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The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger

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Member Reviews

Not even Alzheimer's could make Arthur forget his true love.

The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger is a beautiful story of ever-lasting love, heroism, and living the best life one possibly can, even when one's mind is assaulted by Alzheimer's.

Arthur's memories were a blur, but he still felt a never-ending love for Maryse and a deep fear for the children's future.

He knew he had to go back, but his old man's mind kept playing tricks on him. Past and present mingled in his consciousness, and sometimes fog covered it all.

When his great-granddaughter Esther came to live with him, they instantly bonded, and perusing old pictures with her took his thoughts more and more to the past and the woman he loved.

The story is bittersweet but very inspiring. It was hard to witness Arthur's struggles with his mind and body, but the love and patience of his family were a balm to the soul.

The side characters were adorable—the kind of people one wants around in their time of need. 

Romance permeates the whole narrative, and although I shed a few tears, there was a satisfying happy ending.

What I loved most about this story is how serious subjects were explored in a light and optimistic manner. Despite all the sadness, my heart was full of love and peace when I turned the last page.

The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger was my first book by this author but will not be my last.

Great read!

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

*This review will be posted on on 03/08/2021*
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An enticing tale of past and present.

Arthur Pettinger is getting on in years and doesn't always know the names of those in his everyday life, but he can't forget the ones from his past. When his granddaughter and her daughter move in to look after him, it's Maddy's chance for a fresh start to get her life together, and Esther just loves spending time with Gramps. When Arthur ponders over a woman he met many years ago, Maryse, Esther includes an appeal for information on her Youtube channel and before they know it, it's gone viral. Maddy needs help in tracking down this missing woman in the hope it will bring a sense of peace to Arthur, and the only person she knows with the requisite skills is Joe - her ex. Travelling to France to places where the French Resistance operated, can the find the answers they seek?

This is a tale which pulled me in from the very start and I think it explained dementia in an honest and understandable manner. Travelling from the present day back to the early forties in France, the story behind the story comes out bit by bit and there is always something new to consider. It is a wonderful story, written with understanding in a gentle, loving way and comes across almost as a true story. I imagine it's very near to the situation many found themselves in during the war. The author has done this tale justice and it makes for a memorable read. I'm happy to recommend this one, especially to anyone aware of a dementia sufferer and those who enjoy wartime novels, and give it 4.5*.
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Arthur is ninety-six, and his memory is failing. His granddaughter Maddy comes to live with him as he is unable to cope alone. Her young daughter bonds with Arthur, but he is troubled by something in his past. Maddy is lonely and is resistant when a past lover is drawn back into her life. She wants to stop Arthur from fretting about his past, and maybe Joe is the man to help her?

This dual timeline story follows Arthur back to WW2, where he worked with the French resistance and met the love of his life. This part of the story is atmospheric and full of courageous acts and danger. The other timeline shows Maddy and Esther's compassion towards Arthur, and there a realistic mix of despair and humour coupled with frustration and patience. The author captures Arthur's confusion and fear about his memory loss.  Maddy and Joe get a second chance at happiness as they try to find the missing pieces of Arthur's life.

Heartbreak, hope, loss and love define this engaging story. Although the ending made me cry, it left me feeling uplifted.

I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger 

This book has absolutely blown me away. 
The story is a beautiful and touching ode to the endurance of the heart and the strength of love throughout a life time. The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger is a heartfelt and moving story, I felt every word and I definitely sobbed at the end!  
The symmetry between the past and present was beautifully done as we follow Arthur Pettinger in occupied France and his granddaughter,Maddy’s search to uncover the secrets that were left there before they are forgotten. 
The characters and their relationships were endearing and thoughtfully portrayed, particularly the compassionate portrayal of Arthur’s dementia. 
The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger is a story that will stay with me for a long time and reminds me to treasure my loved ones and the memories that we make. 
I can not recommend this book enough and cannot wait to read more from Suzanne Fortin again in the future!
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Arthur Pettinger is in his nineties and can’t remember too much about his daily life, but the one person he does remember is Maryse, the beautiful young woman he met and fell in love with in France in 1944 when he was sent there as a young British soldier.

