Evocatively set in the Victorian era, The Unforgetting is a haunting Gothic novel that has left a deep impression on me. It is thought provoking, it is unsettling; it is a powerfully captivating story. I feel it is also a brilliant feminist novel.
The Unforgetting is the story of Lily and Faye who are brought together under very sinister circumstances by Erasmus Salt, a self proclaimed ‘Professor of Ghosts.’ At the age of 19 Lily is sold by her stepfather to Erasmus to settle a bad debt. Faye is Erasmus’s spinster sister who is instructed to be Lily’s chaperone.
Since childhood Lily has always dreamt of being an actress on the stage. She views ‘working’ for Erasmus as her opportunity, yet her naive hopes are sorely dashed when she realises that he wants her not as an actress, but as his very own ghost at the heart of his stage show. Yet as the story progresses, it soon becomes apparent that Erasmus’s intentions are a lot more perverse and sinister than anyone could imagine.
This sets in motion a compelling tale full of obsession, intrigue and illusion.
I was fully immersed in The Unforgotten; it is so atmospheric, character driven and brilliantly unsettling. Rosie Black skilfully explores the lack of female autonomy in the patriarchal Victorian society. Although I knew about this lack of autonomy through history, Black’s narrative is so evocative and claustrophobic, it chilled me to the bone.
Rose Black expertly captures the true feel of the Victorian Gothic novel; it is so atmospheric of the literature of the time. I loved it for this, as well as the compelling story full of layers. This made me really empathise and strive for both Faye and Lily, and made me want to read on and on. I was scared for both women and could never have predicted the outcome.
This is a great thought-provoking read. I really feel that The Unforgetting is a great novel for book groups to read with so many themes to explore including obsession, identity and female empowerment.
Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour to help publicise The Unforgetting. To read the reviews from my fellow book bloggers, please see below.
Thank you also to Orion Books for sending me an advance copy of The Unforgetting in return for my honest review.
The Unforgetting was published on Thursday 9th January 2020.