Have you ever felt invisible dear reader? People seeing right through you and completely ignoring your existence? What if you have already been forgotten and are indeed now a ghost? How much can we truly forget before we realise what we need to remember first?
Today lovely readers I am on the blog tour for The Unforgetting (Published 9th January 2020) By Rose Black. A big thank you to the publishers Orion Fiction for my copy to review, always appreciated. And to the wonderful Anne for the invite who makes being a part of this community just awesome.
About The Author
Rose Black has written stories all her life. Her long-standing fascination with the Victorians and 19th century England underlies this novel. An award-winning freelance writer, she’s covered health, overseas development and education. Married, with two children, she lives partly in London and at other times by the sea. In her spare time, she enjoys wild swimming and growing food and flowers on her allotment.
A story of the trappings of fame, magic and the power of illusion in Victorian London.
Power, theatre and ghosts in a Victorian gothic historical, perfect for fans of The Silent Companions, The Night Circus and The Familiars.
When Lily Bell is sold by her father to a ‘Professor of Ghosts’ to settle a bad debt, she thinks she about to hit the London stage as an actress. But little does she know that the professor intends her to be his very own ghost, part of an elaborate illusion for a fascinated audience.
Obsessed with perfection, the professor covers all bases to ensure his illusion is realistic – and when Lily comes across her own obituary in the paper, and then her own headstone in the cemetery, she soon realises that she is trapped, her parents think she is dead – and soon her fate is to become even darker…
This is a story of obsession and haunting illusions that will leave the reader chilled to the bone. Set in the 19th century, the eerie gothic Victorian age, Black navigates the reader through a maze of shocking twists and disturbing turns that unhinges the mind and questions one’s grasp on reality.
Black’s writing is rich and insightful allowing the senses to come alive at the mere mention of textures, sounds and smells. The feel of the sand on your feet, the salty wind blowing in your hair and the taste of red wine in your mouth that suddenly makes you feel sick and dizzy. You quickly realise you have entered a world full of lies and deceit. Cheap tricks and fake scenes that encourage you to stay with Lily in her torment. It’s a battle of wills as the further you go, the darker the path becomes.
Lily as a main character grows on you. At first she is portrayed as innocent and naïve dreaming that she will become a famous actress on the stage. She adapts and changes as the narrative progresses. Lily is thrust into the claws of life and the real world, slowly seeing the evil standing in front of her. She faces many challenges and is forced to make sacrifices which build her strength and harden her skin. No longer soft to the touch, her hands become rough and are old before her years. I was biting my nails throughout, desperate for Lily to escape and be free from her fate. Her character development was intriguing to witness. At every stumble and fall you have been there to watch her pull herself back up, alone and afraid she carries on and fights for what she believes in.
The more Lily plays the part of the ghost, the more she starts to feel removed and doesn’t recognise herself. The reader sees her lose her grip on reality, questioning if she is truly dead or if it is just a performance. The two quickly become blurred as you too also begin to feel hazy about what is real and what isn’t. It’s enough to drive anyone mad and Black has captured this loss of control perfectly. Pushing the reader to the edge to look directly in the face of death and challenging it’s existence.
The women in the Victorian age had little say in matters and were often seen and not heard. In contrast, the women are the heart of this story, strong and brave. They support and look out for each other. For example Faye has always lived in her brother’s shadow and is presented as your average governess at first glance, a character in the background. What Black does with her is brilliant as we soon learn there is far more to her than meets the eye. Her story itself is just as tragic and sad as Lily’s, it broke me. I was a mess. I was in complete shock and awe at her inner strength. Very cleverly written, there is a lot of mysteries and unexpected events to surprise the reader.
Black voices sensitive topics such as rape, suicide and mental illness delicately and with care while still portraying a realistic view on them given the time. The pain and heartache these women had to silently suffer while still putting on a pretence that everything was fine is heartbreaking and you will find yourself ugly crying at the truth of it all.
I give The Unforgetting By Rose Black a Four out of Five paw rating
This book entraps you, bewitches you and finally, releases you. Black beautifully immerses the reader into the streets of the19th Century. Her strong female characters bring inspiring power and admiration to being a woman in a time when they were often seen as ghosts, drifting through life quietly and invisible. But this story gives them a chance to speak freely and break society’s chains. It’s also haunting to read how obsession can make people do unthinkable things. How it can drive one into madness and onto a path of destruction.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy!
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