The Gone and the Forgotten

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Pub Date 09 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 09 Jun 2022

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Description

Part psychological thriller, part coming-of-age novel from the author of People of Abandoned Character.

An absent father.
A missing girl.
Buried family secrets.
Is the truth worth searching for?

Sixteen-year-old Prue has grown up around secrets. Her gran's stern silence, her mother's teary breakdowns, her aunt's whispered assurances. But now, in the aftermath of her mum's latest 'episode', Prue's decided she's old enough for the truth. She wants to know what it is that makes the adults around her turn tight-lipped and distracted. She wants to know why her mum can't cope. Most of all, she wants to know who her dad is.

Forced to spend the summer in the Shetlands with her aunt, Ruth, and new uncle, Archie, Prue arrives determined to find some answers. But she soon finds herself caught up in a web of family secrets, betrayals and – perhaps – even murder...

Set during one long summer in Shetland, this is a beautifully drawn, psychologically astute novel about a young woman's search for truth, even as she realises the lies that surround her have been keeping her safe.

Praise for The Gone and the Forgotten:

'What a beautiful, absorbing, emotional book. I was on that remote island with these characters, lost in their unfolding dramas and the barren landscape and long-past secrets. I was with young Prue on her quest to disperse the shadows of her past, and certainly identified with many of the things she had been through. A stunning read' Louise Beech

Part psychological thriller, part coming-of-age novel from the author of People of Abandoned Character.

An absent father.
A missing girl.
Buried family secrets.
Is the truth worth searching for?

...


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ISBN 9781838932763
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Average rating from 75 members


Featured Reviews

What is truth? This coming of age story set in 1993 has protagonist, 16 year old Prue pondering that question. Full of questions about the identity if her father, Prue is sent to spend the summer with her aunt Ruth and uncle Archie after her mother attempts to kill herself. Prue is hoping that Ruth can shed some light on all her questions, but instead, she finds herself facing an even bigger mystery. She learns her uncle was the prime suspect in the disappearance of Evelyn O”Hara twenty years before. Never charged with a crime, a cloud still surrounds Archie and Prue wants to know what happened to Evelyn, is her uncle innocent…or not? More a tale of the complex, interwoven stories families share, or hide, from each other than a mystery, this is as accurate a portrayal of family life as I have read

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Wow. I picked this up and could not put it down that I read in a day.
Whitfield's writing is so descriptive that I was transported to a time with all its eerie, spine chilling beauty.
Her brilliant plot and well-developed characters take you on roller coaster of twists and turns that keep you riveted from page one.
Very moving and gripping read. Up far too late becasue i had to finish it. twists that made sense and a great ending, highly recommend.

Head of Zeus|Apollo,
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
I will post my review closer to pub date.

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Mystery isn't a genre I tend to consume or swallow easily, and I read Claire Whitfield's first novel - People of Abandoned Character - didn't genuinely appeal to me. But I loved this story, the time it took place and how the mystery and plot developed. As a person who reads more novels, I found it really fun to see various points from The Gone & the Forgotten, read the plot twists, and imagine what this book would be like if it were a YA. possibly a good book, but not as good as this one and what happened in it.

Thankyou to netgalley for providing me with an
eArc.

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Prue is a sixteen year old girl sent to spend the summer with her aunt and uncle on a remote island after her mother's latest suicide attempt. There's nothing she'd enjoy less, but it gives her the chance to have serious talks with her Aunt Ruth. Prue has always wanted to know about her father - no one in the family will speak of him or provide any information about him. Her aunt promised her that if she stayed with them for the summer rather than remaining in London, she would open up about the past. But soon after arriving, instead of getting answers, she only has more questions.

