Before I Forget by Melissa Hill

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Before I Forget by Melissa Hill

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: Abby's life is turned upside down when, after a freak accident, she is threatened with losing her memory for good. Determined not to let this happen, she sets about creating memories that are really too good to forget. Is it possible that she could prove the medical experts wrong?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
ISBN: 978-0340952993

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Melissa Hill is one of my favourite contemporary authors so I am always highly delighted to read a new book from her. As she is an Irish writer, all her novels are set in and around Dublin and usually focus on a thirty something female, often facing a major trauma. This is the case with, Before I Forget, but that does not in any way make her a formulaic writer, as each book feels fresh and original and an extremely good read.

At the start of the book, Abby's partner of four years has just left her and, in dealing with her misery, she is becoming a bit of a workaholic and a social recluse. One morning, on her way to work she becomes the victim of a freak accident and suffers a brain injury that is going to affect her long term memory. Faced with the prospect of forgetting all that she holds dear, Abby re-evaluates the way she has been living and makes a list of all the memorable experiences she hopes to create. She also sets about capturing all the memories in a 'memory chest' on her computer so that she will be able to remember all the wonderful experiences. Suddenly she is enjoying life a lot more especially when she meets the handsome and thoughtful Finn. Unexpectedly, Abby's life has never looked better except, of course, for the fact that she keeps forgetting things.

This is an immensely readable book and one that had me hooked from the very start. The theme is very thought provoking and certainly made me wonder how I would feel if I were faced with losing all my treasured memories. It's not a solemn read though as there is a good sense of fun throughout providing the message that life is for living. Abby's wish list is quite inspired especially when friends and family members contribute to it recommending experiences that Abby would never have dreamed of for herself. This is especially true when her brother Dermot takes her to race a Ferrari! As Abby reflects, he was probably fulfilling his own wishes as much as hers.

At times the book is written as Abby's daily entry into her memory chest and it is through these musings that the reader really gets to know her and to sympathise with her somewhat fragile and vulnerable state of mind. She is an immensely likeable character and as you are reading, you can't help but hope that all her doctors are wrong and she will overcome this terrible injury. At times she is extremely positive but at other times finds her situation all too frightening. Although she loves the relationship she now has with Finn, she also agonises over whether it is fair to remain with him when there is a good chance that she could wake up one morning and completely forget who he is.

Like Abby, all the characters are very likeable, particularly when they do all they can to help their sister and friend. It is the relationships that are described so perfectly in this book that makes it such an enjoyable and memorable read. If you can understand why characters act the way they do, you can believe in them too which is what happened as I read this.

Melissa Hill does have a habit of presenting her readers with the unexpected and this is the case with this book too. You might think that you know where the story is going but don't be so sure. I could never have guessed what was going to be revealed towards the end, but having read a few of her books, I wasn't surprised. If that sounds very cryptic, you'll just have to read the book to find out what I mean.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

This is a wonderful book which I thoroughly recommend and if this appeals to you, you could always take a look at Wishful Thinking, another of Melissa Hill's novels.

Buy Before I Forget by Melissa Hill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Before I Forget by Melissa Hill at

Buy Before I Forget by Melissa Hill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Before I Forget by Melissa Hill at


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