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Forgive Me Not 2 (002)Every reader knows never to judge a book by its cover.

So true – because the pretty, canary yellow, sunshine cover of Forgive Me Not doesn’t even begin to hint at some of the difficult themes explored by author Samantha Tonge.

It’s a bit of a departure for Tonge, who’s better known as a best-selling romance novelist.

But her own battles with alcohol and addiction and her journey towards well-being provided the inspiration for Emma, the recovering alcoholic heroine of Forgive Me Not.

But this is not just the story of Emma’s struggle for sobriety, as well as sibling rivalry, homelessness and losing a parent to dementia, Tonge also throws in…

Twisty narrative

Sorry, can’t tell you without spoiling some of the surprises within.

Suffice to say the story unfolds at a cracking pace and the twisty narrative which switches between past and present, allows the reader’s sympathies to swither backwards and forwards between Emma and her family and friends.

What the blurb says:

Forgiveness can be hard to come by… An un-put-downable new novel from bestseller Samantha Tonge

How far would you go to make amends?

When Emma fled her home at Foxglove Farm, she’d let down and hurt those who cared for her most. But now, two years later, she’s ready to face up to her past; she’s ready to go back.

But Emma’s unannounced return causes more problems than she could have foreseen. The people she knew and loved aren’t ready to forget, let alone forgive. And the one person she wants to reconnect with the most, her mother, can’t remember who she is.

Just as Emma starts to rebuild trust, an uncovered family secret and a shocking past crime threaten her newly forged future…

Sometimes simply saying sorry isn’t enough.

Perfect for readers of Ruth Hogan or Amanda Prowse, this is an extraordinary and unforgettable novel about running away from yourself – and finding a way back.

The rather open-ended conclusion was a little disappointing – probably because I’d been expecting happy-ever-after – but, it does, at least, offer the opportunity for a sequel that follows Emma on the next stage of her journey.

Ultimately, and despite the darkness of some of the subject matter, this is a hopeful rather than a deeply depressing story.

Review by Sue Featherstone.

Available to buy on Amazon.

About Samantha Tonge:

Sam Tonge - Canelo (002)Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and her passion, second to spending time with her husband and children, is writing.

She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris.

She has travelled widely and when not writing passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee.

Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines and in 2013,  landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins.

In 2014, her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award.

The following year, her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.

Follow Samantha Tonge on Twitter and Facebook and read about her personal experience with addiction here.