It seems the identify of her father isn't the only family secret. Prue's Uncle Archie has long been suspected of murdering his girlfriend, who disappeared on the way to meet with him twenty years ago. Although there wasn't enough evidence to charge him, he was found guilty in the eyes of the islanders who have loathed his family ever since. She finds herself spending quite a bit of time with him and doubts that the rumors could be true. She also grows close to a college student, James, who is home for the summer helping his mother run the local pub. As awkward as Prue believes herself to be, James continues to spend time with her, sharing island lore and helping her adjust to the relative quiet and isolation of their summer vacation. She soon becomes obsessed with the past and determining what really caused Archie's girlfriend to disappear. She's determined to find out the truth about her family, but will what she uncovers make her wish she never asked?

This is a well-written mystery that takes some seriously dark turns. Twisted family secrets are uncovered, that's for sure. At first it seemed like more of a coming of age story, but it does eventually delve into a thriller and that's when it's at it's best. There are some uncomfortable parts that I don't think were completely necessary, and once you read this you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. But it didn't deter me from tearing through the story, dying to know how it ends. And oh yes, dying is quite the apt description...just wait and see!

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This was such a gripping read. It was gothically creepy, full of dark and bone chilling imagery. It was well written with good storyline and good charcters that are well developed. I couldnt put it down and I didnt want to. It was mysterious and unpredictable and I just couldnt see the twists. I loved it.

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Highly recommend!! This book is a definite page-turner! You'll be left thinking about the story long after you put the book down. First book to read by this author but definitely not my last!

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This is an intriguing, well designed plot. Prue is sixteen, affected by various family issues, not least her mother’s mental health. Living in London, Prue is persuaded to spend the summer with her mother’s sister and family in a remote Shetland island. Prue hopes this might be a chance to maker her aunt tell her who her father was, a piece of information always denied to her by her mother. Eventually she gets that information but discovers there are other family secrets which she tries to uncover. The story is divulged gradually which enhances the readability. The lonely island atmosphere is well used as a sinister backdrop. The psychological issues damaging Prue and others in the family give the book an extra edge. I recommend it.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this book.

Sixteen-year-old Prue just wants the truth. With her mother in a mental care facility after a suicide attempt, she is sent off to stay with her Aunt Ruth and Uncle Archie in the Shetland Islands. The island is remote, run-down, and creepy. The house is infiltrated with strange plants and surrounded by gardens. Archie's grandmother also lives there, and Ronnie is a character. As she ventures out and meets locals, she learns that the Anderson family also holds secrets. Archie is suspected of murdering Evie O'Hara, his girlfriend, 20 years before. Will Prue find the answers to her questions? And if so, will she like what she discovers?

This was a book with a decidedly creepy atmosphere. There were times it was a bit slow and dragged on, and sometimes it was hard to decipher if it was in a flashback or just exposition. That disrupted the flow of the story some. Overall, though, I enjoyed this book a lot. There was a decent twist in there as well.

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Believe me, there is no way you will anticipate the ending of THE GONE AND THE FORGOTTEN. Whitfield creates a twisty tale with characters you will have both compassion and pity for. Prue is 16 and has always lived at home with her fiercely overprotective and depressive mother and her sweet but somewhat addled grandmother. While nothing was ever good in their home, things became dramatically worse when Prue's baby sister, Holly was abducted when Prue was a child. It drove her mother around the bend and nothing has been good since. When Prue's grandmother dies, Prue is sent to live with her Aunt Ruth, who she adores on the desolate island of Noost. Ruth has promised to finally tell Prue who her father is, information she has sought for her whole life. While on Noost, Prue begins to express different parts of herself, guided by her Uncle Archie's grandmother, Ronnie. She helps Ronnie with her magnificent garden and concoctions but soon comes to see that even Noost is not a happy place. Mysteries abound, primarily surrounding whether her Uncle Archie killed his girlfriend when they were both teenagers. When Prue finds letters hidden in books, she tries to solve the mystery but becomes entangled with the locals, most of whom seem to despise her family, Whitfield does a great job of creating a sense of place; you can almost hear the ocean waves and smell the salt air. While THE GONE AND THE FORGOTTEN does not uplift, it certainly intrigues.

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On its surface, The Gone and the Forgotten by Clare Whitfield, is about Prue, a 16 year old girl who spends the summer at the eccentric home of her Aunt Ruth and Uncle Archie on a remote Shetland island following her mother's failed suicide attempt.

