The Unforgotten by Laura Powell
Published: March 17th, 2016
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
It’s 1956 and fifteen-year-old Betty Broadbent has never left the Cornish fishing village of St Steele or ventured far beyond the walls of the boarding house run by her erratic mother. But when the London press pack descends to report on a series of gruesome murders of young women, Betty’s world changes. In particular she is transfixed by mysterious and aloof reporter, Mr Gallagher. As the death toll rises, an unlikely friendship blossoms between Betty and Gallagher. But as their bond deepens, they find themselves entangled with the murders and each is forced to make a devastating choice, one that will shape their own lives – and the life of an innocent man – forever.
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*Amazon: The Unforgotten: A Novel
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing the advance copy.
In this story, we follow Betty Broadbent, a 15-year-old girl, who lives and works with her mother Dolores at Hotel Eden in St. Steele, a village on the south coast of Cornwall, England. The year is 1956 and the town has recently been hit with a slew of murders by the “Cornish Cleaver”, all young blond girls. The hotel is booked with news reporters one such man whom Betty takes a liking to named John Gallagher. They form a strong attraction to one another but the problem is Mr. Gallagher is twice her age. With the murders happening more and more things in this town become tense for everyone. Betty is grown far beyond her years because she has to take of her mother who has a drinking problem and she seems to be hung up on a married man. Then the story will alternate to 50 years later where the story unfolds through a woman named Mary who suffers from mental illness. She see’s an article in the paper from the Cornish Cleaver and he talks about his innocence. Mary has a panic attack and talks about how she let an innocent man go to jail to protect someone else. The story goes back and forth between the two time periods and we learn the truth about what happened and who the killer was. The pacing was steady. The book was neither bad nor was it fantastic. It was enjoyable and light. The ending twist was the best part because I did not expect the killer to be who it was. But the very ending was anticlimactic because it left me with a cliffhanger.
The characters were interesting people and really dynamic. They were all flawed human beings and somehow all connected in this weird web of trouble. The antagonist was never clear until you had the whole picture which was very interesting when we found out. That being said I didn’t connect with the characters much. This was much more of a plot-driven novel but the characters were well written and distinct in their voices.
The writing was mysterious and enticing. You really had to read until the end because the twists didn’t stop until the very last page. The author wrote with some dark undertones and taboo themes but it was enjoyable. The romance did not take precedence but the age gap was necessary to the overall outcome of the plot. If their age wasn’t a problem then many of the characters lives would’ve been much different. It was intriguing how the murders weren’t their fault but a lot of it came down to their silence. But the author did a great job of depicting the love, loss, descent into madness, and overall strife and grief that everyone faced.
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