by Charity Norman
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 3 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 23 Feb 2022
Atlantic Books, Allen & Unwin
They never found Leah Parata. Not a boot, not a backpack, not a turquoise beanie. After she left me that day, she vanished off the face of the earth.
A close-knit community is ripped apart by disturbing revelations that cast new light on a young woman's disappearance twenty-five years ago.
After years of living overseas, Emily returns to New Zealand to care for her father who has dementia. As his memory fades and his guard slips, she begins to understand him for the first time - and to glimpse shattering truths about his past.
Are some secrets best left buried?
Another page-turning, emotive suspense novel from the Richard & Judy bestselling author of After the Fall and Radio 2 Book Club pick, 2020's The Secrets of Strangers - ideal reading-group fiction, perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult and Clare Mackintosh.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 47 members
Emily returns to New Zealand to care for her father who has dementia. As his memory fades and his guard slips, she begins to understand him for the first time - and to glimpse shattering truths about his past.Are some secrets best left buried?
Wow. This was so good.
Thanks to NetGalley and Atlantic Books for giving me an advance copy.
Charity Norman's great talent as an author is the way she gets inside every single character in her books so that you feel you know everything about them; even the minor characters are brought to life.
Emily returns to New Zealand to see her father who has Alzheimer's and extends her stay from the planned 3 weeks when she realises how much care he needs and how much her previously distant relationship with him is being improved by spending so much time together. However random comments that he makes and hidden documents that she finds start to arouse her suspicion that he knows more about the disappearance of a former schoolfriend than previously supposed and with which he may even have been involved.
The New Zealand landscape is beautifully painted and I could feel the heat, taste the dust and imagine the sheer vastness and emptiness of the area. This all added to the mystery and tension thereby creating an absolutely riveting read which transported me to the other side of the world. I loved every page of it and whilst desperate to find out what had happened to Leah I didn't want it to finish!
Another great read by Charity Norman, it was well written with great characters and a great storyline. I couldnt out ti down, I really enjoyed it.
Dr Felix Kirkland, now retired, is a golden and much loved pillar of his community. Every member of the small township of Arapito knows him and has good stories to tell about him, like what a dedicated and hardworking doctor he had been. He has three grown up children, twins Eddie and Carmen and another daughter called Emily. They are all living a good distance from their family home, but when it becomes obvious that Felix is struggling with his memory, Emily arranges to fly to New Zealand and spend a few weeks with her father, assessing his ongoing needs. Almost straight away Emily knows that his situation is serious and that she must stay longer to help him. Emily is the illustrator of a series of popular books for children. She settles down, working from her Dad’s home and spending time with her father and his two loyal dogs Gyp and Gloria. Their near neighbour Raewyn Parata helps her with her father. They have always been close family friends. Then Felix asks Emily to be the custodian of a letter that he has written to be opened only upon his death. Emily packs it away, promising her father that she will honour his request.
Emily becomes more and more certain that her father cannot cope with living independently. He does not want to go into a care home either. Emily extends her holiday and Eddie and Carmel, her siblings, come to see their father. They are both definitely keen to persuade Emily and Felix to go down the care home route. Felix is physically in great shape, but he is also deteriorating very quickly. At times he does not even recognise his home surroundings or even Emily. He is slipping away as the cruel beast of Alzheimer’s ravages his memories. His sleep pattern is atrocious and he has terrible nightmares. Emily keeps the house tidy and in doing so comes across a bundle of letters that leave her puzzled and unsure what to do.
Emily’s stay with her father coincides with the twenty fifth anniversary of a young adult’s disappearance. In fact Emily was the last person to see Leah Parata, Raewyn’s daughter, when she sold Leah a bar of chocolate to take with her on her proposed hike up to the mountains. The mystery of her disappearance has never been solved, but when Emily is asked by a journalist to retell her story she feels somewhat reluctant to drag up old memories. Nothing had changed from her first interview all those years ago. Already she is beginning to realise that Felix has a story to reveal and one that he has kept secret for a very long time.
