Author Clare Whitfield
The Gone and the Forgotten

The Gone and the Forgotten

Now available in paperback

Prue has grown up around secrets: her gran’s stern silence, her mother’s teary breakdowns. But now, in the aftermath of her mum’s latest ‘episode’, she’s decided its time for the truth.

She wants to know why her mum can’t cope. But, most of all, she wants to know who her dad is. Sent to spend the summer with her aunt in Shetland, Prue starts digging. But once she pulls on the loose threads holding her family together, she risks unravelling them all…

The Gone and the Forgotten is a darkly gripping, psychologically astute thriller about the secrets that bind family together.

Published by Head of Zeus

“What a beautiful, absorbing, emotional book… A stunning read.”
—Louise Beech

“An exceptional book! The perfect combination of a coming-of-age story with a crime novel.”
—NetGalley Review

“A creepy and compelling read… practically oozes atmosphere.”
—The Shelf of Unread Books Blog


In a café Prue took out the card and a pen with fluff on the tip from the bowels of Ruth’s handbag. She hesitated over the blank page; the words saying Get Well Soon somehow seemed sarcastic.

‘What should I say?’ she asked Ruth.

‘Christ. Erm… hope you are feeling better? You were right, Ruth’s a complete cow, can’t wait to come home.’

‘You’re not a cow, not all of the time.’

‘Well, thanks, I appreciate it,’ she said, sipping a glass of white wine.

‘Do you ever miss home, I mean London? Or your old life?’

Ruth looked confused. ‘Oh gosh. Sometimes, perhaps a little. But it wasn’t working out for me. I had some awful jobs, relegated to processing invoices and taking minutes for smug boys in sports jackets.’

‘You had an amazing career.’

‘I did, and then what happened? I was binned off. There are four distinct stages to a woman’s career, Prue, but you will only learn this once you’ve been churned through each level like mincemeat. Stage one is the whippersnapper. You’ve got thighs smooth as tinned hotdogs, the wide-eyed stare of Bambi, you unfortunately still believe in the good guys and unwittingly make yourself available for date-rapes and minor sexual assaults. Stage two is the ingenue, a bit older and wiser and knows who gets handsy after a few. You earn more than your boyfriend and still do all the housework. Stage three: feisty totty, you’re now smart and experienced, but struggle to get recognition because when you do win, it can only ever be low hanging fruit. You get hired by the creepy dads on the board as one for the spank bank. Stage four: you are at peak earning capacity, weighed down with HR hand grenades and kamikaze projects no man will go near. Developing visible signs of wear and tear. Gaining weight. Adrenal fatigue. You open the fridge door for wine before you take your coat off. Your old lazy boyfriend is now your lazy husband and, guess what, now he earns more than you.

Everyone finds you a hostile threat—even other women—because when you’re a minority in the corporate world it’s like Highlander—that film with Sean Connery where he plays a Spaniard with a Scottish accent—there can be only one.’