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Forgive Me (2013)

The story starts with Flora Patterson planning and executing her own death. Her oldest daughter, Eva, finds her mother a few hours later, dead in the bathtub, with just a simple note that says 'forgive me'. This event turns Eva's world upside down but it seems it is just the beginning. Eva discovers the man she considered her father is not her father at all, and unexpectedly she inherits her mother's secret artist's studio in London. This is the start of Eva's journey to not only find out what her mother was hiding from her family for all those years and why she eventually felt she couldn't deal with it all any longer but also to discover who she is and which people around her she can truly trust. This novel was a very emotional, gripping and addictive read. From the first few pages, I was already absorbed by the story and especially wondering what could have driven Flora to take such a drastic decision as committing suicide, leaving her family and everything behind just like that. The story is set in the early 1990s and told from the perspective of Eva, a character who by the end of the book has matured and transformed as a person. Lesley Pearse introduces numerous other characters but she manages to describe each and every single one of them in close detail (I had no trouble envisaging all of them in my head) and giving them a specific essential role in the story line. The novel is incredibly fast-paced, which made me want to keep on reading, because with every chapter something new and unexpected would happen. The book deals with some quite intense issues, and towards the end I have to admit some of the events were a bit too much drama for my personal liking. However, Forgive Me is a thoroughly gripping, emotional and fast-paced novel, and demonstrates why Lesley Pearse continues to be one of the UK's bestselling female authors. (JoH)

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