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When Eva Patterson returns home from work one evening, her life is altered forever when she discovers her mum dead in the bath with a brief note saying "Forgive Me". In the days and weeks that follow, Eva tries to get to the bottom of the reason for her mother's suicide, and discovers that there was a lot she didn't know about her mother's life and past. Will she get the answers she so craves, and will the discovery of her mother's secrets taint her dear memories of her mother?
I stumbled across this book on my Kobo, and to be honest I downloaded a preview of it without reading the synopsis after remembering hearing good things about Lesley Pearse's books. Given that I didn't really know much about what to expect from this book, I was quite shocked at the opening scene which was basically describing someone taking their own life by slashing her wrists in the bath. This opening chapter intrigued me, and I was so pleasantly surprised that it was so different to anything I'd ever read before, I went on to purchase the full version of the book.
Although it sounds like an upsetting read, once you're past this opening chapter, it's a little less gory and goes on to deal with the aftermath of Flora's suicide and how it impacts on her husband and children. This is where we are introduced to the main character Eva, her father Andrew, and her siblings Sophie and Ben.
The characters in this book are very well developed, and although they play various roles in terms of importance to the plot, they are all strong characters which leave you in no doubt as to their faults and weaknesses. There are no stereotypes or overly predictable characters in this book, but instead true individuals which makes them memorable meaning the reader can't really get confused between them. A lot of the focus is on Eva, who becomes the lead character after discovering her mother's body, and although she is a headstrong character having had gothic tendencies in her youth, she soon becomes vulnerable following the changing family dynamic.
I found the plot of this book very engrossing, and it moves at a good pace which kept me turning the page rather than putting the book down. I was intruiged by the suspense and mystery surrounding Flora's past, and the ways in which Eva discovered her mother's secrets piece by piece. It's difficult to describe this without giving too much away, but when Flora leaves Eva a studio apartment in her will, Eva discovers her mother had a past she didn't really share with her children, and she delves into this by seeking out friends from her mother's youth and visiting places of significance which she discovers by reading some diaries of her mother's which she finds in the loft.
Some of the discoveries throughout Eva's journey are quite shocking, and although I guessed bits and pieces, the end of the book did surprise me a little. Even when I thought all the loose ends were tied up, there were a few more twists and turns, and this is definitely a book which captures the reader's attention. There is a little bit of romance for Eva along the way, although this is handled quite sensibly as it would be ridiculous to believe that someone who had been through the traumas that Eva has experienced would be feeling up to embarking on something so trivial as dating. Instead of being pie in the sky romance, the author deals with the sensitive issues of relationships being under strain due to external influences, and how difficult it can be sometimes to be there for someone when they just seem to want to push you away.
The style of writing is also highly enjoyable, with the author building a good atmosphere of people and places, but without overdoing the detail. She helps the reader to build an image of things like the family home, and there are some lovely scenes spanning the different seasons which is something I enjoy as it helps me to place myself in the story.
I would definitely recommend this book if you fancy something different to the usual chick lit. Although it's full of mystery and suspense, it's not quite a full-on thriller, but will certainly keep the reader guessing and is an engrossing storyline. The subject matter seems quite dark, but it's not a depressing read, although it can obviously be a little sad at times. I was refreshed by the originality of this novel, and will be seeking out some more of Lesley Pearse's work in future.
(Review may also appear on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
Well it has been quite some time since I have read anything by Lesley Pearse so when Forgive Me arrived through the post it didnt take me long to finish up my current read and jump into this authors writing world again.
The book begins in Cheltenham in 1991 with Eva returning home to find her mother dead in the bath with a note sating Forgive Me. It is this turn of events that starts to turn Eva's life upside down. Eva embarks on a journey to find out the truth about both her and her mothers past to try and explain what has made her mother take this heartbreaking and drastic action.
This is such an emotional and captivating read. Forgive Me is one of the few books that kept the outcome a mystery all the way through the book. I thought I knew on a number of occasions through out the book what the answers were but then all of a sudden another part of the jigsaw would fall into place but putting a spanner in the works on my theories so you can't help feeling gripped with this storyline you can not wait to find out the truth!
The opening of the book was very shocking and sure does get of to a quick start and sets the emotions running. Eva was a fabulous main character who was very easy to warm to not only because of the situation she finds herself in which means you cant help but sympathies with her but also because of her raw emotion and determination which shines through in the authors writing. There is a wide cast of characters all who feel very realistic, some I loved and some I hated especially Eva's cold hearted father.
This is a difficult review to write because there are many scenes in this book that I would like to praise but the reason these parts were so good was the fact you couldn't predict them coming.
Forgive Me is a beautifully written book that is full of suspense, often leading you down the complete wrong path. If you are looking for a compelling unpredictable and emotional read this book should be top of your list.
Review also found on amazon and on www.reabookreview.blogspot.com