The Forgetting

Cover of "The Forgetting" by Hannah Beckerman. The cover is a boquet of flowers, representing suburban perfection.
Hannah Beckerman
Sep 19, 2023

On Wednesdays we put a spotlight on a book on our Adult Fiction New Release shelf that's absolutely worthy of your attention. We call it #NoWaitWednesday, and we hope you take a closer look at any of our New Release shelves at your local Library branch the next time you come in, as there's always tons of great titles just waiting for you to check them out. 

Last week we looked a title that's a bit moodier and darker to match the approaching fall season. We're continuing the trend this week with an atmospheric psychological thriller for patrons who love novels from authors like Alice Feeney or Ruth Ware - novels with intricate plots that often involve hidden secrets in a domestic suburban setting written with compelling prose that keeps pages turning until well after bedtime.

"The Forgetting" by Hannah Beckerman involves two women who are each victims of gaslighting in their own way. Anna, a London housewife,  wakes up in a hospital bed with a severe concussion from a car accident. She doesn't recognize the man at the end of the bed who introduces himself as Stephen and who gently informs her that he's her husband. As Anna recovers and undergoes physical therapy, he fills her in on her entire life, including their twelve-year marriage, a career as a librarian, and a nice home. Anna feels disoriented and confused as she remembers absolutely none of this and begins to wonder if Stephen - her seemingly perfectly supportive husband - is being completely truthful to her.

Meanwhile, in a city not that far away, another woman, Livvy, is going through a different situation. After six months of maternity leave after having a newborn, she's eager to get back to work, however childcare is proving difficult to find, since her husband Dominic frequently goes out of town for work. Dominic's estranged mother suddenly pops back into the picture, wanting to connect with a family she's never known, throwing Livvy's life into chaos. Is there something Dominic isn't telling her?

The novel bounces back and forth between these two storylines until about halfway through, when the novel pulls a shocking and devious twist and links the two together. (No spoilers!)  

The best domestic thrillers work when they scrape away the surface layer of seemingly perfect suburban lives to reveal the rotten foundation underneath. The perfect house, the perfect marriage, the perfect career, the perfect relationship - all of them at risk under the unbearable weight of secrets and lies that, if exposed, brings the whole facade crashing down. Characters must decide if knowing the truth and tearing down the image of what they knew so well is worth that risk, and readers are, of course, along for the ride.

Do you like domestic thrillers? Love the roller-coaster ride of secrets, lies, betrayal, and gaslighting? Strap in, then, and enjoy "The Forgetting" by Hannah Beckerman. Get these and more domestic thrillers at your local Library branch!


Reviewed by Gregg W.
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