Once on the island, Prue's main objective is to get Ruth to tell her the name of the father she's never known. Prue quickly realizes that this may be a fool's errand and instead turns her attention to investigating whether or not her Uncle Archie murdered his long missing girlfriend, as the other island residents suspect. Little by little Prue begins to learn the truth about the island, her family, and her past until her world crashes down on her again and again and again.

This slow burn pulled me in immediately and had me wanting to pull away as I reached the middle, before it ultimately forced me to stay up long into the night anxiously reading to find out what happens next.

The writing is superb, the characters are largely unlikeable aside from the heartbreaking and sympathetic Prue, and the twists and revelations trickle in until you find yourself flooded by them in the most captivating way.

If you can make it past a few unsettling bits in the middle and reach the end, you'll be rewarded by another dark masterpiece by Clare Whitfield. I hope she never stops writing.

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Thank you for the opportunity to review this book, after I enjoyed People Of Abandoned Character so much.
This one is even better, deserves to sit alongside authors such as Catriona Ward, Jess Kidd and Laura Purcell.
Prue is a confused and unhappy 16yr old, sent to stay with her Aunt and Uncle on a remote Scottish island due to her Mother’s latest mental health crisis. She is searching for answers about who she is and why her closest relatives seem so reluctant to disclose the truth to her. The effervescent Ronnie, with her house full of exotic plants and way with cocktails seems to be her only confidante, but even that relationship has an edge to it that prevents Prue feeling truly at ease.
There are rumours of murder, of Laird v Townspeople bad feeling running down the generations and she starts to spiral into a haunted scrabble for secrets that appear to be buried, literally.
Where does Prue come from and why does the gauche awkwardness stop her settling into the life a 16yr old should be enjoying?

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What a read! Full of twisty and dark family secrets some of which will shock you to the core. Prue just wants to know what secrets her mum, nana and aunt are hiding but at what cost?

I loved the engaging narrative and the way the twists were revealed. I would definitely recommend to thriller lovers it had me hooked!

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Many thanks to Netgalley and Publishers Head of Zeus for this ARC to comment and review.

This read will have great appeal to readers of all ages. As an older reader I had my teenage self sitting alongside me remembering all those things that were so important then that are so important for the teenage Prue. Set in one of the remotest of the Shetland Islands, Prue, at the insistence of her Aunt Ruth goes to stay with her and husband Archie as well as the matriarch (Veronica) Ronnie after the death of Nana and hospitalisation of her Mother. The author introduces three mysteries, two related to her directly and one related to her island relatives.

Prue is reluctant to go, preferring to stay with her long-time school buddy for the time being until her final exam results are issued. However, with the insistence of Ruth she placates her by going. How disappointed Prue is on arriving at this desolate place having it set her in her head that Archie's family were rich and owned much of the island. What Prue encounters is a run down cottage that seems to be inhabited in every corner of the house with exotic plants. She is warned that many are not to be touched due to their toxicity.

Prue's life has been one of difficulty with a possessive Mother and unyielding Nana. She has never been informed of whom her father was, which is a constant thorn niggling at her and for which Aunt Ruth has made it clear that they would talk while she's on the island. Her mother's return to hospital has been brought about by the news of the release of the woman who abducted Prue's much younger baby sister some years previous. Nana and her mother fight which leads to Nana's death, her mother in hospital, leaving Prue by herself.

The bedroom, an old nursery, is where Prue is to stay but with the constant noises and weird things happening in this room, doors open after they were locked, the disappearance of her glasses and other noises best left for readers to discover, no longer able to tolerate the sleepless nights, Prue moves her bags into a study much to the chagrin of the others. Ronnie flaps about warning Prue not to touch any of the books that are packed onto shelves but of course as an inquisitive teenager she can't help herself and eventually goes through the whole collection. Many of the books give Prue insight into the household's mystery of a missing girlfriend of Archie's when he was a young man and another collection of books are loaded with money where she eventually discovers their origins.

