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Review: ‘Forgive Me’ by Lesley Pearse

Review: 'Forgive Me' by Lesley Pearse
Review: 'Forgive Me' by Lesley Pearse

Opening with the horrific suicide of Flora Patterson, Forgive Me is a captivating tale that has all the ingredients of a great summer read.

Flora’s eldest daughter, Eva, believes that all is well in the world. With her rebellious years behind her, a secure job and a stable life, she is left traumatised when she discovers her mother in a bloodied bath, with a note that simply reads “Forgive Me”.

Each family member responds to grief differently, and all Eva can do is help her two younger siblings cope with the trauma. It’s hard enough dealing with her mother’s death, but she is given little reprieve when her father turns on her in scathing rage. In his drunken anger she learns not only about a family secret that shakes her to the core, but also that her mother was a successful artist in her youth, and she has inherited a studio.

Confounded, she realises how little she actually knew about her mother. Visiting the derelict house, Eva wonders whether her inheritance is a gift or a punishment, it’s in such an awful state. She soon discovers old paintings and diaries hidden away in the attic. While one includes a series of drawings of her as a baby, there are many cryptic entries that are filled with stories of a secret past that is very different to the one Flora had shared with her daughter.

Captivated and desperate, and despite a warning of a “sleeping serpent” from a psychic, Eva begins a search for the truth about her mother’s past. Stirring up the memories of some interesting characters, she uncovers a shocking crime. Forgive Me is a layered novel that is difficult to put down, confronting the pain of grief and how family secrets always have a way of coming out.

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