Eva Patterson's life is forever altered by the devastating discovery of her mother, Flora, dead in the bath leaving only a note: 'Forgive Me'.
Until Flora's suicide, Eva's world had been secure - but overnight everything changes. For when Flora leaves Eva a London artist's studio in her will, she finds her mother had a secret past.
In the studio's attic are Flora's paintings and diaries, and Eva learns her mother was a popular artist in the swinging sixties. Eva's hunt for answers uncovers clues to a shocking crime which led Flora to hide her past.
But will discovering the truth destroy Eva's belief in everything she holds dear? And will this journey lead her and those she loves into danger?
I'm always very excited when a new novel from Lesley Pearse arrives, I've been a fan of hers since her very first book was published back in 1993.
Her latest novel Forgive Me will be published on 14 February 2013 by Michael Joseph (Penguin) - I have spent the last couple of days engrossed in it, and yet again she has produced another epic story that has kept me gripped until the end.
Forgive Me is set in the early 1990s and once again Lesley Pearse has created a strong and gutsy female lead character in Eva Patterson.
The story opens on the day that Eva returns home to find that her beloved mother Flora has committed suicide, from that moment on, everything that Eva believed about herself and her family is proved to have been based on lies.
Flora's will states that Eva will inherit an artist's studio in London, but Eva didn't know anything about it, she didn't even know that her mother had been a successful artist. Eva discovers a bundle of old diaries and paintings in the studio which tell her a little about her past and lead her to Scotland to try and discover more. Along the way, she uncovers some shocking secrets that will change her life forever.
This was a really fast-paced and emotional read. Although the story centres around Eva and her search for answers about her beginnings, there is a hint of thrill and mystery added to the mix. The writing is superb as always, the characters are wonderfully drawn, I especially loved Phil the builder who rescued Eva and made her feel special again.
The story moves from leafy Cheltenham, to fast-paced London and up to rural Scotland, and Lesley Pearse's descriptions are wonderful, really evoking a strong sense of place and era. The story covers some serious issues which are dealt with sensitively, yet realistically.
At the beginning of the story, Eva Patterson is a fairly innocent young girl, living comfortably in a nice house with loving parents. During her quest to find out the truth about her mother she experiences heartache and let-down, violence and depression, yet at the end of the book, she is a strong woman - no longer a girl, but happier and finally content.
This is another epic story from one of the best storytellers published today who never lets me down with her fabulous characters and her engrossing plots. I loved it!
Check out Lesley Pearse's website here, or follow her on Twitter here