Do You Remember? Mandy Baggot.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.
I’ve read several of Mandy’s book now and enjoyed them all. She has an easy writing style which makes is simple for the reader to just relax and let the story enfold them. Her characters are always ones I can empathise with and that’s very important to me. This book I really liked Emma, she had a tough teen time with her mum dying of cancer. That’s hard for anyone, but for a teen its even more difficult, teen years are so emotional and illness and death impacts on the whole family. Her mum’s death left just Emma and her dad, and after she got into some trouble locally, a reaction against events, her dad took them to France camping for the summer. There she met Guy, just one year older at 18, but with huge responsibilities with a mum whose always drunk and a newborn baby brother. He and Emma fall deeply for each other and make plans to be together with baby Luc, and then something terrible happens to upset all their plans.
Its eight year later now, Emma is a teacher , has her own home shared with son Dominic and she has a loving boyfriend Chris. Seems perfect and yet … she feels unsettled and avoids answering Chris when he’s keen to become more than just her boyfriend. At the opening of a local leisure centre run by her best friend Ally she meets Guy again. He’s made a success of his football career and been signed locally – meeting each other brings back all those feelings they had, should they investigate them or stay with the partners they currently have. Can love be ignored for security, and what about the secrets they both hold.
The book goes back and forth from the summer in France to present day and gradually the stories unfold, there are secrets neither has admitted to anyone and if opened out now with they help or hinder? Emma still loves Guy, and meeting him brings back all those feelings, and she can’t help wondering if that’s why she held back with Chris, and was she too quick to judge what she saw the day she left France. She didn’t give Guy a chance to explain his actions, but just went back to her dad and England. Guy has always known she’s his true love but thought he’d lost her for good, and his current relationship his more one of convenience for them both than any passion. He’s keen to pick up where they finished but will his secrets split them? Just when they take steps to be together the past rears its head and secrets are revealed. And what shockers! I guessed, but got Emma’s totally wrong and as for Guy, I was totally on wrong track at first, bit once things stated to come out I got closer but still didn’t get all of it.
A great story of a romance that was so strong it stuck the test of time and trials. I loved Guy, such a hard place he was in with baby Luc and his alcoholic mother that Emma seemed like someone magical and fresh to him, and yet though teen romance often fades his love stayed strong all those years, even shadowed though it was by the dark secrets he kept. Emma was a typical teen, full of angst and emotion and yet when she found Guy she was headlong in love and the same as for him those feelings stayed with her even though she did her best to avoid them. Her dad – typical man, loves his daughter, grieving his wife and doing his best to cope. Teens are not easy for any parent (nor is being a teen easy!!) add to it the loss they’d suffered and its no wonder things went astray.
Once the secrets started coming out there followed shock after shock, and I had tears at how they could have lost that love but yet managed to find a way past their problems.
Fabulous read, one to reread and its full of story and things that once the secrets are known may appear in a different light. Priced at £3.99 for 306 pages its within my VFM range and especially good value for those who like me re read good novels.
Stars: full five- lovely book from Mandy once again.