This timeslip moves from the present day soon after Arthur’s granddaughter, Maddy and her eleven-year-old daughter, Esther move into his home to look after him back to 1944 when Arthur lands in Occupied France. Maddy is single and determined to stay that way having suffered a difficult break-up with Joe, the one that got away.

When Maddy and Esther discover how Arthur frets at night looking for someone and worrying that he had let them down, Esther decides to help him find whoever it is and puts a video about Arthur and the woman he’s looking for onto YouTube. The video goes viral and soon Maddy realises that she needs to help put Arthur’s mind at rest and track down the woman he loved and lost once and for all. The best-placed person to help her is Joe and together they do their best to track down the woman from Arthur’s past.

This sensitively written story depicts the gentle relationship between Arthur and his great-granddaughter beautifully. Told from Arthur’s point of view and also Maddy’s this thought-provoking and heart-wrenching story kept me up late at night desperately wanting to discover what happened between Arthur and Maryse. I have to admit that I read the last part of this book with my tears blurring the words. It made me wonder how many others experienced the same love and enforced separation that Arthur and his beloved Maryse endured during those war years and the very many secrets that others must have been kept. 

Thanks to Aria and NetGalley for an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I was completely overwhelmed by this book - it has everything! Old and new romances, intrigue, danger, suspense, loss, the pain of parting, a close-knit family who also have their own rifts and troubles. All of these elements are woven together in a story that spans generations and brings to life wartime England and France in a way that is both heart-warming and heart-breaking.
The author has done her research so well that the historical elements flow perfectly and the modern day images of France blend in seamlessly. I particularly loved the English village setting, as Hemingford Grey is one of my personal favourite places; a lovely surprise!
The deep and sometimes painful emotions explored in this novel are tenderly dealt with. Dementia, the loss of the person once known and the love that remains are subjects we will probably all have to deal with at some point. The story brings a warm sense of hope and is moving and joyful in equal measures. A triumph.
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I adored everything about this book. I was captivated by Arthur’s story from the beginning and my heart broke for him and his daily challenges with dementia. Maddy and Esther were such lovely characters and I loved the support and kindness they showed him as his granddaughter and great granddaughter and live in carers. 

The flashes of the past added an incredible layer of depth to this novel and made me fall truly in love. Exploring Arthur’s time during World War Two, and his love affair with Maryse was a joy and was so moving. I felt both plot lines were so well fleshed out and I loved the slow uncovering of the mystery. 

I became so attached to this story and these characters as I read it, and by the end I had tears streaming down my face. This novel was just beautiful and so captivating. I loved every second of reading it, and my heart was broken and pieced back together by this wonderful, timeless story of love, life and missed opportunities. 
Please read this book.

Thank you to Netgalley and Aria & Aries for this E-arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Arthur Pettinger is 93 and has Alzheimers. His granddaughter Maddie and great granddaughter Esther come to live with him and take care of him. Sometimes, on a good day he has memories of his time in France during WW2. He speaks of a beautiful woman named Maryse. Esther thinks it would be wonderful if they could find out more about Maryse. Is she still alive? Maybe Gramps could see her one more time. And that is how a most beautiful love story unfolds.....

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger

Arthur is losing most of his memories but some keep niggling away at him, especially those relating to his time in France during WW2.  His grandaughter Maddy and great-grandaughter Esther move in with him and try to help solve the mystery of what really happened.  No one expects the beautiful love story they uncover.

I have no words to convey just how WONDERFUL this book is!  It has everything - a fabulous cast of characters, a mystery that keeps you turning the pages long after you should have gone to sleep, a story that moves effortlessly between now and WW2 France, and at the heart of it all is love in so many beautiful forms.  Absolutely one of my favourite books - VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, the publisher and the author <3
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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy. 

This story is set in a dual timeline. It alternates between the present and the WWII era in France. 

Arthur has Alzheimer’s., so his granddaughter Maddy and her daughter Esther move in to help him. 

Soon Arthur and Esther become close, starting  to look  through old pictures from WWII, which, of course, theirs questions that Esther asks, making Arthur remember events from the war and Maryse, who was the lost love of his life. 

