Remember Me – Charity Norman

A heart-rending, thought-provoking tale of a close-knit community ripped apart by its local GP’s disturbing, fragmented revelations as he succumbs to debilitating memory loss – revelations that cast new light on an unsolved missing-persons case and which throw the lives of those closest to him into unfathomable turmoil.

They never found Leah Parata. Not a boot, not a backpack, not a turquoise beanie. After she left me that day, she vanished off the face of the earth. A close-knit community is ripped apart by disturbing revelations that cast new light on a young woman’s disappearance twenty-five years ago.

After years of living overseas, Emily returns to New Zealand to care for her father who has dementia. As his memory fades and his guard slips, she begins to understand him for the first time – and to glimpse shattering truths about his past.

Are some secrets best left buried?

Another page-turning, emotive suspense novel from the Richard & Judy bestselling author of After the Fall and Radio 2 Book Club pick, 2020’s The Secrets of Strangers – ideal reading-group fiction, perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult and Clare Mackintosh.

Book Information: Print Length: 320 pages. Publisher Allen & Unwin. Publication Date: 3 March 2022

Charity Norman was born in Uganda and brought up in successive draughty vicarages in Yorkshire and Birmingham. After several years’ travel she became a barrister, specialising in crime and family law. In 2002, realising that her three children had barely met her, she took a break from the law and moved with her family to New Zealand. REMEMBER ME is her seventh novel.

My Review:

Charity Norman is one of a handful of authors that I read WITHOUT checking the blurb simply because I adore her writing and each of her books are brilliantly researched, thought-provoking, original and highly topical so when Anne Cater asked me if I wanted to be on the blogtour for Remember Me I said “absolutely 100% yes” immediately.

Now being a good little blogger I like to read my blogtour books at least three weeks in advance so I settled down one evening, opened the book on my kindle and quickly glanced at the description on Goodreads. My stomach literally dropped when I saw it was about a daughter returning to her childhood home to look after her father who has dementia, because unfortunately this for me is a little too close to home and rather raw. I try not to read books that would affect me in such direct ways, always viewing books as an escape from reality, but I had committed myself to the tour and pulled up my big girl’s pants and settled down to read.

Remember Me is about Emily, the youngest daughter of a family of 3 siblings, now living in the UK, working as an illustrator for a childrens author, with a grown up son travelling the world. One day she receives a call from her father’s neighbour in New Zealand, his health is deteriorating, his mental health is on the decline and he has been diagnosed with Alzheimers, can she fly over and look after him for a few weeks?

Emily doesn’t have a close relationship with her father, in fact it’s practically non-existent. Growing up she yearned for his approval and love but he was incapable of showing either to her, her siblings or mother. A strict and aloof man, Dr Felix Kirkland spent his time and attention on his patients oblivious to the hurt he caused his own family.

Emily’s move back to her childhood home in New Zealand brings up memories she has suppressed for years and one particular event which caused ripples of grief throughout the small town of Tawanui. A childhood friend and neighbour Dr Leah Parata disappeared on a hike 25 years ago, Emily was the last person to see her alive and as it’s the anniversary of her disappearance the media want to reinterview everyone involved with Leah at the time.

Spending time with her father, Emily starts to uncover secrets that Felix has kept from everyone since that fateful night Leah disappeared. Whilst trying to deal with the slow and painful realisation that her father isn’t the man she thought or hoped, she also has to cope with his dementia. Watching this previously strong and independant man who was competely in control of his feelings and emotions, struggle with his memories and everyday tasks was so heartbreakingly real and raw for me personally but gave me a better understanding in the affects of Alzheimers for both the family and the sufferer.

Remember Me deals with grief and loss, secrets and betrayal, hurt and forgiveness and takes the reader on an emotionally charged story full of compassion and warmth.

Another easy 5 stars from me and if you haven’t read any of Charity’s books before – please pick one up and immerse yourself in her incredible storytelling.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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