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Friendship & Secrets #2

Forgetting Ophelia

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#1 Amazon Best-Selling Author

Ever-hopeful Lia thinks she’ll be with handsome, brooding Jake forever. Until one day he completely blindsides her and makes her question everything she knows… Lia Townsend is expecting a ring and a trip to Hawaii for her fifth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband, Jake, walks out on her. Out of the blue. Devastated, Lia vows to win back Jake and the perfect life they shared.

Because it was perfect, wasn’t it?

But as Lia searches for the truth behind Jake’s departure, the cracks in the shiny varnish begin to show. And once she uncovers his secret, all that she once knew and believed in crumbles.

Lia’s eccentric mother, her best friend, and two vastly different men each pull her in new directions, and Lia attempts to push past the pain and start anew.

But Jake isn’t gone for good. When an accident rocks the lives of their best friends, Lia and Jake are thrown together. Will Lia choose to salvage her old life with the man who broke her heart – or was everything they shared an illusion?

Interview with the Author
Where did you get the idea for Forgetting Ophelia?
I have a literal “where” answer to this question! The spark of the idea came to me while I was on the 405 freeway stuck in traffic. I was letting my mind wander and thought about what would happen if a woman who imagined her marriage was perfect suddenly had the rug ripped out from under her.

What will fans of women’s fiction like about Forgetting Ophelia, and what makes the novel stand out in the genre?
I believe a lot of women in their thirties find themselves ignoring their own wishes and desires because they’re busy making others happy: their partners, children, parents, friends. This story is about Lia embracing what she wants and needs, what’s best for her for the first time in her life. The ending presents a launching pad for Lia rather than a neat conclusion.

In the story, Lia’s husband leaves her out of the blue. Do you think Lia really never saw it coming?
I think Lia’s in deep denial at the start of this book and only realizes after the fact that she and Jake aren’t as perfect as she always told herself they were. The Plan is flawed from the beginning, but she never asks herself if she is happy until everything is taken from her.

This book is part of a series?
Each book can be read as a standalone, but all have ties to the world of friendship and secrets rooted in Conejo Springs:
Book 1: Guest List
Book 2: Letters for Scarlet
Book 3: Forgetting Ophelia

What do you enjoy reading?
Primarily, I love women's fiction, literary fiction, and memoir. But any time spent reading is a good time!

Thanks for reading!

283 pages, Kindle Edition

Published October 8, 2018

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About the author

Julie C. Gardner

10 books87 followers
Julie C. Gardner is a former English teacher and lapsed marathon runner who traded in the classroom for a writing nook. Now she rarely changes out of her pajamas. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children and three dogs.

To find out more about Julie and her upcoming books, visit JulieCGardner.com or follow her on Twitter (@juliecgardner), Instagram (@juliecgardner), and her Facebook Author Page (Julie C. Gardner).

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 66 reviews
Profile Image for Minxy Melissa.
2,411 reviews67 followers
August 14, 2023
Forgetting Ophelia was wonderful to read because Lia was a phoenix who rose from the ashes of her shattered dreams a stronger woman who was able to, for the first time in her life, make choices that were truly based on what she wanted for who she was now. Reading this story was emotionally hard because of the level of heartbreak and resulting indecision that Lia experienced, I felt for this character tremendously. Also, there was a clear demonstration of the importance of communication in relationships. Much heartbreak could have been avoided if Jake had just spoken to Lia about his discoveries and fears. I am not a fan of Jake’s character but at the same time he was not a bad guy, he was just doing what he thought was best but went about everything the wrong way. Overall, Forgetting Ophelia was a moving story.

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Author, Julie C. Gardner. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
Profile Image for Robin Bielman.
Author 32 books1,562 followers
October 8, 2018
I loved this emotional story about love, loss, friendship, and a woman's journey to truly finding herself. Julie's writing pulls out all the feels and her characters remain with me long after I've finished the book.
Profile Image for Jena Henry.
Author 3 books331 followers
August 24, 2018
Do you like rollercoasters- that feeling of being strapped in a runaway car, screaming down hills and swerving around sharp corners? I do, too! This women’s fiction novel is an exhilarating shocker for the first few chapters; something wild and unexpected appears around every curve.

