Fuel scarcity is a very real and rather startling phenomenon here in Nigeria. Last Saturday, I decided it was time to join the queue for fuel. In preparation for what was undoubtedly going to be an hour plus wait, I bought myself snacks and three novels; one of the novels was Forgive Me by Lesley Pearse.
As titles go, Forgive Me is certainly alluring. There is the promise of tragedy, of mystery, of drama. And the tagline 'Her mother's dying words...' further added to the tone. It's a title that pulled me in, though simple, it spoke to me; and for this reason I shall give the title 8/10.
The main character, Eva Patterson, discovers her mum, Flora, dead in the bath; and she spends the rest of the story trying to figure out the why behind her mother's actions. Only the secrets she discovers are greater than her wildest imaginations (although I'm proud to announce that I figured out the twist before the heroine did). The plot didn't strike me as being particularly unique, but it was engaging and I was eager to find out the secrets of the woman who had taken her own life. 7/10 for the plot.
As for the characters, they were well-rounded, they were flawed. Pearse paid special attention to even the secondary characters of which there were a few. Her love for Flora shone through her writing and I came to also love this woman whose actions I would never had endorsed and whose character swung from noble to heartless far too easily. I did find Eva trying at times, but she was a likeable character and one you could empathize with. 6/10 for the characters.
Pearse's attention to detail is enviable and I could see the pictures that she was trying to paint. I was in England in the dreary rain, with the flowers, with the sounds and the smells...
In the picture the cottage looked charmingly dilapidated, with straggling roses over the arch, the front door in need of a coat of paint, and a weed-strewn path leading from a sagging gate. But it wasn't like that now; it was painted a soft pale pink, the door glossy white, as was the latticework arch. Although it was late in the summer, there was purple clematis scrabbling through the carefully trained rose which still had many pink blooms.
Beautiful, isn't it? 8/10
If you like mystery, hidden secrets, family drama, this is definitely, definitely the book for you.