Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Book Review: The Forgotten Village

By Becky Gulc

‘1943: The world is at war, and the villagers of Tyneham are being asked to make one more sacrifice: to give their homes over to the British army. But on the eve of their departure, a terrible act will cause three of them to disappear forever.

2018: Melissa had hoped a break on the coast of Dorset would rekindle her stagnant relationship, but despite the idyllic scenery, it’s pushing her and Liam to the brink. When Melissa discovers a strange photograph of a woman who once lived in the forgotten local village of Tyneham, she becomes determined to find out more about her story. But Tyneham hides a terrible secret, and Melissa’s search for the truth will change her life in ways she never imagined possible.’
(Synopsis ourtesy of Lorna Cook's website.)

I don’t particularly gravitate towards historical fiction so The Forgotten Village  (US title is The Forgotten Wife) by Lorna Cook isn’t a book I would normally select. With a dual-narrative spanning two different points in time I was open to reviewing this however, and I’m very glad of it. This is such a quality debut novel by Lorna, I just loved it.

I was quickly immersed in the novel and enjoyed both narratives, the present story from Melissa was neatly linked with the tale of Tyneham from the forties. The characters from both narratives were strong and well-rounded, a perfect blend of characters and I had a particular soft spot for Lady Veronica and Anna (who features in both narratives) thanks to their strong friendship.

The book covers domestic abuse in a historical context but it manages to be sensitive to this whilst not overly dark. Tyneham is very much a character in this novel through both narratives, as a functioning village in the forties to a ‘lost village’ in the present I loved reading about this. There was a strong sense of pending change for the residents in the past, and a real sense of history at this abandoned village in the present, quite eerie. I didn’t realise until I finished the novel that Tyneham is an actual ‘ghost village’ and this has made the story all the more interesting for me, very cleverly bringing together fact and fiction.

Another thing this book does so well is the romance side of things, I felt characters fall in love, the frustration of forbidden love, just all written so well.

I can’t praise this novel enough, such strong writing and I know it is a novel I’ll remember for a long time to come.

Thanks to Avon for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Janine said...

This book sounds really good

Michelle L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle L said...

Thank you for the review. I love historical fiction, and there have been a lot of really good books in this genre published this year. I will add this one to my TBR list.

Dianna said...

I wouldn't normally have read this book, although I do like historical fiction. The cover just didn't draw me in enough to read the summary. Your review has me thinking that I would like this one, though.

Carole said...

What a great review! It would be great if you would share this with everyone over at Books You Loved: May edition. Cheers from Carole's Chatter