Title: Forget Me Not
Author: Allison Whitmore
Genre: Historical Fiction
Theodora “Teddi” Donovan and Calvin Wynne have always hated each other. They didn’t have a choice after Teddi’s bootlegger father killed Calvin’s and left them both orphaned. The scandal has fueled gossip in quiet, quaint Brookhurst, New York, for over a decade. When a friendship develops between them as teenagers, they are ridiculed and shunned by the strict society that dictates life in their town. As they grow older, friendship turns into love, and Teddi and Calvin have to choose between their future and the scepter of their past. Spanning continents and decades, Forget Me Not is a coming-of-age story about truth, self-reliance, and the freeing power of love.
As soon as Teddi saw the postman from her perch in the attic, she rushed through the house and out to the mailbox. She was glad Gertrude was the only one home. The maid would be too occupied with preparing six o’clock dinner to admonish her for running in the house. Teddi’s grandmother watched her all too carefully. Though Teddi was sixteen, her grandmother treated her as if she was a small girl with muddy hands and messy hair. She was used to it. She figured it was best to keep the peace and do what she was told. It wasn’t that hard. Take music lessons. Keep up with her studies. Attend church on Sundays and important social gatherings. All of her grandmother’s rules, though miserable to endure, were reasonable. Except one regarding a certain person she loved—Liza Donovan.
Teddi pulled down the silver flap and took out a small stack of white envelopes. She shuffled through them. “It’s here!”
“Hi, Teddi! You’re looking very pretty today,” Ben said, heading up the walk of his house. Teddi waved her hand at him. He was practicing being polite to her like his mother had been training him to do with girls lately.
“Thanks, Ben! You look handsome, too,” she replied, stuffing the rest of the envelopes back into the mailbox for her grandmother to retrieve when she came home from tea, then went back to the attic. Teddi settled onto the soft decorative pillows she had strewn across the floor. The return address read: Liza Donovan, Paris, France.
June 23rd, 1938
Everyday something new happens here. Last night, Mac and I sang at Chez Bricktop. Well, he sang and played the piano, and I pretty much sat beside him chiming in every few notes. It was only for fun at first. We were a little bit tipsy. But you won’t believe this! The owner, an American woman everyone here calls Bricktop, I think because her hair is so red, hired Mac as a permanent musician! I love it here more and more everyday. I really wish that you could come, but it’s better for you at home. This life is too fast for you, but I do miss you, kid. I hope I can see you again very soon. Until then, don’t forget to write. These little notes are the best part of my week. Write back soon.
Somehow Teddi doubted that Liza longed for her letters as much as she did hers, but it was nice to hear. Liza was always very pleasant when she wrote to her, never bringing up any memory of the past. Teddi had once asked her why she and Mac left, and Liza told her that if she didn’t already know she would soon find out. In a small way, Liza was like her grandmother. They both were intent on dreaming the past away: Liza through her life abroad, her grandmother through a need to perfect her youngest grandchild.
Allison Whitmore started her first novel, Forget Me Not, one icy morning in her dorm room in Southampton, NY. After many years of teaching high school English, she came back to the novel to rewrite it. Allison comes from a family who loves history and enjoyed immersing herself in the research that brought Teddi and Calvin’s world to life. She lives in her hometown, Los Angeles, California. You can find her on Twitter @alli_whitmore and her website: allisonwhitmore.com.
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