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Forgive Me    by Amanda Eyre Ward order for
Forgive Me
by Amanda Eyre Ward
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2008 (2007)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Sally Selvadurai

Nadine Morgan is one of the best investigative reporters, unafraid to venture into war zones, putting her life in danger to get the story. Nadine's luck runs out in Mexico, when she is beaten to within an inch of her life, then flown back to Wood's Hole and the company of her somewhat estranged father and his new wife.

But even before her convalescence is over Nadine is pulled inexorably back to South Africa, her memories of that country stirred up by an article about Jason Irving, an American teacher who was stoned to death during the height of the anti-apartheid struggle. Nadine feels that she has to return to this country where she lost so much, partly to confront her own demons but also to witness Nelson Mandela's Truth and Reconciliation Hearings, particularly the one for the young co-accused in Irving's death.

Throughout the novel there is an interweaving of past and present, although the present is not quite where we expected it to be! Nadine, who always thought she was totally self-sufficient, a person who could not live without the thrill of the chase, the adrenaline rush that comes in the face of extreme danger, gradually realizes that perhaps this is not what she wants out of life - perhaps she craves love and companionship more than empty hotel rooms and anonymous bars filled with disillusioned reporters.

Amanda Eyre Ward's novel engages the reader as she expertly details the problems that faced the black population of South Africa under the apartheid system, and also the difficulties encountered as the old political system was swept away and a new era ushered in. We are drawn into the lives of the characters that she portrays so well, grieving with them as they come to terms with the lot that fate has dealt, and marvelling that they can move on.

There are no real perpetrators in this story; each individual is a victim on some level but in the end each manages to move forward to a brighter future. Well done to Amanda Eyre Ward Forgive Me was an inspired novel.

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