I received a copy of Dark Prayer from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Once again Natasha Mostert writes another great book around the concept of memory. I was keen to dive into this one as I was fascinated with the use of memory in Season of the Witch and I was eager to see where else she could go with it in this book.
Jennilee's mother is murdered and she's the only one to have seen the person who murdered her but she has no memory of who the murderer was. Her mother was part of a group made up of 4 people who were studying the mystery of the human memory, how we remember and how those memories change over time. Is it possible to make those memories more vivid at the time? Is it possible to restore forgotten memories? Can we remove unwanted memories from those who have experienced trauma and want to forget?
Daniel Barone who was part of the group, takes Jennilee in and becomes her guardian after the death of her mother. Many years later she disappears and on finding her, her guardian soon discovers that she has no memory of who she once was, she's suffering from what is known as a fugue state and has a whole new identity. He reaches out to her and she refuses to come home, so Daniel in an attempt to get her back contacts another member of the group who sends his son Jack Simonetti to help. All is not as it seems however, and there is a darker side to the story. One which you're going to have to read to find out!
I really enjoyed this one, it wasn't as heavy a read as it sounds from what I have written above. It's a very well paced mystery and I learned quite a few things while reading. I was actually quite shocked to learn what they used to do in medieval times to young children. During a time when few could write, they would use these children in the most awful way in order to make them remember certain occasions more vividly so that the memory would be remembered exactly as it happened, unchanged even in the childs old age.
The story has a lot of detail and it's obvious a lot of research went into this one. It was well executed and it left me with many things to think about after having finished. My 16 year old son and I actually ended up having a rather interesting conversation, there was one part of the book that I read out loud to him - "If there were memories to sell, what would you buy? I would buy memories of love. If there were memories to buy, what would you sell? I would sell memories of love." - and we ended up talking away for almost 2 hours about the possibilities of this and what we each would choose and why.
Oh and I just can't finish this review without my favourite quote from the book - Books. They tumbled from the bleeding sky like wounded birds. The spines snapping open and the pages fanning white. Black letters slipping off the slanted pages and falling, falling to the ground where they... Shatter.” It's not very often I quote from a book in my review but I just loved that one!
Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
Facebook | Twitter | G+ | BookLikes | Goodreads | Leafmarks