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Anna Temple's life is turned upside down when she discovers a dark family secret, on top of discovering the family secret Anna is also struggling to run her own landscape gardening business as well as bringing up her young daughter Millie singlehandedly. Had Anna not decided to give up her job at the Equity Research Department to become a Landscape Gardener she probably wouldn't have unearthed the family secret. Anna's mother was always a keen gardener and had an abundance of gardening reference books, when her mother died suddenly a few years before Millie was born, Anna decided to keep a couple of her mother's gardening books as they would help her to research and gain more information on plants and flowers for her clients garden makeovers. It is in one of her mother's gardening reference books that single mother Anna discovers the deep dark family secret.........
Anna Temple is the main character of the book and a character which you warm to almost instantly; she is a very likable character who has had a hard couple of years. She has been a single mother to her daughter Millie from the day she found out she was pregnant with her, Millie's father doesn't have very much interaction with Millie and he has only seen her a handful of times in the 2 years of her life because he is based in the middle east as a foreign correspondent for the news. Little Millie actually sees more of her father on the news than she does of him in person. Anna Temple resents Millie's father Xen, not because he is not with Anna but because he didn't want her to have Millie and the fact that he barely makes contact with Anna to see how Millie is progressing.
Anna Temple is a very strong character who the reader feels sorry for on numerous occasions throughout the book. Firstly being a single mother is hard for most people and I think that a lot of women readers could relate to Anna in this instance. Secondly as well as bringing up little Millie Anna is also trying to run a successful Landscape Gardening business so she can lead a comfortable life with Mille and provide her with everything she desires. Anna has support from her foreign nanny Louisa who deals with the day to day care of Millie whilst Anna is out doing her garden makeovers; she also has the support of her father who can help out in the evenings with Millie when Louisa is off duty. Anna has some form of regular support from her nanny as well as her father and I think that had it not been for the regular support she received then her business would have fallen flat on the ground as she wouldn't have been able to be a full time mother as well as a full time business women.
As well as the support from her father and Spanish speaking Louisa, Anna can also turn to her close friend Jenny for some parenting advice as Jenny's child is around the same age as Millie. Anna met Jenny at ante natal classes and the two of them hit it off almost instantly as they both have a lot in common, they are the only single mothers in the class. Throughout the book you get the impression that other mothers look down at Anna and Jenny as they are bringing up their babies on their own, however I do not get this impression as I think that being a single mother is quite a brave thing to do as you don't have the regular support of a partner to help you out when things are getting slightly tough. Anna and Jenny's friendship strengthens throughout the book and the two of the form a really close bond, so close that Jenny reveals a dark secret of her own to Anna. By revealing this secret to Anna their friendship becomes even stronger and everything about Jenny starts to knit together and Anna soon realises why Jenny is as nervous and secretive in some instances.
Anna Temple is the main character of the book and we are getting the story from her point of view as the book is written in the first person with Anna being the narrator of the book. With Anna being the narrator we get to know her a lot better as we know what she is thinking and how she is feeling. When Anna is going through rough patches the reader really does sympathise with her and hopes for a better outcome or solution, when Anna is happy about something the reader has the opposite reaction - instead of feeling sorry for her we are glad things are working out for her and hope that they stay this way; however throughout the book there is a series of events which unfold and impact on everyone so the characters moods and emotions change on a fairly regular basis. Another thing about the book is the fact that there is a regular occurrence of flashbacks whereby Anna remembers or thins of things which happened years previously.
The plot of Forget Me Not isn't overly complicated, there is a series of unexpected twists in the plot but these twists do not complicate nor confuse the reader. I would say that it is the twists in the plot which make the book more enjoyable and satisfying to read. At 352 pages Forget Me Not isn't a very long book however it does cover a large time period of approximately three and a half to four years. One good aspect about the book is that the whole plot seems to flow naturally throughout this time period so there isn't any gaps where the reader is wondering what happened to Anna or Millie in the plot.
There are a few other characters in the book who have main roles in the plot and make it more interesting, there is about 8 other additional characters who have main roles in the book, however their roles aren't as significant as Anna's and of the 8 characters there are only approximately 5 of them who you will get to now really well like you do with Anna and Millie. Even although there are a few characters the plot doesn't get too confusing and the reader doesn't forget who a character is as they all add to the plot and all have a part in the family secret in some way or another.
Having never read any of Isabel Wolff's books before I didn't know if Forget Me Not would be a book I would enjoy reading, however within reading the first chapter of Forget Me Not I was hooked on the book and could barely put it down. I think that the reason I enjoyed reading Forget Me Not was because Wolff's writing style is very similar to that of my two favourite Authors Sophie Kinsella and Cecilia Ahern. Forget Me Not is a mix of happiness, sadness, secrets and misery all rolled into one fabulous book which will no doubt have you hooked from the first chapter like I was.
© just.bcoz / Butterfly-Wings
It's never easy putting down new roots!
After the sudden death of her mother, Anna Temple realises she needs to live for the moment and pursue her dream of becoming a garden designer. Swapping hedge funds for herbaceous borders, and shares for scented stocks, she says goodbye to City life for a fresh start in the country.
But on the eve of her sparkling new future she meets the gorgeous Xan and their chance encounter changes her world in more ways than she could ever imagined -- enter baby Milly.
Juggling her new business with the joys and fears of motherhood is a struggle, especially alone and when Anna unearths a long-buried family secret, skeletons tumble from the closet. Suddenly nothing is as it seems, past or present!
Forget Me Not was one of my favourite reads by Isabel Wolff. I've enjoyed most of the books I've read by her but Forget Me Not was brilliant. I love when a book is written in first-person style it's so easier to follow a story, I think.
