Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


Rita H Rowe
She Remembered
Rita H Rowe, author

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

Some memories are best left forgotten, but how much can one woman go through to get them back? When Elena, beautiful and broken, awakes to find herself next to the body of a man, her past becomes entangled with the present, awakening memories that she has been searching for, all her life. Abandoned by her mother, Elena has dealt with terrible dreams for most of her young life, dreams she can never remember. Her love for a boy, Luke, has Elena envisioning a bright future, but after a fateful incident, he is lost to her. Alone and desperate, Elena is led down a path of self-destruction, searching for something she knows can never make her happy. When she is forced to face her nightmares, Elena must choose between a damning past with the man she loves or face an unknown future. She Remembered is a story of love and loss, betrayal and redemption, and the power of self-discovery.
Rowe’s psychological novel follows Elena, a young painter, as she tries to recover the memories of her childhood that she has locked away. Elena’s recollections start with her mother, Maria, abandoning her for a job singing in clubs in Melbourne. Suddenly motherless, she grows up doted on by her father Jose, her brothers, and her best friend Luke–until one terrible night Elena’s life is changed with a sexual assault that ends her childhood and drives Luke away. Unable to remember exactly what happened, Elena begins to suffer from nightmares that plague her for years, and she starts down a destructive path involving parties, questionable men, and a tumultuous reconnection with her mother.

Rowe weaves a compelling tale of the impact of childhood trauma on adulthood, and both Elena’s sexual assault and the loss of her mother reverberate through her adult life. Elena’s story is raw and unflinching, and She Remembered tracks her father’s remarriage, her own damaging romantic relationships (including dating Robert, a man her father’s age), and her stormy bond with her mother. It is only when Luke re-enters her life that a happy future seems possible, but he’s guarding his own secrets–secrets that could threaten everything Elena thinks about him and their past. Rowe does not offer easy solutions to handling trauma, and she effectively explores themes of attachment and alliance as she dramatizes a toxic mother-daughter relationship.

Memory fascinates Rowe, at times to the detriment of the storytelling. Much of the narrative takes the form of a recollection: Almost every chapter opens with “She remembered.” This slows the pace, and the choice not to offer the perspective of the present-day Elena who is actually reminiscing distances the reader from the protagonist. Readers will be disappointed to miss the impact of Elena’s memories on her present life, and some may find the resolution too convenient, but overall the involving plot and all-too-real turmoil will keep them engaged.

Takeaway: Readers interested in the long-term impacts of trauma and the nature of memory will find plenty of value in this novel.

Great for fans of: Kate Atkinson, Anne Enright’s The Green Road.

Production grades
Cover: C
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: B