All Is Not Forgotten - Wendy Walker


It would require an entirely new novel to recount the journey that resulted in the writing and publication of All is Not Forgotten. While the actual writing time was about ten weeks, it also took me seventeen years, four other novels, two screenplays, one legal career, three children, and enough angst to fill Dr. Forrester’s calendar for many years. Writing can be hard. Knowing what to write is even harder. I feel blessed, humbled, and grateful that I found my way to telling this story.

To that end, I begin my acknowledgments with my agent, Wendy Sherman, for knowing what I should write, and for her patience while I got my head around a new genre. Her abilities to read a writer and know the market are truly spectacular. I owe many thanks as well to my editor and publisher, Jennifer Enderlin, for her unwavering enthusiasm, and to Lisa Senz, Dori Weintraub, and the entire team at St. Martin’s Press for their extraordinary efforts to publish this book with precision, but also with genuine passion for the project. It has been such a joy for me to work with so many talented professionals. On the West Coast, my gratitude goes out to my film rights agent, Michelle Weiner at CAA, for knowing we would be in such good hands with Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea at Pacific Standard Films, and Warner Brothers. And for placing the book with some of the finest publishers quite literally around the globe, thank you to foreign rights agent Jenny Meyer.

While I accept full credit for all liberties taken in my description of memory science and psychology, I am indebted to Dr. Felicia Rozek, Ph.D., for providing brilliant insight into the psychological dynamics of the characters and events, and to Dr. Efrat Ginot, Ph.D., and author of The Neuropsychology of the Unconscious: Integrating Brain and Mind in Psychotherapy, for educating me on the science behind memory loss, recovery, and reconsolidation.

On a personal note, I owe many, many thanks to my fellow writers, who courageously stare down blank pages every day and still managed to read my work, assuage my doubts, and lend a hand—Jane Green, Beatriz Williams, Jamie Beck, John Lavitt, and Mari Passananti; my trusted readers and “plot testers,” who balanced honesty with encouragement—Valerie Rosenberg, Joan Gray, Diane Powis, and Cynthia Badan; my beloved friends who support me unconditionally; my patient partner, Hugh Hall; and my courageous, complicated, and beautiful family, who believe in hard work and big dreams.

Chapter One

He followed her through the woods behind the house. The ground there was littered with winter debris, dead leaves and twigs that had fallen over the past six months and decayed beneath a blanket of snow. She may have heard him approach. She may have turned and seen him wearing the black wool mask whose fibers were found beneath her nails. As she fell to her knees, what was left of the brittle twigs snapped like old bones and scraped her bare skin. Her face and chest pressed hard into the ground, likely with the outside of his forearm, she would have felt the mist from the sprinklers blowing off the lawn not twenty feet away. Her hair was wet when they found her.

When she was a younger girl, she would chase the sprinklers at her own house, trying to catch them on a hot summer afternoon, or dodge them on a crisp spring evening. Her baby brother would then chase her, buck naked with his bulging belly and flailing arms that were not quite able to coordinate with his little legs. Sometimes their dog would join