Another fabulous book - which is historical fiction with a bit of romance,

Recommend it.
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This is a wonderful timeslip novel that really tugs at your heart strings, dealing with true love, as well as the confusion of Alzheimer’s and the impact this illness has on both the sufferer and those around them. Arthur Pettinger is ninety-something and fading away, and his memory comes and goes. There are secrets in his past which surface, insistent and recurring, and he needs closure – if only he could remember the whole story! When his grand-daughter Maddy comes to live with him and look after him, she and her eleven-year old daughter Esther begin to try and make sense of Arthur’s ramblings. This leads them to uncover the poignant tale of Arthur’s love affair with a French resistance woman during World War II, and they are racing against time to find out exactly what happened. Their discoveries lead Maddy to reevaluate her own life – she’s been struggling with issues of trust, love and second chances. But her grandfather’s story teaches her that when life gives us a gift we have to grab it with both hands and never look back with regrets, whatever happens because we only live once. This story has great depths of emotion, highs and lows, and I found it utterly gripping!
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A love story in multiple forms, that has absolutely floored me. The various ways love was depicted throughout this book was beautiful, heartwarming and ranged from the simple love of a Mother and child, of forbidden love, lost love and complicated true love. 

The story is provided via three perspectives: Maddy in the present day, Arthur in the 1940s and Arthur in the present day struggling with dementia and not fully understanding the world he finds himself in.
Having experienced living with and caring for someone with dementia, Fortins accounts were poignant and accurate; the depiction of what the person with dementia experiences, are especially insightful and tug on the heartstrings. Arthurs memories and secrets are brought into the modern era when a video of him goes viral.
As Arthurs granddaughter and great-grandaughter search for answers about Arthurs past, we find ourselves in war time France, with a story of love, danger and lost chances. 
I was hooked from the start, the emotion created took me on a journey that broke my heart and then put it together again. 
Great characters, wonderful story and brilliantly written.
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The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger by Suzanne Fortin is a historical fiction novel with a stellar combination of romance and mystery. 

This is a dual timeline story following a young soldier named Arthur Pettinger in the 1940s. When Arthur meets brave and beautiful Maryse at a safe house in France, he believes they will be together forever. When the tides of war split them apart, both Marsye and Arthur must try to find their way back to one another. 

In present-day Arthur is in his 90’s and suffering from Alzheimer’s. When his granddaughter Maddy, and great-granddaughter Esther find out about Maryse and the two Jewish children Arthur risked his life to save in the war, they know they have to find out the truth about Arthur’s past before it’s too late. They embark on an adventure through the past with the help of Maddy’s ex-boyfriend/Private Investigator Joe to put back the pieces of Arthur’s lost memories. 

This book was phenomenal! It had everything a hard-core historical fiction fan would want: romance, mystery, and action. The writing is exquisite, and though I myself have no experience with Alzheimer’s, I found the representation to be clear and respectful. Readers will want to join along on the quest to help Arthur recovery his very important war-time memories.

Thank you to Netgalley and Aria & Aries for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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“It must be a bit like a tangle of wool. One memory string is pulled, but it brings with it a knot of other memories and it’s such a mess, there’s no hope of untangling it all.”

The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger is a novel by British author, Suzanne Fortin. Eleven-year-old Esther Pettinger-Shaw is excited to be moving to the village of Hemingford Grey with her mother, Maddy. She’s a little worried about starting at a secondary school where she knows no-one, but she’s ever so pleased to be living in The Old Rectory and its lovely gardens, with her great-grandfather. When Hazel leaves behind her French bulldog, Fifi, Esther’s happiness is complete.

Esther knows that Gramps has Alzheimer’s, but she loves the stories he tells her about when he was young. Certain photographs from the scrapbook of his life, though, make him sad: with every mention of Maryse, the pretty young woman he met in Brittany during the war, he repeats how sorry he is, and that she was the love of his life. This is clearly not Great-Grandma Joan. Esther makes a spur-of-the-moment vlog appealing to her YouTube followers to help find Maryse. 

Maddy feels a little guilty that she didn’t realise just how much Gramps had deteriorated, so she’s happy to look after him now. Her half-sister, Hazel, devoid of empathy, has left a handbook of things to watch out for, and while the nocturnal wanderings don’t allow her enough sleep, and finding ways to distract Gramps when he fixates on a lost person or item can be challenging, his general good cheer makes it all worthwhile. 

