The Forgotten Ones is the newest novel from bestselling women’s fiction author Steena Holmes and what a story it is. It is a new psychological thriller that will have readers wanting to call in sick from work to finish reading it in one sitting. It is a story that reads as if it actually happened in real life. It is a dark mystery where readers will believe they have figured it out, but then will be caught off guard by unpredictable twists and turns. For anyone looking for a good book that will keep them guessing while also keeping them on the edge of their seat, The Forgotten Ones is most certainly that next read. Holmes has created a beautifully suspense story that if readers put it down, they will most likely pick it up again moments later due to her captivating storytelling and graceful writing style.
David, an old man filled with regrets, is on his deathbed. He holds a dark secret that has tormented him for years and wishes to share it with someone before he passes; however, his wife is dead, his daughter wants nothing to do with him, and no one else knows that he is at death’s door. Desperate, he makes one last effort and reaches out to the granddaughter he has never known. Elle, a young woman who grew up in a home of fairy tales, silence, and secrets, receives a letter from the grandfather she never met and whom she believed had died years ago. He wishes to tell her a story of his own: about her grandmother, her mother, and two strangers who came to their home in 1956… and never left. As his story unfolds and as others tell her not to believe what he says, Elle must decide for herself if what her grandfather says is the truth or if it is just another fairy tale.
To make a suspense psychological thriller seem believable, an author must be mindful of not only the mystery that needs to unravel as the story goes along, but of their characters, as well. Characters play a huge role in books such as these for they set the stage on how the reader should feel: scared, worried, unsure, hopeful, etc. Holmes has most certainly succeeded as she does not rely heavily on descriptive detail, but rather on the dialog exchanged between characters and the emotions and inner thoughts each character experiences. These features can be found in each of her few main characters, developing each of them beautifully as the novel progresses.
Take the female lead, Elle. Holmes did an incredible job with the emotional roller coaster ride Elle must endure and made her seem so real that other women may be able to relate to her. She feels uncertainty because she doesn’t know if her grandfather is telling her the truth of her family’s past. She feels frustrated due to the uncertainty and the secrets that seem to keep hiding the truth just beyond her reach. Yet, she also feels hopeful that once she gets the answers she’s seeking, she will be able to quell her own fears and anxieties and live her own life peacefully. The other main characters endure similar emotions and struggles as Elle does, making all of them very realistic and relatable.
Holmes’ storytelling is intricately woven to the point where it will keep readers guessing and, even if readers believe they have solved the dark mystery, she will throw another twist that will make readers second-guess themselves. But this story is not just about thrills and lies and secrets. Holmes has also inserted many excellent messages for readers to consider in their own lives. Family, for one, is a big focus in The Forgotten Ones. “Home meant love and security and family” (Holmes – Loc 1076). This is but one of many references to family Holmes stresses in her novel and it ties in very well to her story as a whole. No matter what happens in life, through the good, the bad, the wonderful, and the horrible, the thing that one can truly count on to be there in the end is family. Even during bad times, if something terrible has happened in the past, it only hurts someone if they allow it to. This provides another excellent message from the author to not bury bad things in the past, but to understand and learn from them.
Yet one of the most dominating messages within The Forgotten Ones is the power of stories. Even in this day and age where everyone is too busy with technology and social media or reading short blurbs of news and articles, stories are EVERYTHING. Since the beginning of the human race, people have told and shared stories again and again and, no matter how old or young someone may be, everyone yearns for stories. Elle and David in Holmes’ novel are no different. “Like a little kid being offered a jar full of his favorite candy, it’s everything I can do to keep the excitement from showing on my face. I love stories. Love telling them. Love reading them. Love hearing them. I have a feeling my granddaughter is the same” (Holmes – Loc 781). Fairy tales play a large role within the story, for Elle’s mother wished her to grow up knowing what magic felt like. All stories, whether they are fact or fiction, give that sense of magic to any who wish to see and experience it, and all stories hold a grain of truth that can be found somewhere within the words. That magic can be found even in the darkest of tales and that grain of truth is what Elle must uncover in her grandfather’s story.
Holmes’ newest psychological thriller The Forgotten Ones is set for release on April 1st of this year. Readers will not be in for a horrifying ride that will outright scare them, but rather a suspenseful one that will leave them shaken and make them think and question as they read. It is a story where stories can hold both truths and lies. It is a mystery that remains unpredictable throughout its entirety. It is a story that is near impossible to put down until its conclusion. Anyone who is looking for the next good book to read should allow the talented Holmes to tell them a story: to weave the magic only stories can share and to allow them to find the grain of truth within the words before time runs out.