Cover Image: Forgotten on Sunday

Forgotten on Sunday

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Member Reviews

I’ve heard only wonderful things about the author’s previously translated book, Fresh Water for Flowers, which prompted me to request this ARC.

Justina, orphaned at a young age and raised by her grandparents, spends her days caring for the elderly and listening to their stories.
I enjoyed the overall plot, and the uncovered secrets of the narrator’s family history were satisfying. However, I found myself getting tangled up in the different past threads. It’s hard to weave together different stories and timelines, and I can only speak for myself when I say I didn’t find it entirely successful here. By the end, I found I wasn’t as focused on Hélène’s story as I was on the story of Justina’s family. I had also forgotten the mystery of the phone calls by the end, and I didn’t feel I needed an answer.

Another barrier for me was that the tone shifts when the story moves between past and present, and I found it to be a little jarring and incohesive at times – it could be that this is more obvious in translation.

I’m surprised that the publisher labels this book as for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers; I definitely did not get the same feeling from this book as I did from those, which is not to say you wouldn’t enjoy all of them!

Not a hit for me but an enjoyable story that will find an English language audience.

Thank you, NetGalley and Europa for this ARC!

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I came across numerous glowing 5-star reviews of the book "Forgotten on Sunday” which piqued my curiosity. With high expectations, I eagerly anticipated diving into its pages. However, I must admit that the story failed to captivate my attention as I had hoped. Presented from two distinct points of view, I found it challenging to form a profound connection with the characters, despite the underlying intrigue of the narrative.

Thank you to Net Galley and Europa Editions for giving me an advance copy. My opinions are honest and my own.

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“Forgotten on Sunday” by Valerie Perrin is my second novel by this author and originally the author’s debut novel, only now translated into English. Following my positive experience with “Three,” which I read a year ago, I had the chance to receive an ARC of this one, so I eagerly accepted.

The narrative unfolds through multiple timeframes and perspectives, piecing together the story like a puzzle. Set in France, the book centers on Justine, a 21-year-old orphan who works at a nursing home, forming deep connections with the residents, especially Helene. Justine documents Helene’s life story while her own story intertwines with Helene’s.

Despite its brevity, this book is intense and filled with melancholy. It poignantly addresses the forgotten elderly who receive no family visitors, even on Sundays, the designated visitation days. The novel is suspenseful, brimming with secrets and characters on journeys of self-discovery. Perrin’s writing is simple yet impactful, marked by immense sensitivity and profound humanity. It’s a touching read.

This book makes me want to volunteer at an old age home and listen to the forgotten stories of the elderly. They often have the most profound memories.

I will certainly be on the lookout for Perrin’s future works.

Thank you to @netgalley and @europaeditions for the ARC of this book, for an exchange of my honest review.

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Thank you to Net Galley and Europa Editions for the chance to read and review this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
This book is a treasure. At first, I had a little trouble getting into it, but I am so glad I kept going. Justine is a young lady (she's 21) who works as a nursing assistant at a retirement home. One of the things she enjoys is listening to stories and memories told by the residents. She has built an especially close bond to Helene, who is almost 100 years old. Helene shares memories of her loves and her life, and Justine writes them down in a blue notebook. Justine has also had trauma in her life, which she begins to share. I really enjoyed reading both of their stories. The author tells them in such a poetic, mystical way. There are some surprises along the way. I also liked the way the author handled Justine's romance, gradually building up to discovering who he might be. This is a story I will not soon forget. I highly recommend it, and I plan to read other books by this author!

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I very much enjoyed Valerie Perrin’s novel Fresh Water for Flowers. It was a complex, character driven story. I was therefore excited to learn that Ms. Perrin has a new book out in translation now.

This is the story of two women; one of them has much life ahead while the other is elderly. Each comes with history and even tragedy.

Justine helps to care for Helene who is a resident of the facility where she is employed. As they get to know one another, many confidences are shared. They also face some difficulties over the course of the novel. Someone is making crank calls to the home. Find out what they are saying and how this evolves.

