Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne
ISBN: 9780062391483 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780062391490 (ebook)
ASIN: B00SG1ELOG (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow
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?
Margaret Holloway is a devoted teacher as well as a loving wife, mother, and daughter. After fighting to keep a student in school, she begins her drive home only to wind up in a horrific multi-car accident. Margaret is trapped in her car as it begins to burn due to a ruptured fuel tank. Thankfully, she’s saved by a stranger, who quickly disappears from the scene. The accident and the kindness of this stranger awaken long-lost memories in Everything She Forgot.
The story begins in December 2013 on the day of the tragic multi-car accident, and alternates between December 2013 and late September and early October 1985 as we’re introduced to seven-year-old Molly Henderson, Big George McLaughlin, Angus Campbell, and Kathleen Henderson. Ms. Ballantyne provides the backstory to George McLaughlin’s life and obsession with the love of his life, Kathleen Jamieson, and their daughter Molly. George decides to find Kathleen and, once again, ask her to marry him, but he finds that Kathleen is married and seems to be quite happy in her new life. He then decides to introduce himself to his daughter Molly, only after seeing her being bullied by three girls on her way to school. That introduction turns into an unplanned abduction that forces George to run from Scotland into England with his daughter. Angus Campbell is a local reporter in the area Molly was abducted from. All he wants is to be a respected journalist and he decides that it is his duty to find out all he can about Molly and Kathleen and he has to be the one to bring Molly safely back home.
Everything She Forgot is a story that I didn’t want to put down. I quickly became invested in Margaret, George, and Molly’s stories and wanting to know what happens next. I wanted to know more about Margaret and her apparent obsession with the stranger that saved her. I needed to know more about George and Molly and their “adventure” into England. The more I read, the more I found myself pulled into the story. I empathized with Kathleen as she awaited news about her daughter. I felt sorry for George and the horrible childhood he had but rejoiced over the connections he was building with his daughter. His abduction of Molly may not have been planned, but it still caused needless trauma to Molly and her parents. It took a while for me to get used to the back-and-forth between past and present, but once I did the story seemed to suck me in. Did I enjoy Everything She Forgot? Yes! Ms. Ballantyne has crafted a beautiful and haunting story about memories, relationships, and the need for family. If you enjoy reading well-written stories, then you’ll want to add Everything She Forgot to your reading list.
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