It begins in the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut, where everything seems picture perfect.
Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, struggles to pretend this horrific event did not touch her carefully constructed world.
As Tom and Charlotte seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town – or perhaps lives among them – drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.
All Is Not Forgotten begins with a bang and the impact was felt strongly by this reader. It opens with Jenny Kramer, a high school student doing what high school kids do, partying and drinking alcohol. It was supposed to be the time of Jenny’s life, but it soon turns into her worse nightmare when she is cruelly subjected to a vicious hour long rape. Jenny is hospitalised, the physical and emotional damage to her is brutal to say the least. Jenny’s parents, naturally devastated, want to protect their little girl. While Dad Tom is focussed on catching the culprit to this terrible crime, Mum Charlotte is convinced erasing Jenny’s mind of the attack is the best way to go. Charlotte wins the argument and the Kramer family embark on the controversial process of allowing Jenny to receive a drug that will erase her memory of the attack. Several months later, it becomes obvious that Jenny is struggling to move on from the attack. The Kramer’s turn to a psychiatrist, Dr Alan Forrester, who is known for his experimental work in memory recovery. The path to accessing Jenny’s memory and consequently catching the culprit to her attack is not an easy process.
I can’t say I have ever read a novel quite like All Is Not Forgotten before, the author should be commended on her ability to write a highly original storyline, concerning a subject matter that is as complex as it is controversial. This is a cleverly written novel, taking the reader on many unexpected twists, as well as displaying emotional depth through the characters. There are times when I found this book hard to read, especially the areas involving Jenny’s assault. I shook myself off a few times, put the book down, even walked away but in the end I persisted. There are a few unknown and very hooking features in this novel that compels the reader to stick with the book. The narrator of All Is Not Forgotten completely baffled me. However, once I worked out who it was, I was struck by their ethics and general manner, which came across as clinical but creepy. It definitely gave the story a unique spin. I was also taken with the central mystery – just who raped Jenny Kramer? I had my suspicions, but these were incorrect. The small town dynamics played out well in this novel, as the police investigation and the town’s residents refuse to accept one of their own may have committed this horrific crime. When the conclusion was finally reached, I did breathe a sigh of relief, as I had been on tender hooks for the majority of the novel.
All Is Not Forgotten is a very dark psychological thriller, rich in controversial detail. It would make the ideal choice for a book club, inviting polarising discussion around its subject matter.
*Please note that a free copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes through Beauty and Lace. To read the original review on the Beauty and Lace website please visit http://bookgirl.beautyandlace.net/book-club-all-is-not-forgotten