Those looking for a lovely and compassionate read will want to spend time in these pages.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Europa for this title. All opinions are my own.

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Thank you to the publisher and to netgalley! This story touched me and is one I will keep for a long time. A beautifully woven story of family secrets and friendship. Valerie Perrin never fails me! Highly recommend for summer reading!!

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I greatly enjoyed the writing style and how much you are drawn into the characters, but otherwise, I struggled with this book. It was difficult for me to follow the different timelines and truly understand all plot points. Some points there was way too much detail, to the point of making me uncomfortable, but other plot points seemed to be lacking. It is also very slow, especially for someone who is branching out from thrillers. I also had to keep reminding myself that Justine was only 21. In some scenarios she seems older but mostly, she seems very young in the way she acts and responds. That being said, I end with more positive feelings than negative. It also made me more emotional than I would have thought it would have. I like the idea of the phantom caller, not to the full extent of the sinister nature, but in its results. I also liked the love story within the love story. I also hope that there are people who do go through nursing homes and collect stories. I think that would be a fascinating project and a worthwhile compendium to read. The only thing I wonder though is how did Justine get the story when it seemed like Helene was always "at the beach"? I can only assume that she caught her at some good times or maybe others filled it in. Thank you to NetGalley for my ARC. I believe this novel and the topics within will stay with me for quite some time.

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Pros: Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy and the What Should I Read Next podcast has been raving about Valerie Perrin, so I was excited to see this book, which is her debut, on NetGalley. I read this book in one sitting because I was curious to learn about the pasts of the characters and to discover twists along the way. I really enjoyed the author’s writing style (and, I assume, the work of the translator) and immediately put Fresh Water for Flowers on my to-read list.

I switched between ebook and audiobook to read this book, and it was great on both formats. I especially enjoyed the audiobook narration and hearing the names spoken with a French accent.

Cons: I did not love every plot point, but that won’t keep me from reading more from the author.

Thank you to NetGalley, Europa Editions, and Dreamscape Media for the opportunity to read this book.

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“ I grew up with the elderly. I skipped a generation.”
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I was so excited to receive this early copy of Perrin’s first novel, which is released tomorrow- June 4th. Thank-you @europaedtions for my copy in exchange for an honest review. I adored Perrin’s other two novels - Fresh Water for Flowers and Three - both fabulous books. This is her third novel to be translated and published by Europa but is actually her debut. Happy to report that this is just as enjoyable as the other two - a bit shorter in length but not in depth. (My favourite of the three books is still Fresh Water for Flowers - it was a bestseller in Italy in 2020 and the country’s favourite lockdown novel)
Justine is a twenty something who has lived with her grandparents and cousin most of her life. She works as a carer in a retirement home and spends a big part of her days listening to the residents memories and stories of their lives. She bonds with a resident named Helene, and it’s through listening to her recount her life story, that Justine confronts secrets from her own past. This is both endearing and original. A book you just let yourself be immersed in - easy to do with such lyrical and gorgeous prose. A multilayered story typical of Perrin that is beautifully told. I really like how there is always a bit of mystery that at first is confusing and unsettling but eventually things all fall into place. You know you’re in good hands!
Add to your list if you are a Perrin fan

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I loved Valérie Perrin’s novels Fresh Water for Flowers (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/2020/11/review-of-fresh-water-for-flowers-by.html) and Three (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/2022/06/review-of-three-by-valerie-perrin-new.html) so was excited to learn that her debut novel, Forgotten on Sunday, has been translated. Though not as polished as Fresh Water for Flowers, it is still a good read.

Twenty-one-year-old Justine Neige is a geriatric nursing assistant working at a retirement home in a small French village. Orphaned at a young age, she was raised by her paternal grandparents with whom she still lives, along with her also-orphaned cousin Jules. Justine loves her job at the seniors’ home and spends a lot of time listening to residents’ stories. She becomes particularly close to 96-year-old Hélène Hel whose story she decides to write.

