Author: Lisa Ballantyne
Narrator: John Lee
Published: October 2015, Harper Audio / William Morrow Paperbacks
Length: 11 hours 17 minutes / Paperback 448 pages
Source: Library / Publisher
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…?
My thoughts: This is the first book I've picked up by Lisa Ballantyne and I found it to be a compelling read. It completely took me by surprise - it's a slow build but well worth it in the end.
This book was definitely not what I was expecting it to be - I expected it to be more of a thriller - partly from the tags that I saw on Goodreads - but I never got that thriller feeling from it. It's more about an event someone forgot about and about the love a father's love for his daughter. It's a bittersweet story that really has a redeeming message at the end.
I loved the way this story is told - while the back and forth time lines do take a bit of getting used to and some time getting things straight in your mind, once you figure out what's going on, it's a clever way to propel the story lines forward and tie them together. Rather than coming right out and telling us how they are related, we are slowly led there.
Molly is one constant in both time frames - as a child and as an adult. This really allows us as the reader to really know her, but there are many questions and as we get deeper into the story we slowly start to get more and more answers. Molly is just one of the main narrators - there are also three other narrators who help flesh out the story, each with their own motivations and connections to the story.
I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be checking out what else Lisa Ballantyne has written. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised with this one - it really drew me in and kept me engaged in the storyline the whole way through. I hope her other books do the same as well!
Audio thoughts: For as many audio books as I listen to, the majority are narrated by female narrators, so I am always a little apprehensive when I pick up a book that has a male narrator. Luckily, I found this one to be well-done. John Lee did a great job with this story, even with the female voices, especially when one of the main characters was a female. His pacing was spot on and he infused tension and emotion in just the right places.