Thirty-five year old Lia, short for Ophelia, tells us her story in the first person. When we first meet her, she sounds almost manic as she prepares herself for a special trip with her husband, to celebrate their five-year anniversary. Everything has to be extra-special. She needs new lingerie and a wax. Maybe some plumping lip gloss?

Lia follows The Plan that her husband, Jake has created. They didn’t have a honeymoon when they married, because The Plan was to do it on their fifth anniversary. Lia and Jake do life differently.

But what if The Plan isn’t your plan? Or really isn’t a plan?

Chapter by chapter we learn that nothing is really as it seems. What a fantastic way to start a book. What’s going on? Is Jake a psycho?

Then Lia becomes much more introspective as she looks for answers. She begins to realize that Jake controlled the plans and that she changed herself to fit in his life. We get to know Lia’s best friend Maren, and Lia’s mother Regina, and several new men in Lia’s life.

Regina was my favorite character. Yes, she is a “Glass Castle” kind of mother, but she provides an interesting contrast to Lia’s timidity. Shakespeare’s Ophelia did not have a mother to guide her and so it is for Lia. Artistic Regina is not a trustworthy model for Lia.

Author Gardner is know for the deft way she creates her characters, and for her thoughtful exploration of what it means to be a modern woman. The author succeeds once again in showing us the complexities of a woman’s feelings and desires. “Loving someone is easy. Living for them is hard.”

I especially enjoyed the beginning of the book. Then, as Lia tries to find herself, I felt the story lost some intensity and focus. However, I am sure that readers will find this to be an entertaining and entrancing read. Recommend.

Thanks to Author Julie C. Gardner for an ARC. This is my honest review.
Profile Image for booksofallkinds.
1,013 reviews159 followers
October 8, 2018
FORGETTING OPHELIA by Julie C. Gardner is a compelling and almost hypnotic tale of love, friendship, and being forced to confront who you really are when you least expect it.

Lia is happily married to Jake, living by the beach, and happily following 'The Plan' that Jake had come up with when they first got together. But when Jake pulls the rug out from under her and tells her on their anniversary that he is leaving her, Lia is crushed and completely in shock. Just what is happening and why is he destroying everything they have built together? With secrets and surprises coming to the surface, Lia tries to make sense of it all and as new friendships come into her life and she spends time with her own mother, she begins to realise that in keeping Jake happy she had forgotten about herself and what she really wants from her life. But will she want to salvage the relationship that she has lost or is something fresh waiting for her on the horizon?

Emotional and riveting from the very beginning, I was instantly sucked into Lia's life until the very end of the book. Lia is a character that appears to have it all together but when everything changes we see the real Lia emerge as she begins to learn about herself almost for the first time. There is plenty of ups and downs, drama and tears, but this story is also inspiring and empowering as the characters who you have come to care for, find their inner strength to go after what they want and need in life.

I didn't know quite what to expect from FORGETTING OPHELIA by Julie C. Gardner but this went above and beyond my hopes and I highly recommend this story to all contemporary fiction fans.

*I voluntarily reviewed this book from the author
Profile Image for Patty .
1,045 reviews7 followers
October 1, 2018
Lia had everything. A husband, friends, a bungalow on the beach, and a great job. Then the night of her anniversary and birthday it all comes crashing down. After her husband leaves her, she is left to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Devastated and alone, Lia begins her long and tough road to healing. This road is full of potholes and many obstacles. But it is a road she must travel alone.

The characters of this story were well developed and deep. No character had a small part. Each with their own trials and tribulations. Lia really does suffer much tragedy throughout, but she is strong. She starts out not really understanding who she is or how to be who she wants to be.

This is the first book by Julie C. Gardner that I have read and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed.  She wrote this book beautifully, capturing deep and true feelings that will reach out and grab you.  It grabbed me from the very first chapter. I could not put it down. I really love a good book with such depth to the story. And this book had it in spades. It was an emotional roller coaster ride. A story of pain, healing and self discovery. Lia's journey makes for a truly inspiring and amazing read.
Profile Image for Janina Rossiter.
Author 16 books89 followers
August 16, 2018
A total addiction. I couldn’t put this book down! Absolutely loved it. It’s a very sweet story about Lia (Ophelia), a woman in her thirties, who has to figure out what she really wants in life. Would love to read a sequel. Well written and lovely characters. Highly recommended. I received a review copy for my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Margo.
1,969 reviews70 followers
October 18, 2020
This author can really string words together. The pace was a little leisurely, but the author was true to her heroine's journey.
Profile Image for Laura Furuta.
2,047 reviews25 followers
November 11, 2018
Forgetting Ophelia: A Novel
By: Julie C, Gardner
5 out of 5 stars

