Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne
eBook review copy, 432 pages
Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne is a highly recommended character study of love and redemption set in two time periods.
In 2013 Margaret
Holloway is driving home on icy, snowy roads when she finds
herself in a huge multi-car pile-up. Margaret is stuck in her car and
unable to get out. When she smells gas and realizes her car is on fire,
Margaret is sure she is going to die. Then, out of nowhere, a man comes
and tries to help her escape. He hurts his hand when breaking her
window, but manages to get her out of the car. Then he seemingly
disappears in the melee surrounding the huge accident.
After the accident, Margaret finds herself unable to concentrate. She
is having flashbacks to the crash and strangely remembering things from
her childhood that she thought she had forgotten, or repressed. She
also finds herself drawn to find and sit in the hospital at the bedside
of the man who saved her. She learns his name is Maxwell Brown
and that he's had no other visitors.
Alternating chapters are set in 1982. Big George McLaughlin was born
into a family of gangsters but he just wants to get back together with
his first girlfriend and help raise his daughter, Molly, away from his
family. When he meets Molly, now age 7, on her way to school, he ends up
unwittingly abducting her. We also learn of George's childhood. While
the two are on the run and bonding, a strange reporter named Angus
Campbell is trying to figure out who abducted Molly and make a name for
The present day story is told through Margaret's point of view, while
the story set in 1985 is told through multiple points of view, although
mainly through George and Angus.
I was looking forward to reading Everything She Forgot after reading The Guilty One
and I wasn't disappointed. Although it is being described as a mystery,
it is really more of a character study. While there is a mystery, much
of it will be easily discerned early on by most readers. There are
several surprises, though, that you won't figure out beforehand. What
will compel you to keep reading is the quality of the writing, the
answers to a few nagging questions, and
the emotional connection you will feel for Margaret and George.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy
of HarperCollins for review