We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter by Rachael Hanel

We'll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down by Rachael HanelI have always been fascinated by cemeteries and the stories they hold, so I had a good feeling that the author and I would be somewhat kindred spirits on that concept.

And We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter did not disappoint.

Rachael Hanel’s respect and reverence for those buried at the cemeteries her parents cared for anchor this memoir while her personal experiences, memories, and photographs pull the reader in on a personal level as they are both gripping and touching. Hanel’s writing is smooth and engaging, and her willingness to really dig deep (no pun intended) makes this one of the best memoirs I’ve read in a long time.

5 espresso cups out of five!

** NOTE: I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley; the opinions expressed are my own. The link in the post above is an affiliate link, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

7 Beans of Wisdom to “We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter by Rachael Hanel”
  1. Laura

    I love graveyards. We have a Quaker family cemetery in Pennsylvania where I can walk down rows of grave markers and trace my family tree back to the 1700s. As a kid we visited regularly. When we traveled we would always find a cemetery to have our picnic lunches in and would wander among the stones imagining the lives represented. As an adult I rented a caretakers cottage in the middle of a pioneer cemetery in Portland, Oregon. Others thought it was spooky; I loved the silence of my neighbors. I will read this book whether I win a copy or not. Thanks for alerting me to it!

  2. Jill

    Working on family genealogy means that I am often visiting or researching in cemeteries, they fascinate me. I would love an opportunity to read this book and have added it to my wishlist! Thanks, Michelle!

  3. Megan

    Such an intriguing synopsis! I love hearing people’s personal stories and the tales that shaped them. In a way, Rachel Hanel’s book sounds brave and compassionate. Also, after reading Mary Roach’s “Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers,” I am intrigued by the [possibly unintentional] stories of the dead. Sounds like a good read. Thanks for the rec!

  4. 07.04.2013

    Memoirs are important to me these days, well for the last few years actually, because I’m attempting to pen my own, and reading other’s gives me ideas of how to proceed with mine.

    I tend our family’s plot where six graves of my paternal family rest; planting flowers and such every year around memorial day. While there, I reflect on the lives of each person residing there and their impact on my life. I’ve introduced all of my children and grand children to these ancestors to give them a knowledge of their own pasts and, selfishly, to foster in them a sense of duty to maintain this place of our history. Since I’m the only one left in the area to care for the site I fear it’s passing from the memories of my off spring.

  5. Deb Rountree

    Sounds delightful

  6. 07.04.2013

    This book sounds fascinating. It particularly interests me because my back yard borders a historical cemetery that has been here since the Revolutionary War.

  7. sue

    Always fascinated by cemeteries… love the stones, statuary and quiet. All my Italian family (and some notable Americans) is buried in a very beautiful nearby cemetery, when I go there I refer to it as visiting the relatives. Your recommendation puts this book on the top of my list- Grazie!



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