Monday, April 02, 2018

Review: The Forgotten Ones by Steena Holmes (audio)

Title: The Forgotten Ones
Author: Steena Holmes
Narrator: Angela Dawe, Arthur Morey
Published: April 2018, Brilliance Audio
Length: 10 hours 42 minutes
Source: Publisher

In this novel from a New York Times bestselling author, the search for truth is defined by secrets and lies.
Elle is a survivor. She’s managed to piece together a solid life from a childhood of broken memories and fairy tales her mom told her to explain away bad dreams. But weekly visits to her mother still fill Elle with a paralyzing fear she can’t explain. It’s just another of so many unanswered questions she grew up with in a family estranged by silence and secrets.

Elle’s world turns upside down when she receives a deathbed request from her grandfather, a man she was told had died years ago. Racked by grief, regrets, and a haunted conscience, he has a tale of his own to tell Elle: about her mother, an imaginary friend, and two strangers who came to the house one night and never left.

As Elle’s past unfolds, so does the truth—if she can believe it. She must face the reasons for her inexplicable dread. As dark as they are, Elle must listen…before her grandfather’s death buries the family’s secrets forever.

My thoughts: Steena Holmes has been a favorite author of mine for a while now. She manages to write emotionally captivating stories that take hook you right from that beginning and never really let up. This one is full of family secrets that like those Russian nesting dolls - you need to unpack one at a time.

This book really will do a number on you - so be prepared! It's about family, love and loss. And I loved the way it was told, alternating between David's point of view and Elle's point of view. How would you react after being told all your life that the grandfather you thought was dead was really alive, but on his deathbed? Maybe now she can finally get the answers about her family that she has always wanted, specially answers about her mother's past. 

This book is so engaging and so all-consuming. It gets under your skin as David starts telling his story about life back in the day. You find yourself totally wrapped up in what he is saying, but is he really telling the truth or is he making all this up? That's what Elle must figure out. As she starts to get the answers she has longed for, she finds out that everything David tells her, her mother and Grace contradict. Who is really telling the truth? And why is everyone so insistent they are right?

This story is about a complex, complicated family drama with secrets at every turn. The characters are all dynamic and really help to pull you into the story. It's emotional and compelling and you will be hard-pressed to walk away from this story until you reach the conclusion. It's as heart-wrenching as it is moving and this is why I love Steena Holmes and her books.

Audio thoughts: This was one of the best books I've listened to on audio in a while. The production was so well-done...both narrators did a fantastic job. The pacing and intonation were great and they each were able to infuse just the right amount of emotion into the voices as needed. It was so authentic that even for text messages, Angela Dawe read the messages out in a staccato voice so as to make it more like a text message - no emotion of any sort. This was perfect! 


1 comment

  1. A haunting story about dark secrets and untreated mental illness. I read this slowly to savor the gradual reveal of what really happened before Elle was born. I'm still thinking about it, weeks after I reached the last page. That's always an excellent sign!


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