Book Review: The Unremembered Girl by Eliza Maxwell
Title: The Unremembered Girl
Author: Eliza Maxwell
Released: November 01, 2017
In the deep woods of East Texas, Henry supports his family by selling bootleg liquor. It’s all he can do to keep his compassionate but ailing mother and his stepfather – a fanatical grassroots minister with a bruising rhetoric – from ruin. But they have no idea they’ve become the obsession of the girl in the woods.
Abandoned and nearly feral, Eve has been watching them, seduced by the notion of family – something she’s known only in the most brutal sense. Soon she can’t resist the temptation to get close. When Henry’s mother sees a poor girl in need, his father sees only wickedness. When Henry forges an unexpected bond with Eve, he might be able to save her. He doesn’t know how wrong he is.
Eve is about to take charge of her own destiny – and that of Henry’s family. As both their worlds spin violently out of control, Henry must make an impossible choice: protect the broken young woman who’s claimed a piece of his soul, or put everyone he loves at risk in order to do the right thing.
Please keep in mind that this review contains spoilers for the entire book. Read with caution. If you click the “Read More”, it is under the assumption that either you don’t care about spoilers or you’ve already read the book.
This book was my Kindle First Choice for October 2017.
I didn’t like this as much as I thought I would, at all. The story focuses mostly on Henry, a 26-year old man who tries to “fix” Eve, a feral girl with no name. The premise seemed interesting but that was quickly dismantled when it started to become clear to me that Henry never fell in love with Eve – especially with the way the “romance” transpired and each character interacts with the world around them.
As another reviewer here said, it feels overwritten but underwritten. The transitions tend to give me whiplash from what’s going on and why certain scenes exist. Usually, scenes exist because there is a point to them but often, I found myself scratching my head on why certain chapters exist (especially when it came to Jonah’s point of view). For example, Henry’s mother was built up as someone who was ill and it was going to be really sad and stuff when The Cancer (TM) takes her away. However, the mother is shown to be a strong type and wouldn’t go to the doctor unless she was guilted into it. But almost immediately after that doctor checkup, “months” pass by and suddenly she’s on her deathbed. Another time skip happens suddenly, and she dies. Huh? Have they REALLY tried everything or were the characters on autopilot until that particular moment?
This is even more evident with the romance that supposedly happened between Eve and Henry. He keeps telling her that she’s terrible and agrees when she puts herself down. And we’re supposed to believe he’s in love with her? I didn’t realize he was supposed to be in love with her until Alice finds out about Eve’s pregnancy. When Henry was “falling in love” with Eve, it felt more like he was viewing her as a daughter than a love interest – now that would’ve been an interesting take on the “love will fix everything!” trope.
The characters felt more like caricatures, especially Livingston, and when he gets murdered and Henry’s confession, it feels like he was created just to be hated and just to die and be shrugged off at the end. No one cares except Del and it only seems he did it because he felt guilty about his sister’s suicide, the human trafficking subplot, and the fact that he didn’t want kids with Alice. Instead of talking to her like a normal human being, he goes in, guns blazing and gets killed. This part of the book also kind of disgusts me because after the (white) hero gets perilously killed in an effort to save his pride– I mean, save the girls and women, Henry carries him and the girls and women carry the man’s body all the way back to the main house. Sorry, that scene really rubbed me the wrong way.
Everyone depended on Henry in this book one way or another. Without Henry, this town would collapse even though he made and sold moonshine. Even though he tried to force Eve to love a child, who was conceived through rape, Eve ended up drowning herself after she realized that her precious Henry can’t fix her. But what gets me the most about this book is that Henry is the one who gets to have a happy ending – and Eve is at the bottom of the swamp instead of exploring a life that was completely robbed of her. And one that didn’t have Henry telling her how bad she was all the time.
Posted on October 8, 2018, in ★☆☆☆☆ – 1 Star, Book Reviews, Book Series, Oneshots and tagged book review, kindle first choice, review, spoilers, the unremembered girl. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.