Rose Black’s Gothic The Unforgetting


First review of 2020 and we start with a bang and not a whimper with Rose Black’s highly readable The Unforgetting. Set in Victorian England, the book pays more than a nod to classic Gothic literature.

At its centre is protagonist Lily Bell who dreams of a sparkling career on the London stage. When her father sells her to a professor of ghosts, Lily believes her dreams are about to be realised, but the truth is much darker and far more sinister. The professor wants to create the ultimate illusion and Lily is integral to it, her identity, sense of self and life soon eradicated in his quest to create his ‘ghost’.

From the very first pages, Black’s novel grabs our attention, drawing us into a beautifully evoked, sensory world. Through her well-woven, well-paced story, Black explores several important themes – identity, the position of women in a society in which they are disempowered, the Victorian fascination with death and spirituality, among them.

The Unforgetting is a well-written novel that holds our interest right until the very end. And that’s what good writing is all about, isn’t it? Engaging our imaginations, carrying us away from our realities, as we watch, enthralled, as the drama unfolds. The Unforgetting certainly does all that.

Highly recommended.


Rose Black | The Unforgetting | 9 January 2020 | Orion | hardback, ebook and audio | £14.99

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Acknowledgements: Many thanks to lovely Anne Cater and to the publisher for sending a proof and the jacket image. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved.

Also of interest:  ‘Rowan Coleman’s nod to Gothic literature‘; ‘Cynthia Jefferies’ rollicking great adventure’ ; ‘The Story Keeper: Anna Mazzoli’s Gothic tale’‘; ‘We should all be feminists’; ‘The not so invisible woman: I50 in their own words‘; ‘The word for freedom: standing up for women everywhere’; ‘IWM Classics: Trial by Battle‘; ‘IWM Classics: From the City From the Plough‘;  ‘Only Remembered edited by Michael Morpurgo’; ‘Karl Tearney’s healing a “torn mind”‘; ‘Mary Monro’s Stranger in My Heart‘; ‘’Lisa Ko’s The Leavers’; ‘20 books this summer challenge‘; How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original Penguin Ten’; ‘Book covers we love – Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday’.

This review is © 2020 by The Literary Shed. All rights reserved. All opinions are our own. We welcome your feedback and comments. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please do contact us to request permission. Thank you so much.



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