Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Challenges: NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
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Blurb from goodreads:
Lisa Ballantyne, international bestselling author of The Guilty One, delivers a compelling domestic thriller with impeccably observed characters and masterful edge-of-your-seat storytelling in a novel that leaps between past and present with page-turning finesse
They’re calling it the worst pile-up in London history. Driving home, Margaret Holloway has her mind elsewhere—on a troubled student, her daughter’s acting class, the next day’s meeting—when she’s rear-ended and trapped in the wreckage. Just as she begins to panic, a disfigured stranger pulls her from the car just seconds before it’s engulfed in flames. Then he simply disappears.
Though she escapes with minor injuries, Margaret feels that something’s wrong. She’s having trouble concentrating. Her emotions are running wild. More than that, flashbacks to the crash are also dredging up lost associations from her childhood, fragments of events that were wiped from her memory. Whatever happened, she didn’t merely forget—she chose to forget. And somehow, Margaret knows deep down that it’s got something to do with the man who saved her life.
As Margaret uncovers a mystery with chilling implications for her family and her very identity, Everything She Forgot winds through a riveting dual narrative and asks the question: How far would you go to hide the truth—from yourself…?
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I picked two quotes, both from the POV of one of the primary characters:
She still remembered him walking into the room and kissing her, and how time and stopped and stretched out, so that now was an elongated sweetness, like soft toffee pulled. He had taken her into adulthood. He had taught her about herself. They had taught each other how to love.
John ... John was wonderful, and Kathleen was grateful.
But George, George, Georgie Boy, he was still special in her heart. She could only whisper his name to herself, it was such an admission. It was as if he had whittled out a little place for himself, etching the detail of their young, intense love. It was memorable because it had been unfinished. It had not been destroyed, but had merely ended.
I loved the premise of this story and had high hopes for it. I've heard of Ballantyne before but hadn't read her. The story didn't grab me right away, I put it down several times and almost gave up, but it slowly lured me in until I couldn't put it down.
"Everything She Forgot" is told primarily from four POVs in two different time periods: Margaret Holloway in 2013, Kathleen Henderson in 1985, Big George in 1985, and Angus Campbell in 1985. There are also a few chapters from two secondary characters, Richard McLaughlin in 1985, and Tam Driscoll in 1985. The story felt disjointed at first and the threads initially seemed unrelated but as I kept reading the pieces began to come together and I was hooked. Full of twists and turns and people who shouldn't have been likable but were and a few who were utterly worthless human beings, the story looked at love, family, duty, memory, sacrifice, and the choices we make.
The story is a less a mystery and more a treatise on family, the one we're born into and the one we make for ourselves. Is blood thicker than water? Can the choices we make be undone? There are always consequences, sometimes painful ones; how do we decide which ones we can accept? how do we cope with them? The end was not what was I expecting and I was a little disappointed actually, it seemed too pat. "Everything She Forgot" was a mix of surprises and predictability, with people I cared strongly about. It started out slow but built up steam and while it wasn't a great novel, it was a thought provoking one.