She’s utterly baffled when the first calls come in regarding the YouTube video she wasn’t aware Esther had posted. And she’s certainly not happy when Joe Finch, her ex-boyfriend from three years earlier, offers to help. But if that’s what is needed to stop Gramps from getting all tearful, she might have to agree to it. Travelling to France with Joe to track down a long-lost love is definitely not on the agenda. Is it?

At ninety-six, Arthur Pettinger is frequently exasperated by his uncooperative memory. So often, the memories are right there, but he just can’t grasp the one he wants. He’s not sorry to see that Moaning Minnie (Heather? Hazel,? Helen?) leave, and glad when Maddy, the nice granddaughter arrives with the girl (what’s her name again?). The girl doesn’t seem to have any friends, but is happy to listen to him ramble on about his youth. And the memories of Maryse? Those are crystal clear. 

“He wished he could capture one of those memories properly. It was so frustrating. He couldn’t explain it to anyone; he wasn’t even sure he understood his own reactions or thoughts. Everything raced past him far too quickly to hold on to. It was like trying to catch the wind in your hands as it whistled through the tiniest of gaps between your fingers”

The story is told from three perspectives: Maddy in the present day, Arthur in the 1940s and in the present day. Fortin’s description of caring for a person with dementia, and her depiction of what the person with dementia experiences, are truly insightful, giving the whole present-day part an authentic feel. 

“It was so cruel, so painful this long goodbye, watching her grandfather slowly disappear in front of her, knowing there was nothing she could do to stop the disease from ravaging his mind, stealing his memories, his ability to communicate diminished. ‘It’s like a grieving for him while he’s still alive. I feel like I’m losing him and yet being tortured as he’s still here.’”

Fortin easily evokes her setting and the era, and her characters have depth and appeal. This is a wonderful love story: funny, sad and ultimately heart-warming.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Aria and Aries
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Absolutely loved this book. The inter generational friendship was so lovely. The dual timeline was interesting and easy to follow. The ending was not the obvious one and bought a tear to my eyes.
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#ArthurPettinger #NetGalley

Special thanks to NetGalley and Aria publishing for providing me with ARC.

This novel is so good and heartwarming specially Arthur, he's lovely, carer and reminded me of my grandfather that i miss him so much.

This is the first novel to me by Suzanne Fortin but i loved it so much.
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Set as a dual timeline in France during WWII and in the present time, this heartbreaking and heartwarming book is about new and old discoveries, cherished love, hope and the human spirit.  

Arthur Pettinger's mean-spirited granddaughter/carer leaves and Maddy, another granddaughter arrives with her young daughter, Esther, to care for him instead.  She and Esther have researched dementia to gain a better understanding of Arthur and his needs.  Arthur's life is full of frustrations as his brain is cloudy and won't work properly but he does have lucid memories, good and bad, so Maddy and Esther, along with Maddy's first love Joe, look into his past in hopes of finding him happiness.  Arthur's past is enmeshed in the horrors of WWII so it and his illness make the search challenging.  

The author beautifully and gut wrenchingly writes about the trials of Arthur's aging, the long-term effects of war, lovely relationships and his crippling dementia.  I like this particular focus and find it is undervalued.  

Those readers seeking something unique and realistic ought to read this lovely book.  The dual timeline is done well.

My sincere thank you to Aria & Aries and NetGalley for this gripping read.
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The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger is a feel good, heart wrenching and warming must read for any historical fiction fans.  Arthur himself broke my heart with his unending love for the lost but not forgotten Marsye.  To add to the love story, this book brings you back the French Resistance and the strong woman that held it together through their courage and bravery, which Suzanne Fortin highlights well.
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The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger is a dual timeline novel alternating between the present and the WWII  era in France. Arthur has Alzheimer’s. His granddaughter Maddy and her daughter Esther move in to help him with his daily needs. Arthur and Esther become close.  They start looking through old pictures from WWII and, of course, Esther has questions. Arthur starts to remember events from the war  and Maryse, the lost love of his life. This is a great book.  If you like historical fiction with a bit of romance, do yourself a favor and read this book. Thanks to the author Suzanne Fortin, publisher Aria & Aries, and  NetGalley for providing a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this. It was very thoughtfully written and at points your heart really does ache for the main leads. It was interesting how the past and present were tided together. The story is well thought out and I hold it in high regard. I really recommend this novel.
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