In the deep woods of East Texas, Henry supports his family by selling bootleg liquor. It’s all he can do to keep his compassionate but ailing mother and his stepfather—a fanatical grassroots minister with a bruising rhetoric—from ruin. But they have no idea they’ve become the obsession of the girl in the woods.
Abandoned and nearly feral, Eve has been watching them, seduced by the notion of family—something she’s known only in the most brutal sense. Soon she can’t resist the temptation to get close. Where Henry’s mother sees a poor girl in need, his father sees only wickedness. When Henry forges an unexpected bond with Eve, he believes he might be able to save her. He doesn’t know how wrong he is.
Eve is about to take charge of her own destiny—and that of Henry’s family. As both their worlds spin violently out of control, Henry must make an impossible choice: protect the broken young woman who’s claimed a piece of his soul, or put everyone he loves at risk in order to do the right thing.
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HALL WAYS REVIEW: You would think that since I have a bookish job that immerses me in the bookish world, I would have LOADS of time to read. Ah, the irony. Though I am blessed that my job requires reading of fabulous books, it’s very hard to find time to fit in books of my own choice. My work around is to always have what I call a “toothbrush book.” This book stays by the bathroom sink and gets read when I’m brushing my teeth or doing my hair or putting on make-up. In the case of The Unremembered Girl by Eliza Maxwell, I ended up sitting on the bathroom counter for over an hour before breaking my rule and carrying it to the couch. I didn’t get off that couch until the book was done…
OH MY GOSH, I had all the feels reading this story. ALL the feels. Revulsion. Sympathy. Empathy, anger, horror, hurt, indignation, shock, relief, worry… And I kept thinking, “WOW. Eliza wrote this.” Eliza (whom I’ve become quite fond of over the past few years) wrote this story straight out of her imagination, and it’s perfection. She nailed it. I told her all this and she was humble and sweet – because that’s how she is – but she also told me that she feels like her next book, The Widow’s Watcher, is better. Truly, if that is the case, I don’t think my little book-loving heart can take it. (But we’ll find out since it’s coming on Lone Star Book Blogs tour end of May!)
Back to The Unremembered Girl. It’s dark and profoundly sad. It’s grim and even gruesome at times; it haunts me. Main character Henry doesn’t do the right thing; he doesn't act the right way. He's HUMAN. So many times, I thought, no, no -- don't do that, Henry. There's an easier way… this is gonna backfire. But Henry didn’t listen to me. He's often misguided in his sacrifices, but he always acts out of putting others' needs first. Always. His and Eve’s relationship is magnetic but not really explained. It just is, and we must accept that. This might bother some readers, but for me it worked. Sometimes life and feelings defy explanation.
The Unremembered Girl unfolds in a time period that is sketchy to grasp -- but I think that was good for where they characters are living in swampy Texas, where time kind of stands still a bit. Things remain the same and are done a certain way because it always has been that way.
The book is cleanly edited and very well written. I like that the very short chapters each encapsulate a specific event. You read, you reel, and then you return for more. The story is a bit addictive.
Thank you to the author, my friend, for providing me a beautiful print copy as a gift with absolutely no strings attached. I devoured it and give my honest opinion in the hope that others will read it and read this book and be moved by it.
Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever patient husband and two kids. She's an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict. She loves nothing more than to hear from readers. You can find her at firstname.lastname@example.org