Wendy Walker spared us no mercy in her first chapter where we were privvy to the details of the rape suffered by Jenny. Not only did the description leave us feeling raw but the unknown narrator and his almost stream of conscious narrating unnerved me. Who was this person who knew such intimate detail. We weren’t to find out until chapter 7 and the psychological impact on me as reader was immense. By the time I found out I could not put down the book if I’d tried. I had to know the ending.
Following Jenny’s vicious rape her mother overruled her father and agreed to treatment that would wipe the memory of the rape from Jenny’s mind, in the hope of Jenny not suffering from PTSD as a result. The treatment was successful and Jenny carried on with life almost as though nothing had happened apart from a scar on her back where the rapist had taken his trophy of skin and flesh. Despite the treatment, Jenny’s body remembered the emotions that went with the rape but instead of being able to attach these feelings to the rape they would appear at random times, unattached to any memory and therefore it was impossible to deal with them rationally. This built up until Jenny eventually tried to kill herself.
At this point one man decides he must give Jenny back her memory. Through this journey we learn intimate details of other characters – her parents Tom and Charlotte, the man who is helping regain her memory, his son, a veteran who has also had the treatment to remove memories of an incident in Iraq, the policeman. We see the efforts made to find the rapist. We twist and turn as exquisitely as the plot line. We squirm at the lies and the moral dilemmas. We are gobsmacked at the ending.
This book was cleverly crafted and innovative. I highly recommend it. I am definitely going to read her next book, Emma in the Night, which I believe was published in August 2017.