Book Club: All Is Not Forgotten

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Author: Wendy Walker
ISBN: 9781489210623
RRP: $29.99

All Is Not Forgotten, well there is a lot in that title that resonates because this book is one that certainly will not be forgotten.

To say I loved the story feels disingenuous because I can’t LOVE a story centred around an event so brutal and traumatic. I found the story to be fascinating and multi-faceted, it drew me in and held me captive even at times where the heartbreak of reading it had me wanting to put it down and walk away.

The storytelling method is brilliant, it gives an in-depth look at all of the characters and an insight into their psychological makeup that we otherwise would not have had. It takes a couple of chapters to work out who this seemingly objective observant narrator is, and how they fit into this most horrific story.

The story starts with the third person retelling of the brutal rape of a fifteen year old girl in the woods behind a house party. The party is attended by many of the teens in town and it is only a small town. The kind of town you don’t expect these things to happen in. This chapter, these events, are very hard to read and they could probably trigger all sorts in anyone who may have suffered any type of assault.

I don’t think that was the worst of it though really because Walker then brings a controversial (fictional) treatment into the narrative that uses drugs to erase traumatic memories. Jenny, the victim, is a minor so it is up to her parents to consent to the use of the treatment; which needs to be administered as early as possible after the trauma, before the memories take hold. Jenny’s parents want to do the best for their daughter, they want to do all they can to help her heal and move on so of course they sign her up for the treatment… how can removing the memory of her brutalization be a bad thing? Well, that’s a question we will have answered before we make it halfway.

all is not forgotten

Our objective narrator is a psychiatrist who is brought in to treat Jenny when it becomes apparent to all that the treatment she received directly after the attack hasn’t helped. Yes, it removed her memories of the attack but it didn’t take the emotions and that creates a whole new wealth of issues.

Dr Alan Forrester, our narrator, is the only practising psychiatrist in their home town of Fairview, and he volunteers a full day each week to treat mentally ill criminals in a level five maximum security institution. He is also working with a former Navy SEAL struggling in the wake of the treatment that removed his memories. All of these things are elements of why he was employed to work with Jenny.

Dr Forrester is great at explaining his take on the workings of the mind and the ‘filing’ of memories, the way the treatment is supposed to work and what it actually does. He is also quite good at working with patients to recover these memories, which has to be done very carefully to avoid creating false memories. Either way, the recovered memories are not admissible in court as the nature of the treatment makes them unreliable.

All Is Not Forgotten is the journey, told for us by Dr Forrester, of a family towards healing; because though Jenny is the victim of the attack the rest of her family are not immune to damage in its wake. There is guilt, there is anger and a need for revenge; and that’s just on the surface.

Dr Forrester takes on treatment of Jenny but he also starts treating her parents Tom and Charlotte, separately. He collects the stories of the Kramers through their sessions, and the wider picture through his liaison with the local police department. Everyone wants to see the rapist caught and brought to justice, to offer closure to Jenny but also to the entire town.

The slow unfolding of events, the relationships between all of the characters and the secrets being kept unfold slowly through Dr Forrester’s sessions and his recording of the conversations. There are some very interesting twists that I did not see coming that add to the tension and the suspense of the unfolding story.

All Is Not Forgotten is well written, the hooks are well placed and the pacing is steady. I was impressed with the in-depth exploration of memories and how they are made, the explanations of the treatments and then the way that Forrester goes about recalling these true memories and the explanation that went into how it all works, simplistically enough that it could be understood by everyone and not just those in the mental health industry.

Right from the beginning Dr Forrester tells us about his observations on truth and relationships from his years of experience as a psychiatrist, though he tries to keep it objective. He does enjoy relating these observations when he can directly relate them to what is happening in the story.

The characters are quite three dimensional for the most part and well developed, except where it was in the best interest of the suspense to keep them a little sketchy.

A thought-provoking, yet heartbreaking, story of deceit, degradation, suspicion and the desire to protect the ones we love. Equal parts fascinating and disturbing this is definitely going to stay with you long after the book is read.

All Is Not Forgotten is available in August through Harlequin and from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Wendy Walker can be found on Facebook,, Twitter and Instagram.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading and reviewing All Is Not Forgotten so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments.

20 thoughts on “Book Club: All Is Not Forgotten

  1. I first want to thank you for selecting me, this is not normally the type of book I would read. I enjoyed it but found it pretty heavy but then again that’s what makes it great. You feel for Jenny who was raped and how her parents deal with it. At first I found the story confusing but it got clearer as I read on. The book was well written and I would recommend it even though the subject matter is difficult.

  2. My feelings towards this book are still unbalanced. The question that still remains with me days after finishing this is “just how far would you go to protect your family?” the answer? I have no idea… I found myself both extremely frustrated and angry at Dr Forrester at how he handled things, but at the same time I have to ask myself, what would I do in the same set of circumstances. I hope to hell I wouldn’t do what he did. But I did enjoy the book and it definitely evoked emotions from me, confronting and compeeling, read for yourself and be the judge…,

  3. I was really looking forward to getting stuck into reading All Is Not Forgotten, but I have to say I really struggled with the opening scenes purely due to the graphic and confronting nature of the attack. But I persisted and once I got through that very dramatic and emotional start, I found it an engrossing and fascinating novel with very interesting ideas on memories, emotions and coping with trauma. Although fictional, the proposed memory treatment brought up many issues. And I believe the intense portrayal of the attack only served to heighten the impact of the remaining story.

