A great set-up leads to an emotional rollercoaster. 4/5 stars.
Thank you to Boldwood Books and the author for providing me with an e-copy of this book.
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.
I read and enjoyed Dear Dad by Giselle Green back in 2016, so was delighted to have the opportunity to read her latest book, The Girl You Forgot.
The set-up here – explained without spoilers in the blurb above – is terrific. The heroine, Ava, has an almost impossible dilemma: can she continue to lie to the man she loves while regaining his love and trust?
I will apologise at this point for my review being fairly brief, but I do think your enjoyment of this book will be much greater the less you know about the secrets to be revealed throughout the story, so I’m going to do my best to avoid any and all spoilers. I’m following my usual policy: if it’s in the blurb, it’s fair game. Otherwise I’m keeping quiet!
My favourite bit of The Girl You Forgot was the opening movement as we watch Ava and Will rebuild their relationship after his surgery and memory loss, a time during which they have to get to know each other all over again.
But with all the secrets lurking beneath the relationship, we know this lighter, sunnier period cannot last forever. And after a sizeable boulder gets lobbed into the calmer waters of the narrative at about the two-thirds mark, the story becomes more heart-wrenching and dramatic as we see the characters struggle with pain and grief.
I think the use of both Will and Ava’s perspectives works very well, as it’s crucial for us to have access to their respective memories and feelings to see how they do and don’t match up. In this sense, the choice of first person present tense for the narrative voices is effective as it makes our experience of the characters’ emotions more immediate and affecting. And, as in Dear Dad, the author excels at conveying difficult, complex emotions, especially feelings associated with depression and loss.
As the book moves into its final act, I was delighted to see Ava mature and come into herself as an individual. There were a few times earlier in the story when I would have liked to have given her a shake (gently), so I was pleased to see her pull herself together.
I loved the seaside setting, which was brought alive through descriptions of calmer and stormier days. One scene in which Ava and Will are sitting on the sea wall eating chips (and realistically have to abandon due to seagull strike!), was so evocative I could almost smell the salt air and feel the damp seeping through the character’s jeans.
Overall: recommended for those who enjoy dual-perspective stories and romance mixed with more serious themes.
You can find your own copy of The Girl You Forgot on Amazon.