The book tells Hélène’s story, especially her romance with Lucien Perrin. But it also tells Justine’s story. The narrative alternates between the two women, Justine’s sections being narrated in the first person. We learn about the deaths of Justine’s parents, her work at The Hydrangeas retirement home, and her regular one-night stands with a man whose name she doesn’t even know. We also read about the car accident that claimed both Justine and Jules’ parents, an accident which Justine comes to realize is connected to secrets kept by both Gramps and Gran.

Another mystery is the identity of the anonymous caller who phones families of residents who seem to have been forgotten because they haven’t had visitors on Sundays, the regular day for family visits. The caller falsely announces the deaths of these residents, thereby forcing relatives to visit. The phone calls are traced to The Hydrangeas, but who is the mystery caller?

Justine is a character the reader cannot but like. She is devoted to the residents who are not always easy to care for. She does a lot of unpaid overtime so she can listen to residents’ stories. Her actions indicate she’s warm, patient, sensitive, empathetic, and caring. She saves money so Jules will be able to attend university but doesn’t want him to know that she’s the one paying for his education. What makes her convincing is that she also has flaws. She’s insecure about her appearance; more than once she compares herself to others and concludes she is not pretty. She also makes cruel comments intended to hurt, “to take my revenge.”

Love is a major theme. Hélène experienced a love that survived separation and time. This is the type of love Justine hopes to find: “I tell myself that what I don’t find pretty about me will one day be someone’s beautiful. Someone who’ll love me and become my artist. Who’ll continue me. Who’ll take me from rough sketch to masterpiece.” She wants to be as lucky as her best friend Jo who has found a soulmate in her husband Patrick. Ironically, it’s obvious that What’s-his-name is very interested, but Justine seems to fear commitment. Perhaps Hélène , who didn't agree to a marriage because it was "not love as she'd imagined it, the love that leaves you reeling," tells her story to Justine because she sees some of herself in the young woman. Justine seems towant a handsome Prince Charming, not a man who has poor taste in his clothes.

I did find some events problematic. I had difficulty accepting Edna’s actions, especially when it comes to her daughter. Justine sees What’s-his-name regularly but doesn’t ask him any questions, not even his name and occupation? Armand’s secret relationship also stretches the reader’s credibility, and parts of the closing border on over-sentimentality.

Regardless, there is much to love in the book. The challenges of aging and the inevitability of death are not glossed over. I enjoyed the character connections between Hélène’s story and Justine’s (Rose, Roman, Claude, Fatiha). The touches of humour are delightful. Because of the drama, romance, and mystery, there is something for everyone; parts are heart-breaking but others are heart-warming. For me, reading the book was an immersive experience.

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Forgotten on Sunday by Valérie Perrin is a profoundly moving and beautifully crafted novel that delves into themes of love, loss, memory, and the intricate bonds that connect us across generations. Perrin’s debut novel, translated from French, tells the story of Justine, a 21-year-old woman whose life is forever changed by her interactions with the residents of the retirement home where she works.

Justine has lived with her grandparents and cousin Jules since the tragic death of her parents. She finds solace and purpose in her job as a caregiver at The Hydrangeas, a retirement home. Here, she listens to the life stories of the elderly residents, recording their memories and offering them companionship. Her bond with Hélène, an almost 100-year-old resident, becomes particularly significant. Through their conversations, both women begin to reveal and confront their pasts.

Hélène’s story, rich with memories of love and war, helps Justine face the secrets and losses she has buried deep within herself. Justine’s narrative is interwoven with Hélène’s past, creating a tapestry of stories that highlight the impact of history and memory on our present lives. The arrival of a mysterious phone call adds an element of suspense, uncovering shocking revelations that shake the foundation of the retirement home and force Justine to reevaluate her understanding of her own history.

Valérie Perrin’s writing is both tender and evocative, capturing the delicate balance between humor and melancholy. Her characters are vividly drawn, each with their own distinct voices and stories that resonate deeply with the reader. Justine’s journey is one of self-discovery and healing, set against the backdrop of the richly described French countryside.

The novel’s structure, with its multiple time frames and perspectives, allows the narrative to unfold gradually, drawing the reader into the lives of its characters. The blend of contemporary and historical elements adds depth and complexity to the story, making it a compelling read from start to finish.