    The authoritative voice of the psychiatrist narrator is eventually starkly contrasted with his own innate failings and imperfections. The ending left me feeling uncomfortable in many ways but glad in others. A challenging yet fascinating read that I would recommend. Thanks to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review All Is not Forgotten.

  4. I’m so glad that B&L gave me the opportunity to read and review All is not Forgotten. I really enjoyed it, with all it’s twists & turns and psychological mystery. I love a good psychological drama and this ticked all the boxes.

    I had no idea how it was going to end, and many of the assumptions I made along the way regarding the motives of the characters turned out to be wrong too. Throughout the story I found myself really thinking about human behaviour and motivation .. it was very interesting.

    I don’t want to give anything away, so will just finish by saying that I recommend this book to anybody who likes this type of story and doesn’t mind being challenged and confronted with some uncomfortable situations. I will be looking forward to a movie version and will also look out for other books by Wendy Walker.

  5. A confusing book to begin with but slowly the story started to make sense & draw you into a world of horror sadness & suspenseful intrigue.
    As someone else commented not a book to lull you to sleep with happy thoughts too many questions & scenarios trying to figure out who did it so your brain won’t switch off better to read in daylight when you can think more clearly.
    An exceptional read that really keeps you guessing to the final twist at the end which completely threw me but this said I thoroughly enjoyed All is not Forgotten.
    Thanks Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read this novel.

  6. I can’t say I have ever read a novel quite like All Is Not Forgotten before, the author should be commended on her ability to write a highly original storyline, concerning a subject matter that is as complex as it is controversial. This is a cleverly written novel, taking the reader on many unexpected twists, as well as displaying emotional depth through the characters. There are times when I found this book hard to read, especially the areas involving Jenny’s assault. I shook myself off a few times, put the book down, even walked away but in the end I persisted. There are a few unknown and very hooking features in this novel that compels the reader to stick with the book. The narrator of All Is Not Forgotten completely baffled me. However, once I worked out who it was, I was struck by their ethics and general manner, which came across as clinical but creepy. It definitely gave the story a unique spin. I was also taken with the central mystery – just who raped Jenny Kramer? I had my suspicions, but these were incorrect. The small town dynamics played out well in this novel, as the police investigation and the town’s residents refuse to accept one of their own may have committed this horrific crime. When the conclusion was finally reached, I did breathe a sigh of relief, as I had been on tender hooks for the majority of the novel.
    All Is Not Forgotten is a very dark psychological thriller, rich in controversial detail. It would make the ideal choice for a book club, inviting polarising discussion around its subject matter.

    *Thank you to Beauty and Lace for a copy of this book for review purposes

  7. An interesting novel to read, however I did find it very hard reading at first and it took me time to get settled into reading and a feel for the story; maybe this is because in some parts it was quite graphic in the description of the events. This novel is most definitely not my normal genre and I found it a challenging and thought provoking story.

    All is Not Forgotten is a very powerful rollercoaster ride for Jenny Kramer who is a 15 year old who had attended a party, and ended up in the woods behind the party the victim of a vicious rape. When her parents Tom and Charlotte take her to the local hospital it was decided to medically erase the memories of the rape. But as the weeks and months follow her physical wounds are healed but she has no factual recall of the attack and she struggles with her emotional memory.

    The narrator Dr Alan Forrestor, takes us through many unfolding events in the lives of the characters and the secrets of all concerned. There are many twists in the story that add to the suspense and the ending, which if you want to know what happens you will have to read the novel. It is not the ending that I expected.

    For anyone who would like to try a different style of book I would highly recommend reading All is not Forgotten as I will not forget it for a long time.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this intriguing and well written novel.

  8. ‘All Is Forgotten’ is a psychological thriller and Crime novel. It is very different to any novel that I have ever read and I was a bit unsure about how I would react/deal with the content. At first it was a bit hard going , especially as I was reading it before bed. But, gradually I was able to get into it and the characters. The story is narrated by the psychiatrist and is a novel that explores family relationships as well as what is morally right. . In this case what is the right thing to do for the victim, Jenny.
    There were lots of twists and turns that kept me guessing till the very end.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read this very different novel. One I would definitely recommend to those who love reading psychological thrillers and dramas.

  9. A great book for lazy summer days. It’s a book you won’t putdown till you’ve turned the last page. I absolutely loved “All is Not Forgotten”. A little mystified for the first few pages…. who was narrating this story! And why? And then I was caught in the web of intrigue and “twists and turns”. And like a great movie, the plot and the characters’ roles in this thriller keep playing over in my mind till I can sort it out clearly in my mind. I highly recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys a good book… one that you will want to pass onto friends so they can share the enjoyment! Thank you for the opportunity to read and review…. it was entirely my pleasure!

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