Forgive Me – Lesley Pearse

Forgive Me

“Cheltenham, 1991

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

Eva had always believed her family life to be secure, but the suicide changes everything. And when Eva discovers that Flora has left her an artist’s studio in London, she realises just how little she knows about her mother.

Eva moves to London and meets Phil, her knight in shining armour, who agrees to help restore the now derelict studio, as well as offering the friendship she so badly needs. It seems that in the 1960s her mother was a successful artist, and in the studio’s attic Eva finds a collection of Flora’s paintings and diaries, purposely left for her. A hunt for answers leads Eva to a psychic, who warns her to beware of a ‘sleeping serpent’… referring to a shocking crime committed by Flora.

Will discovering the truth about her mother destroy Eva’s belief in everything she holds dear? And who will stand by her when the journey leads her – and those she loves – into certain danger?”

Firstly I’d like to thank ED Public Relations for sending me this book to read and give an honest review. The blurb sounded mysterious and intriguing so this was a book that I couldn’t wait to start.

Wow, what a powerful prologue – I have never cried so early on in a book or had that feeling of dread in my stomach without even knowing anything about the person in question, it was a hard-hitting start to an utterly compelling book!

When Eva made the devastating discovery I felt so sad for her, the author had described it all so well and I found it incredibly easy to picture the tragic scene. Eva’s father was very cold and detached where she was concerned and this sent all sorts of questions racing through my mind. The main question hanging over everything at this point was ‘why?’ and I was looking forward to joining Eva on her hunt for the truth.

Eva was a lovely character, she was mature for her age and with all the things she went through she had to grow up even more. Hurtful revelations after her mother’s death were the first turning point for her and I hoped that she would grasp the opportunity with both hands. She began to see the world in a different light and questioned many things that she hadn’t given much thought to before, I’d like to say that she wouldn’t face any more difficult times after this but I’m afraid that it was just the beginning.

I felt a nervous anticipation when Eva went to London to see the studio for the first time, I wasn’t sure if she was going to be strong enough to deal with it all. She took many knocks along the way and understandably there were times when she felt completely alone in the world, she really did seem to hit rock bottom and I felt desperately sad for her – I wanted to reach into the book and give her a hug. As she began building herself back up I was hooked, every little achievement made me smile and I felt like a proud mum as she dealt with any setbacks that came her way.

Phil played an important part in helping Eva to find her feet (he was so adorable, kind and caring), he supported her as she tried to piece together the puzzle of her mother’s life while simultaneously trying to create a life for herself.

There was a particular moment in the book when it suddenly became clear what the big secret was and it actually gave me chills! It also made me think back to what had already happened and look at everything differently, it definitely changed the direction of the book for me.

The subject of depression came up repeatedly throughout the book and as someone who has had personal experience of this illness I felt that it was written well – it was handled with care and accuracy in my opinion.

Something that I really loved about this book was how involved it made me feel, the writing drew me in and I felt like I was part of the story. Not knowing what was around the corner certainly kept me on my toes, the shocks and surprises just kept on coming and a final twist towards the end simply floored me – I couldn’t believe it!

The whole book completely captivated me – it made me cry, laugh, smile and frown. The message that I took from it was all about finding strength and courage when things get you down and this made me feel really empowered.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

One of the Top 5 bestselling female fiction authors in the UK, Lesley’s colourful life – from hanging out in 1960s London club-land; to bunny girl; to nursery worker and gift shop owner – meant that she was a latecomer to writing and her debut novel, Georgia, was published in her late forties.

A true storyteller and a master of gripping storylines, there is no set formula for a Lesley Pearse novel although strong heroines and difficult circumstances are pervasive. Whether historical adventures such as Gypsy or Never Look Back or the passionately emotive Trust Me, based on the true life scandal of British child migrants sent to Australia in the post war, Lesley is inspired by stories of courage and adversity and often gives voice to women lost in history. She is passionate about her research and her stories have taken her far and wide; from Alaska to the Crimea.

Lesley lives between Bristol and Bath and has three daughters and two grandsons. She is a devoted grandmother and will soon welcome a new grandchild into the Pearse family fold. A committed and passionate fundraiser for the NSPCC, Lesley speaks at functions across the UK in support of their work. The author of 20 bestsellers, Forgive Me will be her 21st.

You can visit Lesley Pearse’s website for more information.

Forgive Me is published by Michael Joseph and released today in hardback, it can be purchased from The Book Depository, Amazon or from most good book retailers.

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