The story Forgetting Ophelia: A Novel by Julie C. Gardner is an amazing book that I loved reading. It hooked me in from the very beginning and I didn’t want to put it down until I had read the final page. It tells a story about heartbreak and betrayal however it also has parts where there is hope. I loved the character of Lia. She is a woman who has a handsome husband and a teaching job that she excels at. She is a beautiful woman who is looking forward to the honeymoon that she and Jake have plans for. Then in one evening, her world is shattered by Jake walking out. This story is a very emotional one and my emotions went up and down all the time. I found Lia to be a character that I could empathize with, what she feels and goes through. While a lot of the pain and raw emotions that she experiences has to do with being left by Jake, she also struggles with other issues. With each chapter that I read, I found myself loving Lia’s character more and more. I wanted her to find happiness. How will Lia find happiness? Is there a chance that she will take Jake back, or will she move on with her life? Read this book to find out. There are many other additional characters that you are introduced to in this story. They range from good friends with Lia, family, and some that she meets along her journey. I enjoyed the interactions and conversations between them and Lia. This is a book that I got so caught up in that I was surprised when I found myself at the end. It is an amazing story with wonderful characters. Highly recommended reading.
Profile Image for Angela Amman.
Author 18 books24 followers
October 8, 2018
Sometimes the secrets we tell ourselves are the ones that hurt us the most. While all couples make plans, Lia and Jake have The Plan, a guideline for how their marriage will work. When Jake’s interpretation of a major anniversary leaves Lia reeling, she needs to figure out for herself how sound The Plan really was—and if she even cares to put it all back together again.

Women in so many stages of their lives will be able to relate to Lia as she struggles to put her life back together after Jake leaves her without warning. Part of what makes the struggle so poignant is watching Lia figure out how she wants her life to look after putting her wishes aside for so long. She’s living in a house near the water, though she doesn’t swim. She teaches middle school students, though she feels a pull toward a different profession. Even with her best friend, she’s not completely sure how to disentangle the relationship from the one she and Jake had with Maren and Maren’s husband.

Lia moves forward and takes steps back, especially when she finds herself reeling for a second time after an accident forces her back into her mother’s home. Readers see the many ways Lia pieced together her perfect life, shedding her own comforts and opinions for the people she loves. As we watch her work toward the future, we wonder which of those pieces will remain as she becomes more confident in her choices—and herself.
Profile Image for Shell Roush.
436 reviews13 followers
October 8, 2018
I was sent an advanced copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.

I have long read Julie C Gardner, since her blogger days. She’s always had such a way with words, such a flow to her stories that makes me want to keep reading.

Her latest is my favorite from her. Her characters are very real: flawed in the way all people are, but not to the point of being exaggerated- just real folks.

I haven’t read a story like this in a while. Books about 35 year old women tend to follow certain stereotypes of dramatic love stories or major trauma- entertaining to read but not relatable. Gardner’s story, however, manages to be both entertaining and relatable, with a good dose of heart. I felt for Lia and was rooting for her.

Definitely one you want to read!
Profile Image for SOMDReigel.
924 reviews
September 18, 2018
“You were so determined to make things work with us, you became a different person.”
Forgetting Ophelia showcases the downfall of losing yourself to become the perfect person you think your spouse wants/needs. The complex family relationships and friendships are all brilliantly portrayed. It is well written with varied, engaging characters and dialogue. Life threw Lia a curveball, she took time to recover, starts to find herself, and takes the reins of her life back. I felt the ending was perfect as Lia’s future has hope and she continues to grow. This is the first novel I’ve read by Julie Gardner and I’m eager to read her past books.
ARC provided by the author
Reviewed by Comfy Chair Books/Lisa Reigel (September 18, 2018)
295 reviews1 follower
May 25, 2019
Tightly woven stories of overcoming losses to emerge stronger and more grounded

Forgetting Ophelia is the first book I've read by Julie Gardner, but it won't be my last.

