Forgotten is the third novel by Catherine McKenzie. I've enjoyed both previous novels - Spin (my review) and Arranged (my review) but I think that Forgotten is my favourite - so far.
I always stop and look at a cover before reading and wonder - what does the picture have to say about the story? What's in the gift box? Who has has given it to her? What is she thinking about?
The gift? Well, when Emma Tupper's mother dies, she leaves Emma a ticket for a journey she wished she could have taken herself - a month in Africa.
"Her death was a fractional thing. One moment she was still and pale, but alive. The next she was gone. It seemed like almost nothing had happened, but that almost nothing changed everything for me."
Emma is a lawyer and has been working towards partnership for many years. When her firm strongly discourages her taking a month long absence, she surprises herself by going anyway. The trip starts out well, but within a few days, Emma is seriously ill. The safari leader leaves her with volunteers in a remote village with a promise to send a doctor. But then an earthquake decimates the country. Emma recovers, but there is still no way for her to contact anyone from her remote village. Six months later, she is finally able to return, ready to step into her life again. But, that life is no more - the key to her apartment doesn't work, there's a strange man living there, she can't reach any of her friends by phone, someone else has her job...and more. When Emma googles herself, she discovers the truth - she's been declared dead.
McKenzie has concocted a great premise that just opens up so many avenues. As one supporting character advises Emma - to "treat what happened to me like an opportunity to change the things in my life I didn't like."
Emma was an eminently likable character. Her best friend Stephanie was loads of fun - I'm quite taken with her bookstore/match making concept! All the classic elements of a great chick lit read are here - love interests (then and now), b****y co-workers, a great supporting cast with both humorous and wise characters, missed cues and found opportunities. But in addition to all that, there is that underlying question - what's important and what would you change? Lots of food for thought here.
McKenzie's prose flow easily, deliciously enveloping me in Emma's tale for hours at a time. If you're looking for a feel good read that will both entertain and have you thinking about what's really important, make sure you include Forgotten. It's one you won't forget. (sorry - couldn't resist!)
And thanks to the great folks at William Morrow, I have two copies to giveaway! Simply comment to be entered. US only. Ends Nov. 10/12
CATHERINE McKENZIE was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. A graduate of McGill University and McGill Law School, Catherine practices law in Montreal. An avid runner and skier, her novels SPIN and ARRANGED are national bestsellers. Visit her online at catherinemckenzie.com. Or you can find Catherine on Facebook and on Twitter.
(This review originally appeared on this blog on April 24/12 with the Canadian release of Forgotten. I wanted to make sure all of my US readers knew about this great book - and had a chance to win a copy!)