Lifelong friends Liza and Molly have grown distant since Liza moved to Chicago. One night, when Molly’s husband Daniel is away on business, they have a video chat in a bid to reconnect. After an awkward start, the conversation is flowing easily when Molly has to go check on one of her children. Liza is horrified when she sees a masked man enter her friend’s house, and panics when the screen goes dark. She calls the police, and then—unable to get Molly to answer her phone—Liza jumps in her car and drives all night to make sure she is okay, only to be turned away by an angry Molly. Confused, hurt, and angry, Liza returns home only to find more heartbreak waiting for her as she tries to figure out what happened that fateful night.
For some reason, I thought this book was a thriller when I read it, even though it’s clearly marked as women’s fiction on Netgalley. (Something I realized while preparing to write this review.) I originally rated this book at three stars, which would have been fair if it was being marketed as a thriller. Since the correct genre is women’s fiction—which puts things in a different light, story-wise—I’m bumping my rating up to four stars.
The main focus of the story is Liza and Molly’s fading friendship, as well as the strained relationship between Molly and her husband, Daniel. Molly’s life as a wife and mother created a distance with Liza, and it became greater after Liza moved away from their hometown. I felt a great deal of sympathy for both women. I understood Liza’s perspective because I’ve had dear friendships fade away, but my greatest empathy was for Molly. She came across as distinctly unlikable in the beginning, but as the story progresses it becomes evident that Molly is struggling with unidentified medical issues that have her in constant pain, which causes a rift in her marriage and makes mothering her children an often difficult for her.
The main characters—Liza, Molly, and Daniel—all face other obstacles in their lives that complicate the mending of their relationships. Issues faced by Molly and Daniel, in particular, often eclipsed the problems in their relationships… which, I suppose, illustrates how easily day-to-day life interferes in how people interact with those we care about the most.
This was an enjoyable book that I’ll have to add to my reread list, so that I can properly enjoy it without misconceptions about what genre of book I’m reading.
If you enjoy reading women’s fiction, do give this book a try!
About the Book
In her engrossing new novel, Forget You Know Me, Jessica Strawser takes readers deep into an intimate friendship between two women. When one witnesses a shocking incident that should never have been caught on camera, the secrets and lies it exposes threaten to change their lives forever.
Molly and Liza have always been close in a way that people envy. Even after Molly married Daniel, both considered Liza an honorary member of their family. But after Liza moved away, things grew more strained than anyone wanted to admit—in the friendship and the marriage.
When Daniel goes away on business, Molly and Liza plan to reconnect with a nice long video chat over wine after the kids are in bed. But when Molly leaves the room to check on a crying child, a man in a mask enters, throwing Liza into a panic—then her screen goes black.
When Liza finally reaches Molly, her reply is icy and terse, insisting everything is fine. Liza is still convinced something is wrong, that her friend is in danger. But after an all-night drive to help her ends in a brutal confrontation, Liza is sure their friendship is over—completely unaware that she’s about to have a near miss of her own. And Molly, refusing to deal with what’s happened, won’t turn to Daniel, either.
But none of them can go on pretending. Not after this.
Forget You Know Me exposes the wounds of people who’ve grown apart, against their will. Best friends, separated by miles. Spouses, hardened by neglect. A mother, isolated by pain. The man in the mask will change things for them all.
But who was he?
And will he be back?
About the Author
JESSICA STRAWSER is the editorial director of Writer’s Digest magazine and the author of Almost Missed You and Not That I Could Tell. She has written for The New York Times Modern Love, Publishers Weekly and other fine venues, and lives with her husband and two children in Cincinnati.