A Half Forgotten Song , by Katherine Webb
Synopsis from Goodreads:A spellbinding tale about the power of love, the danger of obsession, and the unfaithful nature of memory. A Half Forgotten Song is by turns haunting, heartbreaking and joyous.
1937. In a village on the Dorset coast, fourteen-year-old Mitzy Hatcher has endured a wild and lonely upbringing, until the arrival of renowned artist Charles Aubrey-along with his exotic mistress and their daughters-changes everything. Over the next three summers, Mitzy sees a future she had never thought possible, and a powerful love is kindled in her. A love that grows from innocence to obsession; from childish infatuation to something far more complex. Years later, a young man in an art gallery looks at a hastily-drawn portrait and wonders at its intensity. The questions he asks lead him to a Dorset village and to the truth about those fevered summers in the 1930s.
Dimity/Mitzy is an unreliable narrator but I don’t think it is in a mean spirited way, I believe it is her story completely from her point of view, even though that view is skewed, compared to how other people remember it. She never knew any kindness in this world so of course she would fall in love with the first person that showed it to her.
The back and forth in time worked very well, as Zach tries to find out the truth about artist Charles Aubrey but what he finds in Mitzy is not what he expected to find and can she be believed? Mitzy’s story was so fascinating and made even more so as realize what an unreliable narrator she is but you can’t help but fall in love with her either, at least I couldn’t, I felt she was stuck in this time, I don’t believe she ever really matured past this point in her life and it made me sad for her and just want to hug her.
I really liked the way the author told this story with this air of mystery as you try to figure out just how much of Dimity’s story is the truth and how much is pure fantasy. Zach was an interesting character too as he tries to figure out not only what to do with his own life but to find out what his real connection is to the famous artist. Mitzy’s mother is a piece of work who I just wanted to slap, the way she treats Mitzy is just awful she is a very unlikable person, and maybe Mitzy wouldn’t have been so in need of love, attention and normalcy if she had been even a decent mother. There are hints of gothic fiction here but I wouldn’t categorize it as such all the characters are fully fleshed out and truly “alive”.
I have enjoyed Webb’s other two books and this one did not disappoint I highly recommend all of her books! I couldn’t put this book down I feel it is a must read but be prepared for some late nights and characters that will stay with you long after you are finished!
4 1/2 Stars