Review: Remember Me by Charity Norman


Title: Remember Me

Author: Charity Norman

Published: 3rd March 2022, Allen & Unwin

Status: Read April 2022 courtesy Allen & Unwin


My Thoughts:


Charity Norman blends family drama with mystery in her compelling novel, Remember Me.

When a phone call from a neighbour informs Emily Kirkland that her ageing father is in need of help, she reluctantly leaves her life in London and returns to her hometown, Tawanui on New Zealand’s North Island. Diagnosed with Alzheimers more than year earlier, Dr Felix Kirkland is no longer able to hide his deteriorating condition and Emily plans to stay just a few weeks to arrange for his ongoing care.

Emily’s return coincides with the upcoming 25th anniversary of the disappearance of her neighbour and friend, Dr. Leah Parata. Leah, an environmental scientist, headed into the Ruahine ranges on the edge of town for a two night hike when she was 26 years old and vanished, with no trace of her ever been found.

A committed physician and reserved man, too busy with his patients to have ever paid much attention to his children, Emily and Felix have never been close. She expects to swiftly move Felix into a local nursing home, as her elder twin siblings suggest, and begins the job of sorting out the house. The task, and Felix’s increasing candour as a result of his dementia, promotes a new intimacy between father and daughter, but when Emily finds a beanie in the bottom of a cupboard, which looks just like the one Leah was wearing when Emily last saw her on the day she disappeared, she’s suddenly afraid of what Felix may reveal.

I really liked the plot of Remember Me, and the way in which Norman skilfully weaved her two story threads together.

Norman thoughtfully explores the dynamic between father and daughter, and the changes wrought by Felix’s illness. His dementia-induced disinhibition reveals vulnerabilities that tempers some of Emily’s childhood resentments about their relationship, and there is a real sense of poignancy as Emily simultaneously finds, and loses, their connection as he declines.

When public interest in the mystery of Leah’s disappearance is renewed, Emily is at first puzzled and then anxious about her father’s reaction. I was caught up in the suspense as Emily, discovering evidence that suggests her dad could have been involved, is torn between her loyalty to her father, and to Leah’s family, who are still hoping for answers. I thought the bittersweet resolution worked well, and found it quite moving.

Norman’s writing is engaging and thoughtful, and though the pace of the novel is measured, Remember Me is an absorbing read.


Available from Allen & Unwin RRP AUD$29.99

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ThoughtsBecomeWords
    Jun 03, 2022 @ 10:15:35

    Great review, sounds good, I do like Charity Norman’s writing style.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. WendyW
    Jun 03, 2022 @ 11:54:33

    Sounds like a lovely family drama. Wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Tina
    Jun 03, 2022 @ 23:46:08

    I will be adding this to my list, I like the plot and your review grabbed me.

    Liked by 1 person


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  5. Helen Murdoch
    Jun 06, 2022 @ 13:00:28

    Alzheimer’s is such a tough disease for family members, I am glad this book deals with it well.

    Liked by 1 person


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