Forgotten on Sunday is a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring bonds between people. It’s a reminder that even in the face of loss and grief, there is hope and the possibility of connection. Perrin’s debut novel is a beautifully written, emotionally resonant work that will stay with readers long after the final page.

Thank you to Europa Editions and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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A multilayered complicated family story with wonderful characters who make terrible and difficult choices. I was engrossed in the story an captivated by the characters. Spanning three different time periods, I think there is something for almost every reader in this story.

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I adored this book. Set in a small French town is a less-than-glamourous part of France, this book has genuine soul. It follows a young woman who is both old fashioned and contemporary. Working in a nursing home, she develops close ties to some of the inmates, even as she struggles with her own family complexities and secrets. Unassumingly yet beautifully-written, it a compelling book with an interesting central character and a couple mysteries. The story propels itself and I was up later than I wanted to be reading it each night--it was that good! As the daughter of a French woman who did a year of study at a rural French university, this book captured something of the essence of life in smaller-town French life in the center of France. A terrific book all around. I look forward to reading Perrin's future books!

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4.5 Stars Rounded Up

Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide 2024.

This book captivated me from start to finish. Justine, who works at The Hydrangeas Nursing Home, takes pride in listening to the residents' stories. Her connection with Helene leads her to document Helene’s life story, which in turn prompts Justine to reflect on her own life and unravel a childhood mystery.

Forgotten on Sunday is rich with layers and intricately woven tales, all blending together beautifully. The conclusion made me happy. This is a lovely book, and I am eager to read more from this author.

However, I believe the cover should feature the picture that Roman gifted to Justine. It would have been a perfect choice. Perhaps the English translation edition will have a different cover.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an advanced copy of this translation.

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I’ve had my eye on Valérie Perrin’s body of work for a while, so where better to start than with her debut novel FORGOTTEN ON SUNDAY. Originally published in 2015 in French, it’s only quite recently been translated to English.

Justine is 21, lives with her grandparents and cousin following the death of her parents in a car crash years earlier, and works as a care assistant at the local retirement home. From the outset, it is very clear she is gifted at her job, she listens to and is gentle in her care for the residents, including in particular Hélèn.

What follows is the story of two stories. As Hélèn shares snippets of her life story with Justine, Justine starts writing it down, leading to the uncovering of a long hidden and remarkable history of passion, war and lost love. Along the way, Justine also starts to unravel long held devastating secrets about her own family.

With a real sense of melancholy and warmth, this beautifully threaded the past with the present of both Justine and Hélèn’s story and Perrin writes with an elegance and sensitivity that pulls at your heartstrings. This was also a massive page-turner for me once it got going and I understood the book’s structure. The slow but compelling reveal of each character’s history was masterfully done.

Such an immersive and perfect lose-yourself-in-another-time-and-place kind of a book. Count me as a new and enthusiastic Perrin fan!

Thank-you @europaeditions and @netgalley for sharing a copy with me. I loved it.

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'Sunday is visiting day. But not for everyone'.

For some families, moving elderly into retirement homes, as they near their use-by dates, is a burden removed. Their lives lived, their stories told; history. Sadly, some residents, at The Hydrangeas home, are even forgotten on Sunday - the day reserved for family visits. However, Justine, a 21 year old nursing assistant at The Hydrangeas, lives for their stories. By recording them, she releases them, 'And old folks, since that's all they have left to do, can tell the past like no one else'. She brings them to life - both the story and the story teller. Her favourite story, which she's currently recording is from Helene. And, yet Justine has no history. Her story came to an end when her parents, together with her aunt and uncle, died in a car crash when she was young. Her grandparents, who raised her, refuse to talk about it, they refuse to answer questions. It's best forgotten.

'Forgotten on Sunday' is Justine's journey in discovering her story, her history, whilst listening and recording Helene's. The book is told in dual time and multiple POVs and there are many threads to its weaving. Indeed, there are stories within the stories - mysterious ones too. For me, the story is about love: lost love, unrequited love, forbidden love, family love, romantic love, and intimate love. Loved which yearn, support, obsess, depress, or are simply a tryst, 'We're all someone's Michelangelo; the trouble is we have to meet them'.