I ignored the family movie and ready for 3 hours straight when I was in the "good part" .... that didn't seem to end. This book has it all. Rich, realistic characters, a solid storyline full of family, friends, self reflection, and those all too human emotions of betrayal, fidelity, honesty, and learning to be true to yourself.

Ophelia (Lia) is a complex character, who seems to be all things to all people. She's a good daughter to a mother who doesn't deserve her. A good wife to Jake. A good friend to Maren, and an engaging teacher to her students. Yet, amid all of this, Lia is leading a less than full life. She comes to realize that what has been foundational to her life, when faced with multiple losses, including her marriage and her home, may not be all that she thought it was.

Amid the emotional turmoil, Lia meets kind men who make her question whether she really was happy as they come to grips with fighting back after losses they each suffer. Declan, who is overcoming losses of his own, teaches Lia about being true to oneself and honest with what one wants. Caleb teaches Lia that not everything has to be spoken and that a quiet life might be the fullest of them all.

Against all of this, Lia spends time with her mother, hoping that she will finally realize what she gave up when Lia was a child.

As Lia starts to pick up the pieces of her life and forge a new normal, she starts to realize that she put everyone else ahead of herself.

Forgetting Ophelia is a tightly woven book that contains interconnected stories of overcoming losses to emerge stronger and more grounded. This book is realistically emotional. The writing is gripping and will keep you engaged. The characters, both main and supporting, compliment each other and are slices of every day Americana ... these are the people that many of us have in our orbit, at a macro perspective.

I started reading this book expecting a fluffy romance. What a surprise! This was much more than I expected. I have immediately put this on my ReRead shelf and recommended it to my book club. This is my first book by Ms. Gardner, but it sure won't be my last.

Strong recommendation! Download immediately, call in sick, stay in bed, and be prepared to let the laundry, housework, and errands go!

I received a ARC. This is my honest review. March 24, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
Profile Image for E.A..
951 reviews27 followers
November 11, 2018
Forgetting Ophelia: A Novel (Friendship & Secrets #2) by Julie C. Gardner was a okay, emotional rollercoaster of a read, that had a sweet yet opened ended ending, that was, for me, satisfying.

My first read by this author, and for this series, though this is a series the books can be read as standalones. For my first time with this author I was impressed with the excellent writing and the nicely timed flashback scenes. It gave you a feel for how Jake and Lia grew and how you can see where things start to, not so much go wrong, but when they started wrong.

I will say that this story though started out with a bang, it did have this slow feeling to it, and frankly at times there was some flatness in those slow times, making it feel like some scenes dragged on. I will say, almost all the problems that arose in this story could have been solved with a simple conversation. But I guess when you were raised the way Lia was, you can understand why she can't seem to find the right words, or that running is better than figuring things out.

As much as I wanted to hate Jake, he was more of a idiot and a moron, then malicious. Running wasn't the answer, choosing for Lia wasn't the answer, but at the same time, Lia just let things happen, never making a decision, and letting others take over her choices. So I can see where Jake was coming from.

There is so much I can say about this book, from it's multi layer characters, or to it's impressing message that communication is key, to learning that it isn't too late to improve yourself, or too late to rise up from the ashes and start a new. This book is a true journey on how to get through those exploding times, when it feels like the universe is out to get you. So please take my super high recommendation that you will get sucked into this life journey, of how Lia picked herself up, and forced her own path, towards her own life.

Happy Reading

-E.A. Walsh
Profile Image for Angela.
4,723 reviews58 followers
November 27, 2018
4 Stars

Forgetting Ophelia: A Novel, is the second book in the Friendships & Secrets Series by Julie C. Gardner. It is a women’s fiction story- full of love, loss, denial, secrets, truth, new beginnings, finding yourself, choices, friendship, and emotion. This is my first book by Ms. Gardner, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect- but after finishing it I am happy that I took a chance and grabbed it when it showed up on my feed. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more of Ms. Gardner’s work in future.
Jake and Lia lived a perfect life… didn’t they? Surely she’d know if it wasn’t, right? So, imagine her shock when instead of embarking on a trip to Hawaii for their 5th wedding anniversary, Jake up and leaves her. What happened to burst their perfect bubble? What can she do to win him back?
But as the story unfolds, Lia begins to see that things weren’t as perfect as she’d hoped they were. Secrets are revealed, which bring her house of cards tumbling down around her. Starting over wasn’t part of the ‘plan’, but here she is trying to do exactly that. Add her Zany mother, her bestie, and two new guys into this mix, and the story gets interesting.
The story was a little bit slow to get going, but after a few chapters the paced picked up and the story took flight. The characters were all fully realised individuals, and the growth and development was really good- as the Lia we see at the end of the book is quite different form the Lia we met in the beginning.
Lia really lost her own identity over the years, taking on Jake's expectations and ideas as her own. She also suffered from denial, in a big way. So, this story really has a large component of losing one’s self, realization, and ‘self-(re)discovery’.
Ms. Gardner weaves a great story, and I look forward to seeing what she does next.

