The Forgetting by Hannah Beckerman

My enormous thanks to Hannah Beckerman for sending me a copy of her latest book, The Forgetting, in return for an honest review. I’m delighted to share my thoughts today – albeit later than I’d hoped!

The Forgetting was published by Lake Union on 1st April 2023 and is available for purchase here.

The Forgetting

When Anna Bradshaw wakes up in a hospital bed in London, she remembers nothing, not even her loving husband, Stephen. The doctors say her amnesia is to be expected, but Anna feels cut adrift from her entire life.

In Bristol, Livvy Nicholson is newly married to Dominic and eager to get back to work after six months’ maternity leave. But when Dominic’s estranged mother appears, making a series of unnerving claims, Livvy is sucked into a version of herself she doesn’t recognise.

A hundred miles apart, both women feel trapped and disorientated, and their stories are about to collide. Can they uncover the secret that connects them and reconstruct their fractured lives?

My Review of The Forgetting

Anna has been in a road accident.

The Forgetting is an incredibly good read. I found it exciting, unsettling and brilliantly crafted so that it becomes one of those narratives that resonates long after it has been read. Hannah Beckerman gives the reader intense food for thought and makes them consider afresh what they think they know about not only the story, but the people in their real lives. What I found so effective was the underlying sensation of menace, even when lives seem ordinary and plausible. 

I found the characterisation so convincing. Throughout, whilst mistrusting Dominic from the start whom I loathed unreservedly, I was unsure about Stephen. His character is so well depicted that I couldn’t decide if he were genuine or manipulative. I frequently found myself responding very strongly to both Anna and Livvy, mentally berating them for being too accepting or passive and yet understanding completely, because of the quality of the writing, why they responded as they did to Dominic and Stephen. This had the effect of helping me empathise with others in similar situations in real life, making The Forgetting a powerful read..

As the two very different marriages are described, I was unsure how the dual strands of the story would be drawn together. I thought I had the plot pretty well worked out but was wrong footed and entertained in equal measure. I loved the way the two narrative threads merged in an enormously satisfying conclusion that made my pulse race. 

But The Forgetting is far, far more than mere entertainment, as excellent as that is. What Hannah Beckerman does is to explore dark and plausible themes so that contemplating the story after it us read enhances the experience further and becomes unnerving. The effect of nature and nurture, control and coercion, family, amnesia and identity all swirl through the pages in a manner that makes the reader realise that what happens in the lives of these people here is replicated in so many real lives. 

I thought The Forgetting was a superb read. I found it intelligent, carefully crafted, tautly plotted and thought provoking as well as thoroughly entertaining. I cannot recommend it highly enough. 

About Hannah Beckerman

Hannah Beckerman is a bestselling author and journalist whose novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages worldwide. She is a book critic and features writer for a range of publications including The Observer and the FT Weekend Magazine, and has appeared as a book pundit on BBC Radio 2 and Times Radio. She chairs literary events across the UK, interviewing authors and celebrities, and has judged numerous book prizes including the Costa Book Awards. Prior to writing her first novel, Hannah was a television producer and commissioning editor for the BBC, Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel, and for two years lived in Bangladesh, running a TV project for the BBC. She now lives in London where she writes full-time.
For further information, visit Hannah’s website, follow her on Twitter @hannahbeckerman and Instagram or find her on Facebook.

8 thoughts on “The Forgetting by Hannah Beckerman

  1. It sounds like a good read, I have recently read, Someone Close to Home by Alex Craigie, which I think from reading your review, The Forgetting touches on similar themes. I wilt put it on my TBR list.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I bought this after reading the impossible truths of love earlier this year (also makes you think long after finishing it), think I need to get this one sharpish – great review

    Liked by 1 person

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