Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger by Suzanne Fortin. My thanks to Vicky Joss at Head of Zeus for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my limited edition proof copy. The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger was published as an ebook on 4th March and will be available in paperback on 10th June 2021.
About the Book
Sometimes the past won’t stay hidden, it demands to be uncovered…
Arthur Pettinger’s memory isn’t what it used to be. He can’t always remember the names of his grandchildren, where he lives or which way round his slippers go. He does remember Maryse though, a woman he hasn’t seen for decades, but whose face he will never forget.
When Arthur’s granddaughter, Maddy moves in along with her daughter Esther, it’s her first step towards pulling her life back together. But when Esther makes a video with Arthur, the hunt for the mysterious Maryse goes viral.
There’s only one person who can help Maddy track down this woman – the one that got away, Joe. Their quest takes them to France, and into the heart of the French Resistance.
When the only way to move forwards is to look back, will this family finally be able to?
Format: ebook (379 pages) Publisher: Aria
Publication date: 4th March 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Find The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger on Goodreads
The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger is one of those books that offers something for just about every reader: there are elements of domestic drama, such as the family tensions caused by caring responsibilities; scenes of wartime adventure and romance; and a search for a long lost love.
I loved the touching and very natural relationship that develops between Maddy’s daughter, Esther, and her great-grandfather, even if Arthur does occasionally struggle to recall Esther’s name (although he never seems to forget that his favourite biscuits are digestives). It’s a neat echo of the close relationship Maddy remembers having with Arthur herself when she was younger. As it turns out, affection for Arthur is not the only thing Esther has inherited. She also has the same inquisitive nature and independent instincts as her mother.
The book eloquently conveys the challenges of caring for someone with dementia, although Maddy’s sympathetic response and greater understanding of Arthur’s need for routine proves much more successful than that of her half-sister, Hazel, who previously cared for him. (Arthur privately christened Hazel ‘Moaning Minnie’). Although Maddy recognises the role photographs and music can play in provoking what memories are left, she knows it’s only a matter of time before Alzheimer’s claims Arthur completely. I’m sure many readers can empathize with Maddy when she thinks, “It was so cruel, so painful this long goodbye, watching her grandfather slowly disappear in front of her…”.
The author finds imaginative ways to allow the reader inside the mind of Arthur and witness his own frustration at his declining memory. “It was all muddled up in his mind like a heap of spaghetti and he didn’t know where the strands of thought started. They were a jumbled mess of words and images, fragments of memory and snatches of thought – all knotted up together.”
The details of Maddy’s search for Maryse, assisted by investigator and ex-boyfriend, Joe, and the difficult moral dilemmas thrown up along the way, will be familiar to fans of TV programmes such as Heir Hunters or Long Lost Family. Trust me, as the book nears its conclusion, you’ll find yourself in complete agreement with Arthur as he thinks, “He wished he knew how his story ended and what happened to those he loved”.
For me, the ending, although bittersweet, was the perfect conclusion to the story. After all, there’s more than one way to be reunited.
In three words: Touching, emotional, poignant
Try something similar: Endless Skies by Jane Cable
About the Author
Suzanne Fortin is a USA Today and Amazon UK & USA best selling author, with The Girl Who Lied and Sister Sister both reaching #1 in the Amazon UK Kindle chart in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Her books have sold over a million copies and translation rights for her novels have been sold worldwide. She was born in Hertfordshire but had a nomadic childhood, moving often with her family, before eventually settling in West Sussex where she now lives with her husband and family.