Rotorua Weekender

Painful truth makes great read

- REVIEW by Jemma Remember Me by Charity Norman

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When the flu took me out in July, I found myself deeply immersed in the pages of Charity Norman's latest novel, set in the beautiful Hawke's Bay at the foot of the Ruahine Ranges.

If you haven't read a book by Charity yet, then you are in for a real treat. Her writing has such a depth and heart to it that you often end up empathisin­g with who would traditiona­lly be the “bad guys” in her stories, because her characters are raw, real, authentic and never blackand-white.

Emily, our main character, unexpected­ly finds herself leaving her life in Britain to return to New Zealand to temporaril­y care for her father who has Alzheimer's.

They have never been close, she has craved his love and attention her whole life and now must confront a quickly deteriorat­ing Felix in a rural town with many secrets.

Twenty-five years ago a young woman, Leah, disappeare­d and was never found again.

She was the sister of her childhood best friend on the neighbouri­ng farm.

As Emily's fragile bond with Felix takes a surprising turn, he begins to reveal snippets about a past with Leah that make Emily very worried about what really happened all those years ago.

Over the course of this summer, she is drawn deeper into the web of the past and the heartbreak­ing truth.

A phenomenal read. — Jemma

REVIEW by Maggie

The Improbable Life of Ricky Bird by Diane Connell

The Improbable Life of Ricky Bird tells the tale of 12-yearold Ricky Bird just after she and her family move to a different suburb of London in order to restart after the divorce of her parents.

It is written in a way that makes you feel so connected to the character, an imaginativ­e, creative person, who is constantly using stories to cope with and distract herself from everything going on in her life.

Feeling completely isolated, and as if her life is falling apart, she doesn't have anyone to turn to.

Covering the struggles and fears of sickness as well as mental health, it felt so real with Ricky's constant feelings of ultimately just being unlovable.

There were definitely a lot of tears shed while reading this book.

However, I also completely devoured it.

I loved it so much and cannot recommend it enough.

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