Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Half Forgotten Song” as Want to Read:
A Half Forgotten Song
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt* *Different edition

A Half Forgotten Song

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,693 Ratings  ·  246 Reviews
A spellbinding tale about the power of love, the danger of obsession, and the unfaithful nature of memory. A Half Forgotten Song is by turns haunting, heartbreaking and joyous.

1937. In a village on the Dorset coast, fourteen-year-old Mitzy Hatcher has endured a wild and lonely upbringing, until the arrival of renowned artist Charles Aubrey-along with his exotic mistress an
Paperback, 496 pages
Published May 28th 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Half Forgotten Song, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Half Forgotten Song

The Nightingale by Kristin HannahThe Forgotten Garden by Kate MortonThe House at Riverton by Kate MortonThe Secret Keeper by Kate MortonThe Lake House by Kate Morton
If You Like THE WIFE'S TALE...
30th out of 88 books — 5 voters
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra ClareThe Elite by Kiera CassChampion by Marie LuFangirl by Rainbow RowellLet the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
Best book covers of 2013
254th out of 260 books — 564 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
I am not quite sure how to rate this book and I'm not sure how to review it either. It is a well-written book, and the narrator in the audio version is quite good. I can appreciate the handiwork, and the way the mystery is spun, but I really did not like the book at all. The book is full of despicable and unlikable characters. Firstly there is Dimity. She is supposed to be driven by love and is depicted as a simple, poor girl from the countryside. She was half-interesting at first, but as the st ...more
Aug 11, 2012 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ooh, there's lots of you out there that are just going to love this one - Katherine Webb just gets better and better. I still feel a little bereft at leaving Mitzy's story behind, a wonderful story of her obsessional love for artist Charles Aubrey and the extremes it drives her to. Zach and Hannah's modern story is equally strong, and the narrative moves backwards and forwards in time quite seamlessly with none of that wrenching away that sometimes happens in dual time stories, with the threads ...more
There's a really good story in this book, but it's hidden under a heap of unnecessary padding.

In the late 1930s, artist Charles Aubrey and his mistress and daughters holiday in Dorset for the summer. Long-since neglected by her mother, local teenager Mitzy befriends the girls and is flattered when Charles makes a series of sketches of her. Unsurprisingly she develops a crush on him and is bereft when the family leave. They return the following year, and over the next two summers Mitzy's crush tu
Apr 14, 2013 Barb rated it did not like it
This is the third novel I've read by Katherine Webb. I really enjoyed 'The Unseen' which was new last year. The characters Webb created in that novel were life-like and engaging, and I felt invested in finding out what happened to them because I liked them. I also thought the story was interesting and the writing very good. If you are interested in reading a novel by Katherine Webb I would recommend it.

Unfortunately 'A Half Forgotten Song' was full of half-formed unlikeable and less than sympath
Jun 13, 2013 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
This book completely wrecked me, as only a great book can do. As I finished the last page, I felt the tears on my face. It was just so heartbreakingly well written. If anyone who has read it is interested, I would LOVE to discuss some things with them. There are so many words in my head! I need to share thoughts and feelings. OH THE FEELINGS.

On another note:

Mitzy is introduced as a sheltered 14 year old country girl with a lonely upbringing, devoid of any real human connections to show her love
Ashley Daviau
Apr 19, 2016 Ashley Daviau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised by how good this book was! I expected it to be a predictable family mystery with some romance thrown in but it was so much more than that! Told in both the past and present, this story was a wild ride filled with twists and turns that continuously surprised me! I thoroughly enjoyed this story with all its mysteries and secrets. And the ending was just perfect!
Lydia Presley
May 03, 2013 Lydia Presley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, gothic, literary, 2013
Finally! My faith in Katherine Webb has finally paid off. When I received an advance copy of A Half Forgotten Song I wondered if this would be the one, the book to finally push me past that "meh" feeling I always get at the end of Webb's novels and it pushed me... and then some.

I love a good, dark, gothic, love-lost story. The setting in A Half Forgotten Song immediately set the pace for the tale: a rotting cottage on a cliff in the windy, cloudy coastal area of England. The characters: a wrecke
Dale Harcombe
Three and a half stars. While I enjoyed this story in some ways, I felt it got lost at times among unnecessary wordage. I found myself skipping bits of description. The story concerns the artist Charles Aubrey, his Moroccan mistress and their two children Delphine and Elodie when they come for a holiday to the village of Blacknowle in Dorset. In the same town lives Dimity, otherwise known as Mitzy. Abused by her mother, with a father who is absent and rejected by most of her peers, she is a prim ...more
Jun 26, 2013 Tonya rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-reads
Katherine Webb never fails to entertain me and I love each of her books. But with an author like that, do you ever get anxious, wondering if this will be the book that might break that spell they have over you?

No worries! This one was over the moon for me! I loved Mitzy to pieces!! At first, I always despise going back and forth trying to figure out who is talking and frankly what year we are in! I loved Mitzi! I couldn't get enough of her.

