Reeling from a brutal attack that leaves her flatmate dead and her badly injured, Lisa Fulbrook flees to the countryside to recuperate. With only vague memories of the event, she isolates herself from her friends and family, content to spend her days wandering the hills with her dog, Riley.
However, Lisa is soon plagued, not only by vivid flashbacks, but questions too: how did their assailant know them? Why were they attacked? And what really happened that night?
As she desperately tries to piece together the memories, Lisa realises that there’s another truth still hidden to her, a truth she can’t escape from. A truth that may have been right in front of her all along.
Dare To Remember is a slow burn but it needs to be. It would be unrealistic to expect Lisa to suddenly recall the trauma she has pushed down so deeply into her sub-conscious. Susanna Beard skilfully takes us with Lisa on her journey, as the clouds over her memory begin to break, revealing the truth, as splinters of light, ever so slowly. During this time, Lisa gradually learns to live again, helped by her new dog, Riley. He originally belonged to Lisa’s neighbour, John but he’s too old to take care of him properly. Lisa and John strike up a friendship and it isn’t long before she’s running a few errands for him. The other friend that Lisa makes is Jessica. She’s also new to the area. On the surface, Jessica seems to have it all – a nice house, a loving husband and she doesn’t have to work. In reality though, Jessica is lonely and abused by her husband. These two friendships help to bring down the wall that Lisa has built around herself but also opens up her memories.
Dare To Remember is an intriguing read as it explores the effects of trauma and looks at how restorative justice can help both victim and offender. The narrative is both uplifting and disquieting as Lisa pushes against her past attack, and dares not just to remember, but to hope as well. An impressive debut for Susanna Beard.
About the author
Susanna Beard was part of the 2015 Faber Academy Anthology. She studied Linguistics before embarking on a career in PR and marketing. She has helped a multitude of clients promote everything from tourist detinations to Californian wine to cuddly toys. This is her first novel.
You can follow Susanna on Twitter @SusannaBeard25 and you can buy the book here.