Monday, 28 January 2013

Book review: Forgive Me by Lesley Pearse

My edition: Paperback (ARC), to be published on 14 February 2013 by Michael Joseph, 512 pages.

Description: Cheltenham, 1991

When Eva Patterson returns home from work one day, a devastating scene awaits her. Her mother, Flora, lies dead in the bath. Beside her is a note saying only: 'Forgive Me'.

Until then, Eva always believed her family's life would be comfortable and secure - but Flora's suicide changes everything. And when Eva discovers that in her will Flora left her an artist's studio in London, she realises how little she knows about her mother's past.

When Eva visits the now derelict studio, she is shocked to find out that her mother was once a successful artist back in the 1960s. A chance encounter leads her to Phil, who agrees to help her restore the studio, as well as offering her the advice and friendship Eva so badly needs.

In the studio attic she finds a collection of Flora's paintings and old diaries, which Eva believes were purposely left for her to find. Searching for answers, Eva encounters a psychic who mysteriously warns her to beware of a 'sleeping serpent', which she soon discovers refers to a shocking crime in Flora's past.

Will discovering the truth destroy Eva's belief in everything she holds dear? And will Phil stand by Eva even when her journey leads her and those she loves into certain danger?

Rating:


Forgive Me opens with Flora and the stomach-churning vivid description of her suicide. The moment her daughter Eva Patterson discovers the body is brutally realistic and if that wasn't enough to traumatise her for the rest of her life, the death of her mother sets into motion much bigger wheels. It turns Eva's existence completely upside down and changes everything she's ever known about herself and her family.

Throughout the book I felt a lot of sympathy for Eva, who is a very likeable character and doesn't deserve all the harm that comes her way. It seems that from the moment her mother gets brutally ripped from her life she's in for one devastating encounter after another and it's a testimony to her character and inner strength that all the horrible things that happen to her don't encourage her to follow in Flora's footsteps within the first few chapters.

The novel is immensely sad and often distressing, not only for protagonist Eva but also for the reader. It is filled with shocking twists, emotionally draining discoveries and deceiving characters, which make it very hard to trust anyone or believe anything at all.

Author Lesley Pearse has a flair for depicting the dramatic and in this book she ticks many gritty boxes; suicide, physical and mental abuse, attempted murder and derangement, to name a few. Combined with her incredible ability for highly intriguing storytelling this novel will mesmerise the reader from start to finish.


Many thanks to Penguin UK and Lovereading for an advanced reader copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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