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Reviewed by Courtnee Turner Hoyle for Readers' Favorite
J. Martain's Forgetting the Lost follows a six-year-old girl, starting in 1939 and through the 1940s. Madeline is a unique child, but no one seems to realize her full potential until she meets Lucy. With Madeline's help, Lucy finds "lost" children and puts to right certain wrongs in the neighborhood. Lucy is present for all the pivotal points in Madeline's young life, helping her deal with uncomfortable truths and heartbreak, even when she doesn't appreciate his efforts. The deep-rooted views of the South are addressed without verbalizing them directly to paint a picture of the era and location appropriately, and the reader learns that the people in the community despised or feared the narrator for her abilities. Martain closes the book with a twist and makes room for a sequel.
J. Martain knows how to weave a Southern gothic, supernatural story! Readers must piece information together based on the perspective of a six-year-old girl with abilities that are both a blessing and a curse, and many circumstances become clearer as Madeline's awareness grows. Heaven and hell are mentioned, and I felt as though the narrator had the two battling within her. Even though Madeline believes he's a fallen angel, Lucy neither confirms nor denies his true identity, deepening the mystery around his sudden appearance. Almost like an invisible friend, he guides her through more difficult moments in her life and influences others' behavior to make Madeline's situation a little more bearable. The story flows well, and you don't realize how much you've read until something startles you. Forgetting the Lost is a great selection for readers who enjoy supernatural Southern fiction.