Ronnie is a weird one, delving into all sorts exotic herbal concoctions and alcoholic drinks. Prue as a teenager of limited experience isn't used to drinking alcohol or alcohol laced with "whatever" concoction by Ronnie and as a consequence hallucinates along with any "weed" bought from Archie's arch nemesis, Charlie, brother of the longtime missing girl.

Prue strikes up a friendship with James, son of the hotel's owner who is a similar age to her and who helps to relieve the pressure from her strange relatives and surrounding mystery and Islanders' suspicions of the family, still considered interlopers.

Added to the complexity of the story is the dead girl's mother who is still unhinged with grief after all these years, a beautiful daughter who disappeared, the case still open with no conclusive proof of her demise or other and along with her son still believe that she was murdered by Archie.

After receiving high marks for her Finals Aunt Ruth decides on a celebratory dinner for Prue. The dinner and the entire evening completely blows up starting with Archie revealing that he has had discussions to sell the property. This completely unhinges Ronnie. She had insisted on creating the dinner adding her special ingredients, now needing time to collect her thoughts with this news from Archie heads for her special garden and plant collection. While waiting for Ronne to return Archie presses Ruth to reveal the mysteries of Prue's father and the death of her small baby sister with disastrous results for Prue, her imaginary loving father dissolves in disbelief and as for the death of her sister, the revelations are difficult to accept. Prue runs out of the house ending up at Charlie's where she intrudes on a meeting with his mates and in her poor state of mind gets herself involved. When this all goes pear shaped Prue, still in a confused state eventually finds her way back to the house but not before the black dog Ronnie hates presents her with a large bone. The house is in a mess, Ronnie's behaviour is weird and cold, Archie and Ruth are missing. Ronnie assumes Prue's behaviour is because of her special ingredient for the meal but rather Prue is suffering because of her own actions. Still, she is able to fool Ronnie into revealing all her secrets but of course now, Prue's life is in jeopardy.

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With Prue’s mother being admitted to a Psychiatric Centre, her aunt wants her to come and stay.
Prue desperately wanted to know “who was her father”? She was sure he would be her saviour.

I loved this entertaining and intriguing story of Prue’s life. This book kept me enthralled to its psychological thriller twist ending.

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Brilliant read, really worthwhile.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me access an advance copy of this book in exchange for my feedback.

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I found this quite a strange book.It would go from serious subjects, to feeling like a teenage magazine story in seconds. At times I really enjoyed Prue's inner dialogue, at other times I wondered at every action of every character in that particular moment. It gathers momentum and has quite the explosive final quarter, some of which was quite predictable, but some was a good surprise. Very much mixed feelings for me. Thank you Net Galley and the publisher for the arc!

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It's the story of a family's unravelling through the eyes of a confused and isolated 16-year-old girl trying to make sense of the past… This book was such a pleasure to read, such a beautifully written, atmospheric book , everything about this book is just so perfect and beautiful, the writing, the characters, the world building and the story.

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This book, "The Gone and the Forgotten" by Clare Whitfield is a very different book to "Persons of Abandoned Character". I really enjoyed reading about Prue's summer in Noost, a remote Shetland isle in 1993. The house she stays in is very quirky, and so are the characters who reside within. I really enjoyed Ronnie with her natural remedies, gins and teas. There was a more sinister side of the story, we find out who Prue's father is and also what happened to Evie.

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A brilliant book that is fast paced, suspenseful and gripping to read. I would definitely recommend this book to my audience, it is superb

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Set in 1993, we join Pru as she is shipped off to an island in the Shetlands to stay with her Aunt now that her Nana has died and her mother is hospitalized due to an attempt to take her own life. Pru wants badly to stay in her home with her friends but her Aunt entices her to come with a promise to reveal all of the family secrets which include the identity of Pru's father.

Pru arrives on the island and meets a crazy cast of true characters. There is a vein of coming of age throughout the book as Pru chases her first kiss and more. These parts are so well written you will undoubtedly feel that you are in high school again and lng for those long Summer days.

