My review of The Unforgotten by Laura Powell will follow the publisher’s blurb :
For fans of Louise Penny and Tana French, this haunting debut novel “with a slight Broadchurch feel” (Sunday Herald) explores the devastating repercussions of a long-ago crime as it delves into forbidden relationships, the emotional bond between mothers and daughters, and the dark consequences of harboring secrets.
It is the summer of 1956, and fifteen-year-old Betty Broadbent has never left the Cornish fishing village of St. Steele or ventured far beyond the walls of the Hotel Eden, the slightly ramshackle boarding house run by her moody, unpredictable mother. But Betty’s world is upended when a string of brutal murders brings London’s press corps flooding into the village, many of whom find lodging at the Hotel Eden. She is instantly transfixed by one of the reporters, the mysterious and strangely aloof Mr. Gallagher—and he, fully twice her age, seems equally transfixed by her.
The unlikely relationship that blooms between Betty and Mr. Gallagher is as overlaid with longing and desire as it is with impropriety and even menace. And as the shocking death toll rises, both Betty and Mr. Gallagher are forced to make a devastating choice, one that will shape their own lives—and the life of an innocent man—forever.
With narratives that shift from 1956 to the present day and back, The Unforgotten is a mesmerizing and eerie portrayal of two people bound to each other by a secret that has the power to shape, and destroy, lives.
Before I start on why I enjoyed reading The Unforgotten, let me just gush a little about the title. Without giving anything away… it outlines the depth of everything that goes on in this book. It encompasses everything, everyone, every feeling, moment that is : unforgotten. The Unforgotten examines what it’s like living with dark secrets, burying them, revisiting them and the resulting collateral damage.
That said, the book is deftly written with alternating viewpoints and time periods. From young Betty we see the story through her 15 year old eyes. A story of love, solitude, yearning and torment. We follow her through her mother’s drunken rages as well as the terrifying events occurring in their small community. We also have Mary’s story line as well. With her, we find a person who is definitely involved in some fashion and is very haunted by what transpired so many years ago.
I wasn’t disturbed by the taboo relationship between Betty and John Gallagher. Laura Powell tackles it head on and makes no excuses for it. I liked that very much. Everything about Betty is about yearning, for a better existence, for something more, for affection and escape. Betty is a fragile mess without a solid mother to help her through her coming of age. Her decisions and the decisions of others will, without a doubt have lasting repercussions.
It really is only when you get to the very end of the book that all the layers of lies and twists are fully understood. I embraced each cleaver turn of this novel. The intrigue is written with such skill, Powell’s ability to hide things in plain sight blew me away.
I’m looking forward to reading other novels by Laura Powell because this was a fantastic debut. So if you are wondering what to read next and a dark suspense, chalk full of taboo, twists and best intentions tickles your fancy then look no further and grab a copy of The Unforgotten.
Now for the Giveaway News : Simon and Schuster Canada is hosting the “UP ALL NIGHT” giveaway – and with a title like that, you know you are in for some stellar reading. Contest closes on February 15th and is open to Canadian residents only (excluding Quebec) but please read the contest rules and regulations. Here are the amazing titles up for grabs :
- Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys
- Keep Her Safe by K.A Tucker
- Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent
- You Belong To Me by Colin Harrison
- Find You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley
- The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie
- The Unforgotten by Laura Powell
- Kill the Angel by Sandrone Dazieri
- Liar’s Candle by August Thomas
- plus a book light !!
Here is your link to throw your name into the hat : UP ALL NIGHT contest Good Luck !
The Unforgotten by Laura Powell
Published by Gallery Books, and imprint of Simon & Schuster Canada
Pub date February 6th 2018
An e-galley of The Unforgotten was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts and review.