Author: Nicole Trope
Published: June 28th 2017
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Australian, Psychological
Rating: 4 stars
In a single day, a simple mistake will have life-altering consequences for everyone involved.
A moment of distraction, an unlocked car and a missing baby. How on earth could this happen?
All Malia needed was a single litre of milk and now she’s surrounded by police and Zach has disappeared.
Detective Ali Greenberg knows that this is not the best case for her, not with her history – but she of all people knows what Malia is going through and what is at stake.
Edna is worried about the new residents at the boarding house. She knows Mary would turn in her grave if she knew the kinds of people her son was letting in.
And then there is someone else. Someone whose heart is broken. Someone who feels she has been unfairly punished for her mistakes. Someone who wants what she can’t have.
What follows is a heart-stopping game of cat-and-mouse and a race against the clock. As the hours pass and the day heats up, all hope begins to fade.
A gripping, haunting family drama shot through with emotion and suspense.
Malia, a harried mother of three, is confronted with a decision one morning all mothers and families face at some point. Malia has run out of milk for breakfast and has two children in the midst of a tantrum, refusing to eat anything but their breakfast cereal with milk. Malia’s response is one I as a mother would also choose to take, bundle all three kids in the car and head to the nearest outlet to retrieve the milk. Only the split second decision to leave her youngest child, five month old Zac in the car whilst she purchases the milk at the local 7 Eleven, has far reaching implications for this family. Malia returns to her car to every mother’s worse nightmare, Zac has been snatched from the unlocked car.
Forgotten, by Nicole Trope, is the story of Malia’s decision to leave her infant son unattended in an unlocked car outside a local 7 Eleven and the fallout that ensues from this heartbreaking mistake. The police soon descend on the scene of the crime and assign Detective Ali Greenburg to the case. Ali is a woman who has recently returned to the workforce after her own personal tragedy. Although Ali caries the burden of the loss of her own child, she knows she is the best person to both crack the case and support Malia in her time of need. In this race against time situation to save the life of an innocent young child, a lonely elderly lady named Edna may hold the key to saving Zac’s life. Also out there is a woman in pain, extreme emotional pain, who is willing to risk it all to gain a second chance at having the perfect family unit. In the background, little Zac’s life hangs in the balance, as the authorities rally together to save him and deliver him safely back into the arms of his mother.
Forgotten is the seventh novel I have read by Nicole Trope and I am pleased to report Trope is one of those authors that I have both managed to read and enjoy all of her novels released to date. Trope’s style of writing is best described as an Australian Jodi Picoult. This latest novel, Forgotten and Trope’s backlist, are emotionally charged psychological based novels, focussed on issues relevant to everyday people.
Trope’s latest narrative focus puts the spotlight on the strains of motherhood, an issue that will easily strike a chord with a wide readership. As a mother of young children myself, the central topic of Forgotten moved me immensely. I have been in Malia’s shoes, I have run out of essential grocery items and I have faced that agonising decision over leaving a sleeping child in the car rather than grappling with a difficult shopping experience. These are the everyday realities the modern parent faces. It is hard and sometimes we get it wrong, it is a lesson that poor Malia, the mother and one of the main protagonist’s of Forgotten faces. It is also a situation that Trope handles with sensitivity and insight.
Trope’s narrative is delivered at a steady pace. Once I started Forgotten, like all Trope’s previous books, I experience difficulty in putting them down. Forgotten was read in one sitting, which doesn’t surprise me at all! Forgotten is a novel that will entice you to turn the pages at a frantic pace, as you get wrapped up in the fight to save baby Zac’s life. The narrative choice of employing four separate character voices to deliver their own version of the events of the novel was compelling. As a result, a rounded picture forms of this horrifying situation. Eventually, these distinctly different voices come together, as the book hurtles towards a startling conclusion. It was a shocking conclusion, but one I could unfortunately see coming.
Using four different points of view to compile this story gives us a four contrasting character studies. From Malia, the stressed Mum of the missing boy Zac, to the concerned old lady Edna, to the determined but vulnerable detective Ali and finally the emotionally damaged Jackie, each are sculpted deftly by Trope. As I am in similar life situation to Malia, I connected with her easily and quickly. However, Ali and Jackie are characters the reader feels drawn to. Edna is more a woman I felt sorry for, rather than connect with, but I could see how pivotal her part was to the story. The secondary characters in this novel are mainly the husband’s and although their situations highlighted some of the issues facing the fatherhood in today’s age, they were mostly unlikeable characters!
Forgotten is a story that gives a voice to modern parenting pressures, relationships and marriages. Within the novel issues of mental health, loneliness in old age, addiction, loss and jealously, which all have a role to play in this salient novel. One that will tug at the heartstrings of any parent, Nicole Trope’s latest novel, Forgotten, is an engrossing novel that I endorse with ease.
*I wish to thank Bookstr/Allen & Unwin for providing me an uncorrected proof copy of this novel for review.
Forgotten, by Nicole Trope is to be published on the 28th June 2017 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Forgotten, Nicole Trope, visit here.