There is quite a bit of mystery featured in the book, the unnamed father, the death of Pru's younger sister and a missing young woman from 20 years before. Pru's family is tied up with all of these secrets and as the Summer draws to an end, Pru discovers more than she bargained for. If you reminisce about your 16th summer, love a family drama or long for well written coming of age story, then #TheGoneAndTheForgotten is for you! #HeadofZues #NetGalley #NetGalleyReads

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This book was intriguing and well=written, though I found some parts a bit slow. Overall a good read!

3.5 stars, rounded up.

Thank you to Head of Zeus, Apollo and NetGalley for the chance to read this book!

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Prue is 16 and her mother is in the hospital after a suicide attempt. She goes to live with her aunt on a remote island in Shetland, where she finds out that her uncle was suspected of murdering his girlfriend 20 years earlier. Along with learning more about that, she also hopes to find out answers to her paternity and other things kept quiet in her family. This was pretty good. I guessed at most of the secrets and what happened to the missing girlfriend pretty early on, but it didn't take away from the story since it was more about Prue than it was about a mystery. 4 stars.

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Well family secrets never stay hidden and they always come to the surface in some shape or form, a good read and I read this book in one sitting ..

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This book takes you on quite a ride. It is a slow burn for a lot of it, very descriptive of a time and place. Part mystery, party coming of age as the main character tries to understand her family's history A father she has never known, a mother with severe depression, she goes off to stay with her aunt and more secrets are revealed there

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This story, part coming of age and part gothic mystery, was really very good! After her grandmother’s death and her mother’s latest suicide attempt 16 year old Prue is summoned to spend the summer holidays in the Shetlands with her Aunt Ruth, Ruth’s husband - her Uncle Archie and Archie grandmother Veronique (call me Ronnie). The family pile is on the small remote island of Noost in the Shetlands. Prue can’t think of anything she would rather do less but Ruth tells her this will give them a chance to really talk and Prue takes this to mean she may finally find out who her father is as her mother has been tight lipped about that little nugget.

The house fits the description of gothic to a “T” - large and rambling, old, draughty and with numerous secret passages and priest holes. When she arrives though, Ruth is not keen on talking and Prue is frequently left to her own devices. In the village, such as it is, she learns that Archie was suspected of the murder, 20 years ago, of his then girlfriend Evie O’Hara. No evidence of this was ever found. Evie’s mother still stalks the Anderson lands in a deranged way. Prue moves herself into Archie’s former room. The elders are not happy about this but let it go telling her in no uncertain terms to not touch the books. Of course Prue touches the books. Inside she finds stashed money but also the occasional letter from Evie to Archie and these are enough to confirm in her mind that the two were very much in love and she doubts that Archie would have killed her.

Ruth and Archie are artists. She sneaks into Ruth’s studio and doesn’t know what to make of the rather disturbing artworks. Archie works out of the summer house and his artwork is rather more erotic. Meanwhile Prue is exploring her developing sexuality and is sneaking around more and more in the search for answers - about her father and about the death of her younger sister Holly, about her mother’s melancholia.

It all comes to a head one night when she has gotten too close to some uncomfortable truths and the resulting confrontation was a jaw dropper for sure. This story builds up a head of steam. The characters were fantastic, so devious, so many hidden secrets. This was a very well put together mystery with dark psychological undertones. There was always a sense of creeping menace which blossomed into fully fledged horror at the end of the book. I would never have picked that ending! Many thanks to Netgalley and Head of Zeus for the much appreciated arc which I reviewed voluntarily and honestly.

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The summer of 1993 is not going to be easily forgotten. 16-year-old Prue has grown up with her mother and her gran in London, but her childhood was not a conventional one. Her mother strived to keep her sheltered, not letting her play outside with the other kids, timing her walk home from school to ensuring she doesn’t participate in extra-curricular activities. Her life is surrounded by secrets with the main one being her father. Prue wants to know who her father is, and when her mother ends up in hospital after an attempted suicide following her gran's death, Prue’s aunt forces her to spend the summer at her home on the Island of Noost, one of the Shetland islands with the promise of telling her the truth. However, what Prue learns in the course of her summer is a lot more than what she had bargained for. Her family is riddled with secrets, including a possible murder.

