memoirs. She doesn't want the contributions she and others like herself gave to go unrecognized, while she still bridles at the barriers put in front of her in the early part of her life simply because she was a woman!
oira employs Elaine Benson, a recognized author, to put her papers, letters and memorabilia in order and write the story of an unusual woman's life. Sound reasonable? Except for one little hitch. Someone in this wealthy background doesn't want those memories dredged up. The first person hired to do the writing ended up floating face down in the lake after a week. Undaunted, Elaine - who needs this breather to get her life back into some semblance of reality - wades in with both eyes wide open. Maybe not such a good idea. Things start happening that would scare off the more timid of people. But Moira and Elaine are not timid and they press on.
he time period in this highly readable book flips from today to the war and then back, over and over again, seamlessly without losing the thread of the plot. The scenes of war torn London bring back my own memories of Pathay News coverage of the London Blitz. Moira is a tough old bird who stands up for herself and has little time for those who don't. She is gracious, though, and generous. A great character. Elaine, of course, lives in today's world and so looks at things a little differently. But for all that, she is the right person for the right job.
icki Delany has written a tell-it-all book that is hard to put down. Secrets keep popping up. Just when you think everything has fallen into place, another punch comes from left field and knocks your theories asunder.
Burden of Memory
is a good second book from a writer who knows her craft.
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