I Searched For This Book For Over 20 Years

Imagine searching for something for twenty-odd years and never finding it. Imagine blogging about it twelve years ago and still no leads. Imagine randomly mentioning it on a Facebook group in 2021 and someone saying "I can help"...

I Searched For This Book For Over 20 Years - Past Forgetting by Alexandra Thorne
In the early 1990s I signed up to a book club. You would receive a selection of books each month and you could choose to keep them and pay for them, or send them back in a pre-paid envelope. One of the bundles I bought was three 'chick lit' style novels and the storylines gave me a bit of light relief when the kids were in bed.

I always kept books. I love to dip in and out of old favourites and used some as starting points for my creative writing. Nowadays, my Kindle is always nearby and I never have to worry about storage or books getting lost or damaged. Which is where this story starts...

One of the books disappeard in a house-move. It had become a bit battered and dog-eared but, to me, that is the sign of a much-loved tome. I didn't think about replacing it until a few years later when I really did have to trim down my collection of books so was going through them all and re-reading or repurchasing for my Kindle. I found the other two books from the bundle ("Hungry Women" and "Wicked Women" both by Laramie Dunaway) but had a sudden yearning to read the missing book. However, I couldn't remember the name of it.

So, in 2009, I blogged about it, hoping that my crusade would be answered by one of my readers, or that someone else searching for the book would stumble upon my description of the story and be able to help out. I shared as many details as I could about the storyline, the picture on the cover, the approximate year of publication. The only things I couldn't remember were the title, the author and any character names!! Typical, huh?

Fast forward to 2021 and I noticed that a few members of Clare Mackintosh's book club Facebook group had called upon the help of others to source books from random information so I thought I'd give it a go. I can't hurt to tap into the hive mind of almost 8,000 people, can it? I copied some of my original blog post, added a bit of additional information and hit "SHARE".

The group members jumped at the challenge, offering Google search results and possible routes to place the query elsewhere on the internet but all of the suggestions were dead-ends where I'd already found myself over the years. Clare shared the post on her main Facebook page which has 32,000 followers and again, I was inundated with screenshots of book covers and more title possibilities but nothing matched my memory of this book. I knew that the book was out there somewhere but none of these were right.  

Two hours later, this happened...

Facebook conversation on Clare Mackintosh's book club group
JANE : I think I bought the same set of 3 way back... I can even picture the cover ... I am a book hoarder ... I’m going to head up to my attic & see if I can see it! 
ME : OMG GET UP THERE NOW!! I have almost every "favourite" book I've ever owned from my childhood through to now, including my original copy of "Forever" by Judy Blume. I still can't believe this one got lost in a house move because I guard my books WITH MY LIFE normally! 
JANE : Is this it? *shares a picture of the front and the back of the book
JANE :  
ME : and the description from Amazon "When Jade Howard buys a 1920s dress, she is plunged into a life beyond her control and thrown together with the man of her wildest dreams and desires." is perfect.

JANE : pm me your address I will post it to you

It's called Past Forgetting and it is written by Alexandra Thorne.

The book arrived yesterday and I'm already halfway through it.  In the meantime, I also had a private message from a friend who told me that she'd been following the thread in the group, had found a copy on Ebay, bought it and was going to send it to me. It was received a few days later with a lovely little note and a care package of some coffee and hot chocolate to drink whilst reading the book. 

OK, so the front cover wasn't exactly as I described and some of the finer details had been foggy but the story is exactly as I remember it and I'm enjoying devouring it once again.

The kindness of people who wanted to help and the two people who have sent me the book (yes, I now have two copies - more about that in a minute) has just blown me away.  I know people love a challenge and almost everyone commenting on the posts wanted to read it so they were really eager to know the title (maybe I should work in marketing or something?). Since the book has been found, loads of people have messaged me to tell me they have bought a copy and it's at the top of their "to be read" pile.  I really want to get in touch with the author and tell her how much I love her book, and what an effect this quest has had on so many people but apparently she is now 86 years old, she lives in Pennsylvania and obviously doesn't use social media.  If you know her, please pass on my good wishes and my gratitude for writing such a memorable book that has now brought a whole community together.

So, now to the fact that I've got two copies of this book.  I'm going to pass one on to someone who really wants to read it and hopefully they can pass it on after they've finished it.  I'm going to include a small notebook with it so any future reader can write down their thoughts about the book and how the got hold of it and maybe another story will be told. 

I Searched For This Book For Over 20 Years : Typecast //Past Forgetting by Alexandra Thorne