Prue is a typical confused 16-year-old with a lot to learn. Some moments she acted mature and in others completely stupid. She doesn’t make the best of decisions a majority of the time, but then she is 16 and has a lot to learn. Unfortunately for her, some lessons may be hard to swallow and others should never have happened.

I really enjoyed this story. I wasn’t sure what to expect after reading #peopleofabandonedcharacter as the premise and timeframe are completely different. I went through a lot of mixed feelings over Prue as a lot of the time I wanted to slap her attention-seeking ways, but then pitied her for the lack of guidance she has had through life so far. She really just needed a hug and someone who she can trust to talk to. The twists and turns had me fearing for the worst. It was quite an uneasy read in parts and with a huge revelation which I didn’t see coming, plus with a few more which I feared and hoped were incorrect. Overall, this is another brilliant page-turning novel by @clarewhitfieldauthor and I am looking forward to whatever she writes next!

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This book is unlike anything I've ever read. I normally don't love any books that are super emotional. This book was just amazing. I loved the remote aspect of it. As well as the drama. I would love to read more from this author in the future.

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Whoa! What a ride. It was very fast-paced. The writing style kept me hooked and I didn't find myself losing any interest. I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters and how real the story felt. The author did a great job painting the setting, so it was easy for me to visualize the scene played out before me. I recommend giving this one a chance!

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An awkward teen, Prue reluctantly spends the summer with her Aunt in the Shetlands. Her grandmother has died and her mother has had another episode and is in mental care. Prue's past is haunting: a missing sister and the identity of her father is a secret. She is desperate to know who her father is and why his identity has been kept from her, so spending the summer with her Aunt and new Uncle may give her the answers she's looking for.

On the island, she meets quirky characters and some others shrouded in mystery. There are dark family secrets and several twists that make this story hard to put down. Clare Whitfield's writing starts out slow but catches your attention after a couple of chapters to where you can't put this book down.

Thank you to Head of Zeus, Apollo and NetGalley for this digital ARC. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Prue’s baby sister was murdered, her mother is in a mental hospital, her father is unknown, her Nana has just died, and her uncle is suspected of murdering his girlfriend many years ago. That’s a lot of problems for anyone, let alone a sixteen-year-old girl who has just finished her GCSEs. Because of the situation with her mother and Nana, Prue has to stay with her mother’s sister, Ruth, and her husband (the aforementioned uncle), Archie, on the island of Noost, notionally the most northerly of the Shetland Island. The house, Archie’s ancestral home, is also occupied by his grandmother, Ronnie. The house, buried deep in the woods, is ancient, spooky, full of secret passages, strange noises, dodgy electrics and filled with a plethora of obscure plants. The latter are the pride and joy – “my children” – of Ronnie, archetypal Wise Woman or Mad Woman (or possibly both). Prue has several missions: find out what really happened to her sister; discover who her father was; solve the mystery of her uncle’s missing girlfriend; and get reconciled with her mother. Oh, and lose her virginity – a promise she made to her best friend back home!
So at heart this is a coming of age story; young girl overcomes adversity and becomes a woman. But it is also a mystery story, in fact at least three mysteries need to be solved. At times it seems as if it might be a ghost story, at others it is clearly a psychological thriller. Such complexity can be quite challenging for the reader, who must engage with this often bewildered or confused protagonist. It starts quite slowly and feels a bit like what I imagine YA books are like (I’m way outside that demographic) but picks up pace and is moving quite rapidly by the end. All mysteries are finally resolved and, in retrospect, can be seen as inevitable.
I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers and the author for providing me with a draft proof copy for the purpose of this review.

