Thursday, April 26, 2012

Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie

4 Star

Emma Tupper is a dedicated lawyer with a bright future. But when she takes a month-long leave of absence to go on an African vacation, she ends up facing unexpected consequences. After she falls ill and spends six months trapped in a remote village thanks to a devastating earthquake, Emma returns home to discover that her friends, boyfriend, and colleagues thought she was dead and that her life has moved on without her.
As she struggles to recreate her old life, throwing herself into solving a big case for a client and trying to reclaim her beloved apartment from the handsome photographer who’s taken over her lease, everyone around her thinks she should take the opportunity to change. But is she willing to sacrifice the job, relationships and everything else she worked so hard to build?

Lydia - 4 Star

Spin is a novel about starting over amidst unusual circumstances and illustrates that the impetus for change can come in many ways regardless of whether you want it or are ready for it. Emma’s life is altered forever when she returns home from what was supposed to be a three week trip to Africa – her mother’s last wish before her untimely death - but due to a natural disaster, she unexpectedly ends up remaining for six months. Returning home, Emma discovers everything she had was gone – her apartment, all her belongings, her bank account, even her boyfriend has moved on. Labeled missing and presumed dead, Emma finds that nothing normal remains of her perfect and orderly life. Watching Emma fight and then ultimately accept and adapt to her unexpected circumstances leads to a unique, fast paced and absorbing read.

In typical McKenzie style, the premise of Forgotten is just as unique and original as the storylines of her previous two novels and is one I found incredibly intriguing. To suddenly show up after several months expecting your life to go on as usual when it’s anything but because you’ve been declared to be missing and presumed dead was fascinating. How would I react if that was me? Would I expect everyone and everything to fall back into place, even if I wasn’t aware –as Emma was – that this assumption had occurred? Who could I go stay with? How would I be received? What if I wasn’t fortunate as I am to have friends and family that would take me in? What then? These were just a few questions inspired by reading Forgotten. It really made me think. And I like that.

McKenzie’s main characters usually grow on me over the course of her novels as I initially seem to have a hard time warming up to them. I find they are usually more detached and a bit cooler than other leading ladies I have cheered for in women’s fiction, but this doesn’t mean they are not worth rooting for. They all discover themselves over the course of her novels and Forgotten was no exception, although I found I didn’t enjoy Emma’s character quite as much. She came across as more rigid and dry to me and I didn’t find her internal dialogue and observations nearly as funny as McKenzie’s previous two main characters. I also thought her expectation that everything and everyone would just accept her back into their lives when she stayed away for so long without contact was a little too self-centered, but I suspect my own priorities might have been different. Even though I knew Emma was going through a rough time questioning her life after her mother’s passing, I just couldn’t relate especially with the slow drip of information that was revealed over the course of the novel which made me even more unappreciative of her lack of contact.

The supporting characters in Forgotten were fabulous. I wanted to have Emma’s best friend over to share a bottle of wine and have dinner with her exuberant and loving family. Emma’s love interest made me swoon and her arch enemy made me just as stabby as Emma. They were all fantastic and I only wish I had had the same strong feelings for Emma.

Regardless, I still really enjoyed Forgotten even with a little detachment. I still can’t quite put a finger on exactly why Forgotten didn’t stand out as much as McKenzie’s first two novels, Spin and Arranged, both of which I loved, but it was definitely still worth the read.

Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for our review copy!

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  1. I thought pretty much the exact same thing. Just posted my review but I think yours gets the point across better :) I'm already looking forward to what she comes out with next!



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