Anna Temple's mother has just died and that's where the story starts: they're clearing out her parents' old house as her dad is moving closer to Anna. I loved all the flower references even if I'm no way flower-worldly.
The book not only explores bereavement but also family secrets, a single mother struggling to bring up her baby as well as starting her new business and also finding love again. I guessed, along with Anna that it was her sister who wasn't her full-sister and was surprised when I found out it wasn't and who it actually was.
I loved the Milly/Anna parts and thought Xan was irritating at first, flitting in and out at will but I liked that he did eventually come to realise how much he loved Milly even if he also irritated with how protective he became of Anna when he realised she had a new boyfriend.
I thought Jamie was more of a background character at the beginning before becoming more involved, I would have liked a bit more interaction between himself and Anna before they got together but I can't complain.
I thought Patrick, Anna's new boyfriend was dodgy and the incident near the end of the book definitely proved that. Also I was so curious as to who was the father of Jenny's baby, Anna's friend, and I didn't see it coming. Luisa was also hilarious teaching Milly Spanish...the characters were just so diverse and so great.
It was a pageturner of high quality and I just love Isabel Wolff's writing.
First reviewed at http://chicklitreviews.wordpress.com
~ Background ~
Isabel Wolff was born in Warwickshire and studied English at Cambridge. Her first novel was The Trials of Tiffany Trott it was an international bestseller. This was followed by three further bestsellers - The Making of Minty Malone, Out of the Blue and Rescuing Rose (due to be released in hardback in may) all of which have been published worldwide. Her latest novel Forget me not was released in march 2007.
~ Story ~
This book is based around Anna Temple. Anna was very close to her father who decided to move to London so that he was closer to her and to escape the memories of his late wife. Mark her brother lived in San Francisco and she also had a sister Cassie who she didnt really get along with. After the sudden death of her mother Anna decides to have a career change she goes from working in the city hedge fund in the Equity Research department to designing gardens as a tribute to her green-fingered mother.
After Annas leaving party at work she had arranged to have supper with her colleague Sue, towards the end of the meal Sue had managed to convince Anna to go along to the Iso-bar for a few drinks. This is where Anna met Xan they got on really well and spent the rest of the evening chatting and drinking champagne. They shared a cab home where Anna out of character asked him in for a coffee. Their chance encounter changes her world in more ways than she can ever have imagined.
Nine months later Anna had given birth to her beautiful baby girl Milly. Whilst pregnant Anna attended antenatal classes where she met Jenny, they were the only two single mothers in the group and quickly became good friends. She was just beginning to realise how difficult it was to juggle her newborn baby and the new business especially on her own as Xan had left her for a job in Indonesia being a foreign correspondent.
Her father very kindly organised a maternity nurse called Elaine to help her with Milly, she was like the Angel Gabriel and Florence night gale rolled into one. As Annas work load increased she decided that she needed a builder so Elaine introduced her to Jamie her nephew.
Anna started a relationship with a guy called Patrick when everything seemed to be going well for her, Xan decided that he wanted to be part of her and Millys life which just made the situation difficult for everyone apart from Milly who loved to have her dad around. Xan moved back to London and started visiting Milly every day, which had a negative impact on Annas relationship with Patrick.
When Anna was looking through one of her mums old gardening reference books she discovered a long buried family secret. She tries to talk to Mark her brother about it but he refused to discuss the issue and told her to take it up with her father. There was a photo of a man with her mother and an old letter which lead her to believe that Cassie her younger sister was not her fathers child!
The story has a wonderful ending but who will Anna end up with? Is Cassie her real sister? And find out all about Jennys big secret.
~ Characters ~
Anna Temple - She is the main character aged about 36 yrs old, single mother.
Milly Temple - Annas beautiful daughter
Xan - Annas ex lover and Millys father
Mr. Temple (Annas father) - Mid fifties man recently lost his wife and has a deep dark secret.
Cassie - Annas younger sister, she travels around a bit and has had many weird and wonderful jobs.
Mark - Annas brother who lives in San Francisco and is a eye surgeon.
Jenny - Annas friend who she met in her antenatal classes they became best friends and could confide in her.
Jamie - The builder that Anna worked with in her new garden designing business.
Patrick - Anna had a short relationship with Patrick, he was a bee keeper.
Luisa - The au pair with terrible English
~ My opinion ~
I only actually discovered Isabel wolff last year when I had finished reading all the Sophie Kinsella books, I was finding it difficult to find another author that wrote the way Sophie does. I was recommended this book by a close friend.
The story line is touching and compulsive to read, you wont want to put it down. I would lay in bed and say Ill just finish this chapter then Ill switch the light off but I couldnt help myself I had to read more it was very gripping.
I really liked the characters in this novel and I personally feel connected to Anna as i have been in a similar situation myself. I also liked the way ther are a few hidden tips throughout the book about gardening. I learnt that if you put a two pence in a vase of flowers they will last longer and the flowers react to the copper.
The style of writing is very similar to Sophie Kinsella and Cecelia Ahern both quite easy to read and great for the female readers from the age of 18 yrs +
I have also read most of Isabels other novels which are also very good and have similar characters.
Similar authors: Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella, Jill Mansell, Cathy Kelly and Cecelia Ahern
~ Price ~
I paid £6.96 for my paperback copy from Tesco
ISBN 978-0-00-717829-2 Harper Collins Publishers
~ Previous books ~
The Trials of Tiffany Trott, The Making of Minty Malone, Out of the Blue, Rescuing Rose, A Question of Love and Behaving Badly.