Thank-you, Ms. Gardner!
321 reviews3 followers
March 12, 2019
Julie C. Gardner, ‘Forgetting Ophelia’.

As a Hidden Gem ARC reader I received this book for free. And promised an honest review. Here it is.

English isn’t my first language. Sorry for errors.

Rating: 5 stars (of 5).

In general: Lia discovers herself after an unsexpected break-up.

The main character is Lia Townsend or Lia Lark. Lia is the the daughter of Regina Lark, an old hippie. Father unknown. Lia likes her mother but cannot have a normal conversation with her mother for she has completely other values in life and changes constantly the reality as it suits her.
For the eye of the world Lia is married to Jake Townsend, a gorgeous looking pilot from a rich family. Lia adores him and does her utmost to please him. On her 35th birthday she expects a proposal from Jake for a real marriage but he tells her that he recently learned that he had a daughter of about 10 years old from a short affair in his youth. And he wants to live with his daughter and perhaps her mother, so he’ll leave Lia. Lia is completely broken.
And then the author, Julie C. Gardner, describes with a lot of feeling and insight the manner in which Lia step by step discovers what she really wants in her life.
It’s not only about her relationship with Jake and other men. But also a lot of other things: In what kind of house she wants to live, how to react on her best friends Maren and Danny who are looking for a balance between helping Lia but at the same time Jake, who’s their best friend too. And does Lia really like her job as a teacher? And how to get a better relationship with her mother and other family and in-laws? So many aspects of rebuilding a life are treated by the author. It results in an interesting book with an original plot that - for me - was a pleasure to read.

R. Huiszoon.
Profile Image for Charlotte Lynn.
1,920 reviews43 followers
October 8, 2018
Ophelia, or Lia, is telling the reader her story. The story of her 35th birthday and 5th wedding anniversary coming up and the excitement of the engagement ring and trip her husband is going to give her. Then everything changed, nothing went as planned, her life blew up in front of her eyes. Everything and everyone she thought she knew she now doubted. She doubted every decision she made, every person she came in contact with, and her entire life. I was never a Lia fan. She was indecisive, she ran from her problems, and made excuses for people who were important to her but let her down over and over again. I struggled to connect with her and really care about her story.

This is the story of Lia finding herself. But I am not sure she every knew what she was looking for. By the end I wasn’t even sure that she really found herself. She found what she wanted to find, she changed her course in life, and she was doing things for herself instead of for others. But…I believe she is still a work in progress.