Her younger self, I cried. Literally. Her mom, ugh. Cra
Jul 14, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't a novel that caught me right away; the prose felt languid and dreamlike in the beginning, in keeping with the slow-to-change pacing of daily life in the seaside community in Dorset where it's set. After the first hundred pages or so, though, I found myself caught in its web and put it down only with difficulty. A Half Forgotten Song tells two intertwining stories spaced over 70 years apart, and the seamless transitions heighten the sense that the past still exerts a strong hold on th ...more
Paula Sealey
Jul 29, 2015 Paula Sealey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Zach is writing a book on late artist Charles Aubrey, and when his research takes him to the Dorset village that Charles used to holiday at with his family, he meets Mitzy, a reclusive local living in a rundown cottage who has a remarkable story to tell about herself and Charles. Living with ghosts from her past, Mitzy gradually begins to reveal details of her life growing up, with some shocking revelations that I didn't anticipate.

Although the book is a little overlong, it still managed to grip
It has been a long time since I read a book that could go on my favourites list, let alone my all time favourites. I had been craving this kind of read, so was very pleased to finally find it. The synopsis and cover really drew me in, and I was prepared to set aside the fact that I wasn't over whelmed by Katherine Webb's other novel: The Misbegotten, but knew from this that her writing style was beautiful and that she was one to do her research and really know what she writes about. Well, I am g ...more
Jun 15, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally heard about Katherine Webb when I was looking for authors similar to Kate Morton. I read and enjoyed her first novel, The Legacy, so reading this one was a no brainer for me. I was so thrilled to win a review copy from LibraryThing.

I’m going to start things off a bit differently for this review. I have to mention this cover at the start. It is beautiful and perfectly captures the feeling of the story. I smiled each time I saw this book on my nightstand.

Okay, anyone who had read even
Stephanie Ward
4.5 Stars

'A Half-Forgotten Song' is a work of literary fiction that chronicles the life of Mitzy Hatcher during the summer of 1937 when renowned artist Charles Aubrey brings his daughters and his mistress to the small town that Mitzy lives in with her family. That summer and the following three summers, will forever change Mitzy's life, along with the lives of those who were involved in Aubrey's life. Scandal turns to obsession, secrets, heartache, and love.

Webb did an impeccable job with her no
Jan 02, 2014 MissSusie rated it it was amazing
Dimity/Mitzy is an unreliable narrator but I don’t think it is in a mean spirited way, I believe it is her story completely from her point of view, even though that view is skewed, compared to how other people remember it. She never knew any kindness in this world so of course she would fall in love with the first person that showed it to her.

The back and forth in time worked very well, as Zach tries to find out the truth about artist Charles Aubrey but what he finds in Mitzy is not what he expe
Nov 06, 2013 Sherene rated it liked it
This book was an entertaining read. I say entertaining because the book drew me in and kept my attention. I didn't feel that there were unnecessary tangential anecdotes and therefore chapters that were skippable. I was able to read the book in a day or so. Any book that I'm unable to put down or put down and run back to is a good one.

Yet...I wasn't able to give it more than three stars. On paper it seems to check off all the right boxes: fast-paced, historical-mystery, well-written prose, tormen
Oct 31, 2013 Jazmine rated it really liked it
Well, where do I begin with this? I was pleasantly surprised about this book, that I enjoyed it. It has become clear to me that I mainly enjoy historical fiction written by a female author with a female lead character. Therefore, it is not surprising that many of my favourite stories have these things in common, and they are all getting muddled up in my head now.

The story was told from two different angles. My favourite, the memories of Dimity Hatcher, who is now an old lady reliving her childh
Katherine Webb has made a name for herself with her charming, Gothic novels that have a very rustic, nostalgic feel to them. In A Half Forgotten Song, she tries to replicate this and ultimately ends up failing. The otherworldly, Gothic element is there but too easily and too quickly explained, and therefore loses any impact almost from the very beginning. That pastoral and sentimental component is also forced, as it is not so much a hint but an actual setting. Half of the novel is told in flashb ...more
Aug 14, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I have started to write these reviews for myself - more to remember ... but it's also hard to write a summery and not give away the story.
So -- this is about a famous artist named Charles Aubrey in the 30s who spends his summers in a small coastal village in England. He draws women and women love him. When he first arrives with his mistress and two daughters, the local girl Mitzy is completely enamored. Charles starts to draw Mitzy, and Mitzy falls in love with Charles. Howeve
JoAnne Pulcino

Katherine Webb

This is an excellent book following a young woman’s single minded devotion and obsession into her older years. Again, as in other books some editing would have made it even better.

In 1937 in a small village on the Dorset coast, renowned artist, Charles Aubrey spends three summers, and meets fourteen year old Mitzy Hatcher who becomes his muse. Mitzy’s love for Charles grows from innocence to obsession, from childish infatuation to something more dangerous.

Holly Weiss
Jul 25, 2014 Holly Weiss rated it it was amazing
Set on the Dorset coast of England in a tiny village, the story revolves around Dimity, the main character, and her fascination with visiting artist, Charles Aubrey. Her life becomes entangled with his family and Dimity and Aubrey develop an unusual relationship. The tale is reluctantly told by an elderly Dimity, who relates her story to an author who visits her town needing a fresh angle on his biography of Aubrey.