Anyone who enjoys literary, contemporary and even historical fiction, will enjoy this one. It is wonderfully translated too. The story is in the telling. In order to have a history, we need to live.

'You know, when you've lost the person you loved most in the world, you lose her everyday'.

Thank you Europa Editions and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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It took me a few "pages" to get into the rhythm of how Perrin is telling these two stories... back and forth between Justine and Hélène. At first the stories are years apart, but they begin to draw closer together on the timeline. The story telling is beautiful and the translation is perfection!

As I settled into the rhythm, I just let the story unfold. I felt no need to race through this book! The writing is so beautiful... and though the story is very compelling it felt better to let it come together slowly rather than race though. I loved how Perrin reveals what the title means (no spoilers, sorry) but it is so poignantly beautiful!

If you loved Fresh Water for Flowers, you will love Forgotten on Sunday! I highly recommend this book!

I would like to thank Netgalley and Europa Editions for this digital copy of Forgotten on Sunday. It will be published June 4, 2024.

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I requested and received an eARC of Forgotten on Sunday by Valérie Perrin which is soon to be published in English for the first time. This was my first time reading anything by Perrin, although her novel Three has been lingering on my TBR list for some time. The novel centers on Justine, a twenty-one year old woman who, with her cousin Jules, has lived with her grandparents nearly her entire life following the death of their parents in a car accident (their fathers were twin brothers.) Justine works as a caretaker at a retirement home and this is where we meet Hélène, an almost 100-year-old patient whose mind is seemingly fixated on the great romance of her life with a man named Lucien.

The story weaves between the past and the present as Justine unravels Hélène’s history, but also as the history of Justine’s own family is revealed. There were a few moments where I had to readjust to fully grasp the extent of the narrative, but I thoroughly enjoyed every page. Perrin poses really interesting questions about love, jealousy, and whether or not we can ever truly know and understand the people in our lives. It took me a few chapters to get into the story, but once I was hooked I couldn’t get through this quickly enough. Perrin’s writing, even in translation, flows incredibly well and paints an extraordinary image.

What I love the most about this novel is how compelling the characters are. Hélène and Lucien are both fascinating to read about, but I felt myself more drawn to the secondary cast of the novel. Little details like the grandmother’s sort of double life as a very capable handyman and her suicide attempts force you to look behind your shoulders like Lot’s wife even as Justine presses forward in her presentation of her life and Hélène’s history. Edna and Gramps, however, fascinated me beyond measure. I also think this novel works really well as an interrogation of the reliability of memory, something that is really driven home in the final chapters of the novel. Without spoiling any details, there were several times I was genuinely shocked by the twists and turns of Perrin’s story.

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Although this novel by Perrin was written years ago, it has only recently been translated and published in English. It's a melancholy story about how an unlikely friendship in a retirement home serves to heal the wounds of the past. The characters are lifelike and memorable and the story is revealed in layers, developing slowly and deliberately and at a gentle pace. Like Perrin's Fresh Water for Flowers it's a charming book with subtle humor and lovely language. Definitely recommended.
I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley, Europa Editions and Valerie Perrin for the opportunity to read Forgotten on Sunday.
This is a very confusing novel with multiple characters, multiple points of view, multiple timelines along with a touch of fantasy, I think! Events jump around so much, I had a very hard time keeping the story straight in my mind.
My favorite character is Justine who is a caretaker for a 100 year old resident, Helene. Justine becomes very involved in Helene's long life in addition to dealing with her own family drama. Some parts of Helene's story feel fever dreamlike and I was not sure what storylines were actually real and what portions are symbolic or fantasy.
This book is beautifully written but occasionally flips to vulgar language which kept me on the sidelines and not fully invested in the story. There is too much going on for my total enjoyment, I found myself skimming through parts that were somewhat repetitive. This one is definitely not for me.

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