My very grateful thanks to Naomi Mantin at Transworld Publishers for a copy of Luana Lewis’s ‘Forget Me Not’ in return for an honest review. It is published by Corgi on 5th November 2015.
When Vivien is found dead in her bathroom with a head injury, the initial suspicion is that she has killed herself, but appearances are not always as they seem. With so many lies and so much guilt the truth is hard to find. Did Vivien kill herself? Was she murdered? And will anyone ever know?
I thought ‘Forget Me Not’ was utterly brilliant. It made me feel quite tense the whole way through and my heart rate was genuinely elevated at times – especially when there is a particular jolt towards the end of the novel. The use of the present tense contributes to this breathless feeling. ‘Forget Me Not’ has a taut, almost claustrophobic, atmosphere and each chapter ends with such an effective hook it is difficult to put the book down.
As I read, I had no idea what the outcome would be and kept formulating different scenarios for how Vivien died. I genuinely suspected every character of having murdered her at some point.
I found the writing almost Shakespearean at times with universal themes of family, identity, belonging and guilt all adding layer upon layer of depth and interest. Luana Lewis really writes with consummate skill. Her prose manages to be intelligent, atmospheric and accessible. It is the attention to detail that constructs such an impressive novel.
Each of the characters is so well developed and the first person viewpoint for both Rose and Vivien makes the writing vibrant and compelling. There is a reduced character cast so that all their human frailty is explored fully, making them all, even the most minor characters, completely human and scarily accurate.
In a way, ‘Forget Me Not’ acts as a precise commentary on the human condition and the way modern society operates. Reading it made me question just how well we know ourselves, let alone other people. I thought the title was sheer genius. When readers get to the end of the story they will appreciate why it has been chosen (and I’m not going to spoil the book by saying more), but ‘Forget Me Not’ has so many layers of interpretation from the memento mori facet of Vivien’s death to each of the characters’ past lives and actions. Reading this book raised so many questions for me about how the author constructed her text and what her intentions were and I am delighted to be able to ask Luana Lewis some of them to be posted on this blog on 11th November.
I think ‘Forget Me Not’ can be read and enjoyed on so many levels. However, what ‘Forget Me Not’ is, above all else, is a fantastic psychological thriller and I cannot recommend it highly enough.