Skillfully plotted, the suspense is built through mystery slowly revealed. Dimity
P.G. Glynn
Jan 05, 2013 P.G. Glynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author was new to me when I found her book. I was drawn to it partly because it's set in Dorset - where I once lived - and partly because I felt the title to be very evocative. Beneath the title are the words 'The ghosts of the past have jealous hearts' - again, a draw for me!

I haven't quite finished the book yet, but am now over half-way through and am enjoying it more and more. The reason I've given it 'only' four stars is that during the first half I was for some reason in no hurry to pi
Aug 27, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a HUGE Katherine Webb fan. So much so that i pre-ordered this book months before it was released without even having read the blurb.
I don't know if i just wasn't in the right frame of mind for this book, but i found it painfully slow. The characters didn't grow on me as much as the characters in The Legacy and The Unseen did.

The story with Zach and Hannah did nothing for me, and if I hadn't been reading this book on the Kindle, I could easily have found myself skipping pages.

I did, howeve
Jaime Hudson
Jun 10, 2013 Jaime Hudson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway-wins
**Goodreads Giveaway Win**

Upon opening this book and reading the first few pages I wasn't sure it was going to suit me. But with all books I kept going and found myself as much a part of this book as the characters. Taken on a journey and wanting to ... NO ... NEEDING to know if my assumptions were correct. NEEDING to know who did what and who was who. Gripping and extremely well written (and I have an uncorrected proof where I found only two typing errors) by Webb. I think I could read some mor
Rosie M.
Sep 29, 2014 Rosie M. rated it it was amazing

Zach è uno scrittore in crisi, uno scrittore che si trova a un crocevia decisionale: la sua vita è un mero fallimento, professionalmente e intimamente, e non sa più come affrontare le vicissitudini che lo assillano. È alle prese con la stesura di un romanzo dedicato alla figura misteriosa di Charles Aubrey, un famigerato pittore di metà ‘900, di cui lui è anche estimatore. Nonostante ciò Zach non
Sep 23, 2014 Niki rated it it was amazing
Couldn't put this one down! Loved, loved loved the suspense and ongoing mystery. I was happy with how it was all wrapped up in the end too - I thought it was very satisfying. Dimity was such an odd character - you spent half the time really empathizing with her and the other half of the time shouting at her in your head, but I suppose that leads us to the point of the book - that the way we interpret things isn't always the way they truly are in reality, and that the human memory is very malleab ...more
Ryan G
May 04, 2014 Ryan G rated it liked it
Katherine Webb is one of those authors that I first discovered in 2011 when I read her first book, The Legacy. It didn't take me long to fall in love with the author's extraordinary talent of weaving past and present into one cohesive narrative. With most other authors, I find myself getting distracted when a book shifts to the past, mainly because these shifts are only there to further the "current" storyline, so they aren't as well developed. That's not the case with The Legacy or with A Half ...more
Jun 27, 2015 Evelina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Mycket gripande och vackert skriven bok!Jag gillar den engelska landsbygden som miljö. Detta var min första bekantskap med författaren och jag läser gärna mer av henne. Länk till recensionen:
Ingrid Fasquelle
Jun 05, 2015 Ingrid Fasquelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Née en 1977, Katherine Webb a étudié l’histoire à l’université de Durham. Après avoir vécu à Londres et à Venise et occupé des emplois aussi divers que serveuse, jeune fille au pair, aide-bibliothécaire, relieuse ou femme de chambre, elle vit aujourd’hui dans un cottage, dans la campagne du Berkshire. Après son premier roman, L’Héritage (2011 ; Pocket, 2013), traduit dans une vingtaine de langues et en tête des listes de best-sellers en Angleterre et un peu partout en Europe, et Pressentiments ( ...more
Nov 01, 2014 Kamilla rated it it was amazing
Katherine Webb is a beautiful storyteller. This is a story of love turning into dangerous obsession and memories that's been altered by time.

It is about a young girl's wish for a better life, her wish to belong, to be accepted, to be loved. It is about her infatuation with a family, their life, and with the much older man, the father. It is about wanting security and protection, acceptance, inclusion and love. Her misguided attempts to belong, to escape her own poor existance lead her to a dang
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
***Spoiler!*** For Those who have read the book... 1 11 Mar 20, 2014 12:27PM  
  • A Gathering Storm
  • The Lavender Garden
  • Ember Island
  • The Winter Folly
  • In Her Shadow
  • That Autumn in Edinburgh
  • The Cornish House
  • The Divine Spark: A Graham Hancock Reader
  • The Postcard
  • Bristol House
  • Love, Again: The Wisdom of Unexpected Romance
  • The Girl in the Photograph
  • Netherwood
  • Stranded
  • The Moment
  • After Everything
  • The Last Summer
  • Gillespie and I
I was born in Kent in 1977 and grew up in rural Hampshire before reading History at Durham University. History remains a passion, and I write character-led mystery dramas, often with historical settings. I love to explore the way past events can reverberate in the present, and I'm fascinated by the vast grey areas in human morality and behaviour.

My debut novel 'The Legacy' was voted viewers' choic
More about Katherine Webb...

Share This Book