When author Lesley Anderson got in touch with me to ask if I’d like to review her book, I was very intrigued. It is mostly about young Anna who has just told her dad, Mick, that she is having psychic experiences. It is also about Mick’s struggle as a single father following the tragic death of his wife. Anna’s grandfather Henryk is a major voice as we hear of his escape from Poland during the second World War. And, seemingly unconnected initially, we meet Ruth, a nurse who has been working in Edinburgh but who has just quit her job and returned to her hometown of Galashiels where the others all live.
The novel begins with a letter from teenage Ruth to her mother, full of anger but also sadness. Ruth’s mother has also died and Ruth writes to her to express her emotions. There are a few of these letters throughout the book and they were very touching. The loss of a mother under varying circumstances is a theme of this book and how that loss affects the characters throughout their lives. The loneliness, anger and confusion experienced by both Ruth and Anna is particularly movingly expressed.
Lesley Anderson has created very memorable characters whose thoughts and emotions are so well portrayed. Henryk’s story in particular, I found compelling. He is Anna’s much loved grandfather, a Polish immigrant who fled Poland on foot near the beginning of WW2. Like many teenagers, Anna hasn’t been particularly interested in her grandfather’s past, but when he realises she appears to be psychic he decides to take her on a trip to where her grandmother died. Her grandmother, Rosa, in common with Anna, also had mystic abilities. This was the part of the book I enjoyed the most as the two bonded during their trip. Henryk had such an amazing story to tell, not just of his own life, but that of his mother too. I gained some insight into life for the Roma community in Poland during WW2 as they, like Jews, faced persecution from the Nazis. Learning about the Polish resistance movement and the salt mines and a little of how Henryk lived when he arrived in Scotland was fascinating.
There’s so much more I could say about the characters and storylines in this book but instead I would urge you to read it for yourself. It’s a real page turner as you learn more about each character and become immersed in their stories. I am very pleased to learn that the author is working on a sequel as I am keen to know what the future holds for Anna.
My thanks to the author for offering me a copy of her book to review. Not Forgotten was published in paperback on 24th September 2015 and you can order a copy here: Not Forgotten
From the back of the book
Seventeen year old Anna Munro has just revealed to her dad that she has out of body experiences and can see ghosts. Her dad, Mick, a single parent is struggling to come to terms with his daughter’s revelations, when Ruth – his first love of 20 years ago – arrives back in town to find him. Anna’s papa, Henryk, is determined to help Anna understand the intriguing paranormal qualities she has inherited from her Polish great grandmother, Rosalia. In his quest he takes Anna back to Poland to the exact spot where Rosalia was shot dead by the Nazis. On the trip, Anna learns of her Papa’s courageous escape. Not Forgotten delves into the complex emotional relationship between love and loss and how these quite disparate but always interlinked emotions are continually forging and moulding our personality, from the moment we are born to the day we die.