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A page turner, eery and gothic. A complex family, a teenager who want to know more about her root. A complex family and a fascinating and chilly summer in the Shetland.
I loved the storytelling and the story kept me hooked.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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For Prue, there are too many secrets being held by her dysfunctional family, making this not just a coming of age story but one of many revelations. The characters are well described from Prue’s own relations to the small group of quirky islanders who all have their part to play in the dramatic ending. The author gets inside Prue’s head with good effect, and balances that against those around her with something to hide. A very good psychological mystery, although not such a surprise ending to me!

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An exceptional book! The perfect combination of a coming-of-age story with a crime novel. I really enjoyed Clare Whitfield's first book, and although this one is very different it has the same quality that makes you want to keep reading and never put it down. All the characters felt very well developed and it was nice to read about a teenager who actually comes across as believable as a teenager. Prue is a great protagonist and you really feel as though you're uncovering the mysteries with her. 5 stars easily, and I can't wait to see what Clare writes next! Thank you to Head of Zeus and NetGalley for an ARC of this book.

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Clare Whitfield is an author of infinite insight into the mind of teenage angst. The story starts in London where both the family life and surroundings of the main character Prue, are constrained and awkward. The majority of the novel setting then moves to a very small community on a very small island in Shetland where all is open to the scrutiny of the very small group of people. Nevertheless, there are secrets and problems to discover which embolden the seemingly introverted Prue to act in drug and alcohol fuelled extreme ways.
There is sadness and pathos in this tangled tale. The intriguing family based saga will wind you into its core. Recommended.

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Prue hopes that the summer she's going to spend on a island in the Shetlands with her aunt Ruth and uncle Archie will give her the chance to get information about the father she's never know but it turns out there s a bigger mystery. She's 16 and she's coping with a mother who has serious mental health issues. Not easy but she's coping and she finds Archie to be a good egg. One problem- he's long been suspected of murdering his girlfriend Evie, Did he do it? Prue sets out to get answers to both questions. Set in 1993, it's a tale of family secrets and lies that rides on the well written characters. Thanks to netgalley for the ArC. A good read.

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This was an interesting story describing a family that cannot possibly exist - Can It?
Prue is a sixteen year old having just taken for final school examinations before further education. What a start to life that Prue had, her baby sister murdered and the jailed murderer being released, her mother attempting suicide and now in a mental hospital, her grandmother, Nana, has just recently died and now she is having to stay with her aunt Ruth on a remote Scottish Island. Once there she discovers that the villagers all believe that her Uncle Harry killed his girlfriend many years ago and they still hold bad feelings for the family and when she arrives at the house it is to meet Ronnie, the madcap grandmother of Harry.
What a lovely set of characters that are all well described as is the scenery and village life on the island.
It was easy to detect the person who really did the 2 murders but Prue really wanted to know her father's name as well. I certainly did not guess that.
I felt that Prue was a very young 16 year old with too many hang ups in her life and it was obvious that throughout her life she had never had any one to guide her with a firm hand.

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An absent father. A missing girl. Buried family secrets. Is the truth worth searching for?

Moving up to an island in Shetland, this is a novel about relationships and families. There are a few dark secrets here and there's some claustrophobic moments.

Great writing but I liked her first book more.

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An often harrowing story that grips. to the end.

It's the summer of 1993, and in London, teenager Prue is experiencing the aftermath of her mother's recent suicide attempt. Before she knows it, it has been agreed that she will temporarily relocate to the Shetland Isles, and join her Aunt Ruth and Uncle Archie, a man she barely knows. Reluctantly, she agrees, since it will give her the opportunity to renew her relationship with them, as well as discover more about the past she is forbidden to discuss, including the identity of her Father.

We're then drawn into a dark story full of secrets, fears, murder and deceit. Families and entire villages harbour resentment, suspicion and hate, as Prue discovers that her uncle was the only suspect in the disappearance of a local girl twenty years ago. As long-buried secrets are revealed, we see how people experience things in different ways and how they relate to others.

