It’s such a delight today to be helping launch the blog tour and sharing my review of The Girl You Forgot by Giselle Green: published today by Boldwood Books, it’s now available for kindle (and free via Kindle Unlimited), in paperback and as an audiobook. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, to the author for my (very) early reading copy, and to the publishers for the final version (provided via netgalley).
That night last November when I collected my RNA Media Star of the Year award was full of lovely moments and memories – and one I really treasured was the opportunity to have a lovely long conversation with Giselle Green. Way back in June 2014, I shared my reviews of both Little Miracles and Finding You (you can read the post again here) – and I knew I’d discovered an author whose writing I would always enjoy, who wrote sensitively handled family drama with finely drawn emotional depth. In 2016, I had another opportunity to read and review one of Giselle’s books – Dear Dad (you’ll find my review here, together with an interview), with its wonderful story and big themes around what families mean and the nature of love.
And then everything went a bit quiet for a while – but Giselle told me all about the premise of this book as we chatted, and when I had the opportunity to be an early reader (a little ahead of the pack) found it was just what I’d hoped it might be. Boldwood do have an unerring eye for books people will enjoy – so when I heard they’d signed up another of my favourite authors and would be publishing this book, I couldn’t have been more delighted.
Let’s take a closer look…
Does the heart never really forget?
When Ava’s partner Will is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour, the doctors give Will one chance to survive – an operation which means he will lose his recent memory. Ava begs him to take the chance, sure that she can cope with Will forgetting her. After all, they have something very special to live for.
But they are also keeping a heart-breaking secret, and if Will loses his memory, Ava will have to carry that secret alone.
Can they rebuild their love from scratch or will their secrets and past come between them? Will Ava really be a stranger when Will wakes up – or does the heart never really forget…
Giselle Green returns with a heart-breaking, deeply moving story of love, loss, and what it really means to be alive. Perfect for all fans of Jodi Picoult, Susan Lewis and Diane Chamberlain.
The idea behind this book is something really different – a moral dilemma of a kind I’ve never come across before. If an operation would save your life, but mean that you lose a slice of your recent memory, would you go ahead? Even if it meant that you might not recognise those you love? And supposing there was a particular issue making you feel that life might just not be worth living – if your memory loss wiped everything clean, would you want to know about it? When Will proceeds with the operation, Ava becomes the guardian of that immense secret – is it really feasible that their lives can just be started again?
I really enjoyed this book – the book’s central concept is quite wonderfully delivered through the voices of its two main characters. Ava carries her heavy burden while growing close to Will once more, and as the date draws closer for the birth of her child – and Will finds himself again, and what makes him happy, coming to terms with the loss of seven years of memories. It’s an enthralling read, with moments of discovery and sometimes sheer joy as, over time, they rekindle their earlier romance and find each other again. But there’s always that lurking shadow, the possibility that Will will uncover the secret – and the fact that Ava concealed the truth, however justified, might just blow their relationship apart.
The two main characters entirely won my heart (particularly Will – he’s so lovely!), but I loved some of the supporting characters too. Toby, Will’s American songwriting partner becomes a real friend he can count on – unlike Ava’s friend Ginny with the particular complexities affecting their relationship. I particularly liked Harry, a man with significant memory problems of his own, who tends the garden at the Butterfly Cafe where Ava works – some of their encounters, every time the first time for him, made me smile, as did his occasional unexpected insights and words of wisdom. There’s quite a focus on family too: Ava’s sister, the relationship with her parents, Will’s rather complicated family, and that whole question of parenthood highlighted by a range of meetings and interactions.
Things do, of course, go seriously awry – as they were rather bound to – but the twists and turns that follow are handled quite superbly. This is one of those books that you read while wanting to cover your eyes – you can see devastation approaching, but there’s nothing you can do about it other than silently shout “stop” and “don’t do it”. The emotional touch around it all, as you watch that desperately uncomfortable unravelling, is damned near perfect – a whole situation that the author really makes you feel. And although I’ll tell you no more about it, I did think the way the ending was handled was pretty near perfect too.
This is a book full of hope, all around whether the heart remembers what the memory might have forgotten – and where love might just carry you through a situation that seems quite impossible to bear. And the author’s writing has really never been better – I loved this book.
About the author
Giselle Green is an award-winning, bestselling contemporary women’s fiction author. Mum to six boys (half of whom have flown the nest) and owner of one bright orange-and-cinnamon canary who hopefully never will, Giselle enjoys creating emotionally-gripping storylines about family and relationships.