By reading this review you may thing I didn’t like the book. That’s where I am struggling. I liked the book and I looked forward to reading it. I wanted to know what Lia would discover about herself and if she would find her happiness. I just didn’t really like Lia.
384 reviews3 followers
December 13, 2018
Forgetting Ophelia is a wonderful novel by Julie C. Gardner. It tells the story of Lia, a young woman whose life is turned upside down by a series of sudden and unexpected events.
I really liked that, although there is romance in the book, the focus is much more on a variety of relationships including friendships and parent/child relationships. With a fairly large cast of characters, we get so many different relationships explored. It’s fascinating, and often moving.
Forgetting Ophelia is about change. As she rebuilds her life, Lia decides what to keep and what to let go of, how to stay the same and how to move on. This makes for a very uplifting read!
As a teacher, I particularly enjoyed reading about how great Lia is with her pupils! Although most of the story takes place away from the classroom, her support and care for each of her pupils contributes to making her a loveable character.
Gardner makes it easy for the reader to keep up with the large cast of characters by bringing them up in relation to their context and reminding us of how they relate to Lia. I found the characters really interesting and varied. I particularly liked Caleb, who is very observant and only speaks when he feels he has something worth saying.
For me, this is a five star read. I’d recommend it to fans of writers such as Cecelia Ahern and anyone who feels trapped in their life.
Profile Image for Karyn Taylor.
733 reviews2 followers
December 14, 2018
Forgetting Ophelia is the 2nd book in the Friendships and Secrets series by Julie C. Gardner. Each book in the series is a stand-alone. This was my first time reading any of this author’s work and I was pleasantly surprised by this book.
The book begins on Ophelia’s (Lia) birthday and 5th wedding anniversary. What was expected to be a night of celebrating turned into a nightmare for Lia as her beloved husband Jake announced that he was leaving her. The rest of the book takes us on Lia’s journey as she comes to terms with the end of her relationship and tries to find herself. I have to say that I really loved Lia’s character. The reader really gets into Lia’s head and you can’t help but feel the heartache and pain along with her. Not only the end of her marriage but also the relationship (or non-relationship) she has with her mother Regina. So many times I really wanted to give that woman a slap. It must be said that this is one thing that I love about an author, their ability to make me really hate a character.
As Lia starts to find herself we are introduced to a couple of possible future love interests for her in Declan, the father of one her students, and Caleb, her mother’s next door neighbour. I love that the ending was quite open ended but gave you a good insight as to what the future held for Lia.
Profile Image for Liz.
1,327 reviews16 followers
November 19, 2018
My absolute favorite type of novels are the ones that make me feel as if I am living amongst the characters myself, fully immersive. ‘Forgetting Ophelia’ did just exactly that. This is one emotional roller coaster ride. I would have your tissues ready, and a cozy blanket, maybe clear your schedule for a few hours. If you are like me you won’t want to put down this amazing book until you finish the very last page.

Ophelia, or Lia, had it all. She followed the plan to get her to this moment, her fifth wedding anniversary and the honeymoon she has been anticipating. Unfortunately, that wonderful life all blows up into a disastrous nightmare for her, and suddenly she is left with a completely shattered life to put back together. It is no easy feat to do either. She will have to learn lessons the hard way and figure out who she really is, not who she thought she was.

I have not read anything by Julie C. Gardner before I picked up Forgetting Ophelia. This is the second book in the Friendships & Secrets series from her. I had absolutely zero issues reading this as a standalone, but I will read the first one because I adored this. I will also be adding her other titles to my TBR list. Thank you so much for a great read Ms. Gardner!
Profile Image for Debi.
1,060 reviews6 followers
December 7, 2018
Forgetting Ophelia: A Novel by Julie C. Gardner

5 Stars

This is my first book by this author and I completely fell in love with it. The storyline although something I hope I never have to understand aside from reading about it was awesome and the writing style had me at word one.

This had a mixture of all the feels, I smiled, I even laughed a bit here and there, it had sadness, confusion, and my favorite determination. This author took me on a journey through watching your life get totally turned upside down and everything it took to right itself again. The emotions she had Lia feeling came through loud and clear and I felt them all. Lia was an amazing character and has now been added to my list of favorites.

One thing my husband and I pride ourselves on is our communication skills and we are both believers in it being the only key to a successful marriage and if that had just been practiced in this story, well…... then there might not have been a story so I'm glad it turned out like it did. LOL

This was a fantastic book and I can't wait to see what else is available by this author and am so confused as to why I haven't read any of her books before now.