The story is told partly from Prue's perspective, in flashback, which does allow us to see how certain elements of the story developed. This is an ofttimes harrowing, disturbing and bleak story and while the characters are nicely drawn, some have few redeeming features and they can be difficult to sympathise with. All have hidden motives, and as the story develops, Prue struggles to separate fact from fiction.

The story moves along well enough, although did drag a little in places for me. Parts I found hard to read, others highly entertaining and even suspenseful. But even when I found then going hard, I still wanted to keep going.

Other reviewers have described this as a coming-of-age story, but I'm not so sure. It's a story of family, and how we deceive ourselves and others and how we bury things better brought out into the open. In all honesty, I didn't entirely enjoy the story, but have to admire its intensity and depth. And the ending...

I was pleased to receive a NetGalley ARC to review, and I suspect I'll be queuing for a real copy when it's published, just to give it another go. The book won't be for everyone, but I certainly recommend giving it a go.

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The Gone and The Forgotten is the second novel by British author, Claire Whitfield. At her Aunt Ruth’s insistence, Prue MacArthur reluctantly travels from South Croydon, London to the tiny island of Noost, in the Shetlands for her summer vacation. With her Nan gone and her mother in rehab after a suicide attempt, her preferred option, staying with her best friend Subo’s family has been rejected. The main draw for her is that her aunt has promised to reveal what she knows about Prue’s father.

Bus, car and ferry trips finally deposit her at Dynrost House, the Anderson family home, where she meets Veronique Charlotte Lewthwaite MacNair Anderson, aka Ronnie, who is the grandmother of Uncle Archie, Aunt Ruth’s new husband. Ronnie has filled Dynrost House to bursting with plants that she regards as her children, and from which she formulates skin care products, medicines and cocktails.

Prue is given Archie’s old nursery as her bedroom, but is kept awake by the sound of dripping, a wardrobe with lively doors, and lights that keep failing. Nightmares about a certain incident when she was seven plague her, too. And she later discovers the room housed a suicide victim.

The islanders share rumours with Prue about Archie’s involvement in the disappearance of seventeen-year-old Evie O’Hara, some twenty years earlier, as well as various tales of other strange happenings at Dynrost House. All are wary of its inhabitants.

Prue is frustrated that Ruth keeps putting her off about her family secrets, but she is used to “the MacArthur family policy of stoic silence on all unpleasant matters”. She fills her days helping Ronnie in her greenhouse and hooks up with eighteen-year-old James, a barman at the hotel.

The uncle she barely knows turns out to be an artist of provocative paintings featuring teenaged girls, but seems to offer sound advice about what troubles her, and Prue begins to doubt this charismatic man could be a murderer, especially when she comes across the victim’s letters to him. But can he really be trusted?

There is such a lot going on in this novel: family secrets, drug use and trafficking, gossiping islanders, grooming and seduction, grief and guilt, all against a backdrop of a gothic manor and insular neighbours. Most of the characters range between quirky and downright crazy; the house is creepy; proper care for this vulnerable protagonist is sorely lacking.

Prue appears to be an unreliable narrator, indulging in rather a lot of alcohol and drugs for a sixteen-year-old; she is also affected by other substances of which she is unaware; and has been taught by her mother at an early age to compartmentalise unpleasant memories, some of which spill out when she is under stress. That given, her poor decisions shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Whitfield’s descriptive prose is evocative and several mysteries draw the reader in and keep the pages turning; all are resolved to jaw-dropping or chilling effect. A gripping read.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Head of Zeus/Apollo.

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Having really enjoyed Clare Whitfield's debut novel People of Abandoned Character, I couldn't wait to read her newest novel - I wasn't left disappointed!

Full of family secrets, questionable characters and a hell of a lot of shocking behaviour, it's a dark coming-of-age novel, revolving around Prue, a young girl who's searching for answers.

Teenage angst, family drama and an absent father who nobody will talk about, it's easy to see how Prue has trouble with her own identity. But the truths she so desperately seeks, end in her being mixed up in a whole heap of trouble -which makes for such a creepily engrossing read!

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