The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard
Allison O’Malley’s plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she’s been in love with for as long as she can remember.
What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison’s mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn’t trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother’s sanity.
The Forgotten Ones gripped me immediately as it thrust me into Allison’s life as her mother experiences a schizophrenic episode which is made worse by seeing her own daughter, but does Allison give up? On family, never. In this heartbreaking scene, Laura Howard manages to warm our hearts as well. Much of the book balances on a delicate but beautiful fence between heartbreak and hope that’s built on the lengths that one will go to for those they love. This is true for more than just Allison.
Allison is definitely a likeable character. At 23, she’s uber-responsible. There is so much that she has had to deal with and she puts a lot on to her shoulders. Much of the time I wanted to give her a hug and tell her it would be okay, but at other times I wanted to shake her and tell her that she could handle being with Ethan and that she could stand to have some fun. One of the reasons I enjoyed her grandparents is, in addition to just seeming awesome, they remind her that she needs to have fun in life. Same with her cousin Nicole, who tries to include her in many group activities. After my initial suspicion towards him after he mysteriously appears, I even began to like Liam. Then there’s Ethan, who, despite his flirtatious attitude towards other girls (ladies man), has eyes only for Allison. He produced some very aww-worthy moments in the book. I can’t wait to see what the next book has in store for these two, I so hope that Allison wakes up before Ethan moves on.
The real-world setting is definitely believable, a mix between small town and outlying community where the homes have more land, but a place that is close enough to the beach to have a decent beach day. It reminds me of my neighborhood, down to the Sox references (bonus points for that). Very New England without being overtly so. The world of Tir na n’Og where the the Tuatha de Danaan live is so interesting with a variety of landscapes of both beauty and danger. Add to that a touch of magic with the power to do things that would be spoilers if I told you what they were, and you have one fantastical setting. We weren’t here for nearly long enough in The Forgotten Ones, but I bet we’ll be seeing it a lot more of in future books.
The Forgotten Ones is a relatively quick read that builds interest in both the characters and plot very quickly and teases us with what’s to come. The last scene is quite the cliff-hanger, and I can’t wait to read how it will all play out. Laura Howard’s strong debut is sure to tug at your heart strings and have you rooting for childhood crushes to turn into something more.
**I received an ebook of The Forgotten Ones through NetGalley. Thank you NetGalley and Indie Inked!**