Reading time 3 mins

This book focuses on an event that someone forgot all about. Sometimes we see things and we think we know what the are right away. Much like what I expected from this book, the perception was not the reality. I thought this was going to be a thriller, but actually Everything She Forgot was a bittersweet story of a Father’s love for his only daughter.

Review: EVERYTHING SHE FORGOT by Lisa BallantyneEverything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne
Published by HarperCollins on October 6th 2015
Pages: 432
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Contemporary Women, General
eARC provided by HarperCollins

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Some things aren't meant to be remembered . . .

They're calling it the worst pileup in London history. Margaret Holloway is driving home, but her mind is 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 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 had been wiped from her memory. Whatever happened, she didn't merely forget—she chose to forget. And somehow, Margaret knows deep down that it has 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?

I found Margaret, aka Molly,  to be more of a blank slate than a relate-able character. This was actually a good thing because the events in the story defined her for me. Molly’s story is told in two timelines.

In 2013, she is confused after the accident and struggling to get back to her normal life. We don’t get to see her much before the accident, but afterwards she is very much alone despite being married and working with people who appear to care for her. She cares a lot about her job, which is teaching, that much is clear. In a moment of distraction, she gets into an automobile accident. The accident is part of a terrible pile up and in the collision she is pinned inside her vehicle as it catches fire. Margaret finds herself being rescued by a stranger. When she tries later to find him and thank him, she finds him at the hospital without any visitors or next of kin.

This story flashes back to 1985 when Molly was a 7 year old child, and there we get the POV of George, Kathleen, and Angus. Molly as a child only gets a small voice. We mostly see her as a victim and as George, her loving but misguided father, sees her. After the accident Molly doesn’t speak at all, and she never tells her Mother and Step-Father what actually happened to her. In 1985 something important and traumatic happened to Molly. She was abducted by George McLaughlin, her real father. In this portion of the story we get glimpses of George’s childhood and why he must somehow connect with his daughter Molly. We also get a good look into: George, a man struggling to connect with his daughter; Kathleen, a mother whose child has gone missing; and Angus, the journalist determined to catch George.

I found George a sad character. He was born into this awful family where his father was feared by everyone in town. As a result of that terrible childhood, he is an illiterate adult. He doesn’t mean to kidnap Molly but then he kinda does and it is too late to go back. He sees Molly as the only good thing in his life.

I really enjoyed the pacing in this story. It starts off with descriptive scenes and emotional depth and somehow the author is able to carry that through every character, and every scene, until the very end. With so many POVs I think I got a better idea of the scope of Molly’s importance. I know this book is labeled as thriller, but I don’t exactly agree with that. It is more like a family drama.

I really enjoyed this story. It touched me and I have to admit brought tears to my eyes. The ending was so good! It was much character driven and so if you are into that style, you should probably give this a go.

My Rating


Excerpt: Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne

About Lisa Ballantyne

Lisa Ballantyne was born in Armadale, West Lothian, Scotland and studied English Literature at University of St Andrews.

She lived and worked in China for many years and started writing seriously while she was there. Before being published, Lisa was short-listed for the Dundee International Book Prize.

Her debut novel, The Guilty One was translated into over 25 languages, long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and short-listed for an Edgar Allan Poe Award. The Guilty One was also the Autumn 2012 Richard and Judy Book-club Winner. Redemption Road is her new novel. She lives in Glasgow.

I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

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