Loved It!!
141 reviews2 followers
December 14, 2018
Though the topic of this book can be viewed as sad, our heroine Lia, is one character you don’t want to miss out on. When her life implodes, she is forced to pick up the pieces and find a way to live her life again. I find this story to be inspiring. Lia gives hope to the hopeless about moving on when your life has fundamentally changed forever. Lia is a flawed woman who actually bothers to reflect on her life and choices and see where she made mistakes to learn from them, which I think takes a strength that few can match. This story, while not the happiest, still made me hopeful that some woman out there in the world will read this book and find hope in her heart when she didn’t have it. Julie C. Gardner truly wove a wonderful story and something about the way she wrote it made me love it. Bits are told in flashback sometimes while Lia is lost in her head and I thought it was beautifully told. While the ending felt very abrupt to me, it also follows the same theme of the book, that there is hope. Please read this book if you have ever felt lost or just want to read a heartfelt story. So, I give “Forgetting Ophelia” five stars!
Profile Image for Jenni Bishop.
3,368 reviews33 followers
December 14, 2018
Forgetting Ophelia: A Novel by Julie C. Gardner is an interesting story about a woman who is finding herself after her life is turned upside down. Trouble is, I am not entirely sure she knew what that looked like. It is a story about secrets and denial, loss and new beginnings and finding yourself. The story started out slow but gained momentum quickly. It was also an emotional read and I felt all of Lia’s pain and suffering, betrayal and loss, yes I needed tissues. As much as the story annoyed me at times it kept me engrossed and I had to know how it turned out. Lia and Jake had the perfect life, according to their plan, but was that plan what they both wanted? But secrets changed everything. Was it really ever the perfect life? Starting over was not in the plan. Rediscovering yourself is never easy. Taking stock of your life is daunting. Taking a good look at yourself is hard. Jake, well what can I say, he is an idiot, he chose a path that he regretted and I wanted to shake him up.  
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
273 reviews3 followers
March 10, 2019
I received a free copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

I am giving this book 3 stars, though that rating was a difficult decision. I liked the story and was fully invested in the book, but I couldn’t stand the main character. I saw no development from Lia and hated her whining and running from everything.

Her “husband” leaves her on her birthday and their 5th anniversary and it breaks her. I get it. She was destroyed and needed some time to get her life back together. But she never got it back together. She was mad at him for using her, yet she used everyone else in her life. I didn’t feel like there was any real growth from her at all.

The one quote I loved from the book, “Tears don’t mean your weak, they mean you’re strong enough to love,” was stated by the main character, yet she never applied that to herself. I’m not sure she loved anyone, which probably stems from her crap mother.

I enjoyed the book, but I wanted to scream at the main character at least 3/4 of the book.
Profile Image for Sandra Lopez.
Author 3 books317 followers
October 18, 2018
At 35, Lia has wondered if it was too late to adopt. Not that she seriously wanted kids, because she was overall satisfied with her life with Jake. Until recently, she and Jake have always been in synch, but lately it just seems that she has been second in his life. He's not following The Plan. Then, like a punch in the guy, Jake announces that he's leaving her.

Story has a slow start, then it progresses with Lia's ponderings of her recent separation and her life amidst the company of pedestrian characters. Frankly, I wasn't too taken by any of this. Between her and Jake, all I got was a barrage of memories and endless musings. I didn't feel like the story went anywhere. I mean, what was the meaning of forgetting Ophelia? I honestly anticipated for Lia to take on more of an independent role―for her to take charge of her life. Although the story was well-written and contained a poetic feel, I just wasn't too impressed by the development.
Profile Image for Katie.
2,174 reviews12 followers
November 15, 2018
Forgetting Ophelia: A Novel (Friendships & Secrets, #2)
By Julie C. Gardner
4 stars

Forgetting Ophelia is a beautifully written story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I haven’t read anything by this author previously but I really enjoyed her engaging and relaxed writing style. I really liked Lia; I connected with her straight away and felt for her as she tried to adjust to the unexpected changed in her life. I admired her strength as she began to rebuild her life. I think I kind of wanted to hate Jake for his cowardly ways and the way he treated Lia but as the story progressed I understood him a little better even if I didn’t agree with the things that he did.
The author did a great job with the emotional side of this story and I could feel what the characters were feeling. She made them realistic and likeable.
Overall I thought that this was a wonderful story, one that I would highly recommend! I look forward to reading more from this author again in the future.
Profile Image for Samantha March.
1,102 reviews286 followers
November 26, 2018
I love books that feel real. Books that feature messy lives and imperfect characters and difficult situations. Forgetting Ophelia offered all of that. Lia was such an interesting character to follow, and there were plenty of secondary characters that helped shape this story into the great read it was. I felt personally invested in the story from the beginning, and through all the twists and turns. Like I said, I love books that feel real – that don’t offer a snap your fingers and everything is solved ending, books that include a female character needing to be rescued in order to find happiness – and I love that authenticity to this book. Especially when it came to Lia’s friendships in regards to her relationship breaking off – I personally have been through something very similar, and it was spooky reading that storyline and how relatable it was. I highly recommend Forgetting Ophelia for women’s fiction fans.
I received a review copy
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