I loved everything about this riveting story. Charity Norman is not only a master storyteller, but also creates her characters so skilfully that you will empathise with them and come to think of them as your friends; friends that you appreciate and care about. Her storyboards are rife with thrills and spills, suspense and mystery and so are beautifully rich and impassioned. I loved the charming descriptions of the local area, the valley and the mountains looming high. This author never disappoints and yet again she has written a real corker of a novel. I’d like to thank both NetGalley and the publisher of this book, Allen & Unwin for my copy of the novel and in return for an honest and truthful review. These are my own opinions without any other influences. This is my review and a richly deserved recommendation that this is fiction at its very best.
Emily Kirkland returns to her childhood home in a small town in New Zealand to care for her ailing father, Felix. As Felix declines, his memory starts to slide away to reveal the secrets of his past, which makes Emily question who he really is and if he knows more than he says about the disappearance of a young woman 25 years earlier.
Charity Norman is a master storyteller. As she sets the scene and weaves her characters, you are instantly engrossed. Her brilliant skill at characterisation almost makes you feel like you are in the person’s head. The depiction of Alzheimer’s in ‘Remember Me’ is astonishingly accurate and makes the story all the more plausible.
As always, I was completely floored by the ending and only had a slight inkling of what might be about to occur towards the climax of the story.
Charity Norman carries her readers with her through every step of her story. Her writing is compelling and I always love to get my hands
on one of her books. This one does not disappoint and I highly recommend it.
Set in New Zealand, 25 years ago Leah Parata disappeared when she was 26. She was heading into the local range to spend some time doing ecology work. Just before she left her home town she bought some sweets in the local garage and talked to her friend Emily who worked there. She must have been one of the last people who saw Leah before her disappearance. Now - 25 years on - Emily has returned to New Zealand to see her aging father Felix. He was "the" local doctor and now has Alzheimer's. As his condition gets worse Emily ends up caring for him. In doing this her relationship with, and understanding of, her father changes. Has he kept any secrets over the years?
I found the start of this intriguing. Leah chatted to Emily at the garage before she vanished and Emily clearly remembers the conversation. The town is small and despite 25 years having passed the fate of Leah is still a current topic. What remains of Leah's family - her mother and brother - are Felix's neighbours and good friends. With Emily living there for a while she picks up some of the friendships that have lapsed with distance and time. Deciding to stay with her father is both a simple and a hard decision. She has her life and work back in the UK and her father was never a particularly warm person.
However he is her father and their changing relationship is a major part of this story. Emily's twin siblings have their own agendas about their father and his safety and again that is part of this story and the tensions within it. The book follows Felix's gradual deterioration in Emily's care. Emily can't help reflecting on Leah's disappearance. As time goes by it gets harder and harder to get it out of her mind.
This book does switch time lines on occasion however I didn't find that an issue. As with many stories there is a gradual reveal. Did I have some theories about what might be revealed - yes. Was I right - no! I really liked Emily as a character. I felt she was credible and convincing. The same can definitely be said of Felix for me. The sense of place in a small isolated town in New Zealand was good and well used. Ultimately the writing here is of a very high standard as far as I am concerned. At times there is a beauty to it and tranquillity too.
While this book is about a disappearance 25 years ago it is equally about the changing relationship between a daughter and her father. I'd previously read and enjoyed Charity Norman's book The Secrets of Strangers so I was pleased to be able to read this one. For me this book is probably even better than that one. Anyone who is already a fan of this author should really enjoy it. Those who have not come across her work could easily try this one out and should find it a very good introduction.
Super happy to have been accepted to read this. Charity Norman is a fabulous author and her work always leaves a lasting impact on me.
‘Remember me’ was no different! It certainly will be a book I remember.
The storyline was really good, a girl from the past missing, a father who’s loosing his memory and secrets needing to be told.
I really liked how it would go from past to present to tell the story. It really helps builds up the suspense. And even though you knew something was a miss, once it was revealed it was still a shock! Quite heartbreaking also.
I liked the mixture of characters. They were very likeable which I think helps enjoy the story even more.
Overall it’s a lovely read. It has a mixture of everything in there. Would highly recommend.
Thank you NetGalley and Atlantic books for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Emily returns to New Zealand to look after her dad who has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. As his memory starts to fade, Emily discovers a dad she never knew existed and when a secret from the past comes to light, she has to decide whether to keep quiet or to reveal all.
Such a great read. Compelling and poignant. Excellent from start to finish.