Title: Everything She Forgot
Author: Lisa Ballantyne
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Source: copy provided by the publisher for an honest review
Summary from Goodreads:
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…?
Having never read any of Lisa Ballantyne's other novels, I was not sure what to expect from her latest thriller. I've read a lot of thrillers lately, and I was wondering how Ballantyne would make hers stick out from the rest of the pack. I was pleasantly surprised! Ballantyne keeps this book going at a fast pace, and her writing excises the extraneous detail and description that I find often plagues other mystery novels. The plot never lets up, and I was hooked right up to the end.
One thing that really impresses me about this book is that it is a thriller, but it is not bogged down in a lot of violent, gruesome detail. I've found extreme violence to be commonplace with most of the suspenseful novels I've read lately, and while I don't have a problem with that as a literary tool in general, it can get difficult to read such graphic violence over and over. There are some vicious scenes in the book, but they are few and far between, with much more focus placed on the motives of the characters and their personal struggles.
Ballantyne uses a multiple-narrator format, which works well for the type of mystery she weaves together here. That said, I was surprised by a few of the details she chose to reveal before the end. There was one "big" reveal in particular that I felt was let out of the bag a bit early, and there was also one primary narrator whose story ended up feeling rather ancillary to the rest of the plot. The multiple POVs were definitely necessary for how the book rolled out, but I do think they could have been used a bit more poignantly, especially around the conclusion.
While I do think those caveats are worth mentioning, I don't think that should push you away from the book as a whole. Everything She Forgot grabbed my attention right from the get-go, has a cast of characters that will make you run the gamut of emotions, and does a great job balancing the labels of "captivating thriller" and "heartwrenching family drama".
William Morrow is hosting a giveaway of Everything She Forgot! Three lucky readers will win a copy at the end of this blog tour. Enter below!
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