Title: We Came Here to Forget
Author: Andrea Dunlop
Published: July 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction
Summary: Katie Cleary is fleeing the United States and heading for respite in Buenos Aires, Argentina after a career-ending injuring and a media frenzy surrounding a family event. Once expected to win Olympic Gold in downhill skiing, Katie is having to redefine her life and take up a new identity and friends in the South American city. She falls in with an eccentric crowd of mostly ex-pats and a few locals who are bound together by the elusive and charming Gianluca’s Tango studio. Katie might not be skiing anymore, but her obsession to be the best leaks out when she becomes taken with the exotic dance and the scene with which it comes. Although her life is exciting and decidedly different from her prior life, ghosts of her long-time friends and family can’t seem to escape her. This exciting story flips from past to present as the mysterious circumstances of what led Katie to run from life as she knew it is revealed.
Why I Recommend: This book was a master of keeping this donkey trucking along with the promise of a dangling carrot. Right away you meet Katie on her way to Buenos Aires running away from some event that has ruined her career and whipped the media into a frenzy. From page one I am curious as to what happened and this need to know coupled with Katie’s intriguing story kept me engaged throughout the entirety of this novel. The pace of the novel was just right and Dunlop revealed little by little the circumstances that led to Katie’s demise. I did not predict the exact situation until moments before it was fully revealed. I will say that the event is horrific and was hard to read, but Dunlop doesn’t dwell too much on the details once you understand what happened allowing you to recover from its reveal. Saying anything more would definitely tip into spoiler territory, so I will just say that like any good author, there is purpose in every word and every story of the book.
The book isn’t all shrouded in mystery, there is plenty of other story elements to sink your teeth into as well. Along the journey to the climax of this novel, Dunlop creates a strong cast of characters and does a solid job developing not only the central characters but also those sitting on the fringes. In Argentina, Katie falls into a crowd of mainly ex-pats, who you learn are all themselves running from something, too. In other words, they all “Came Here to Forget,” as the title promises. She also meets a local, the mysterious Gianluca, who owns a tango studio and piques Katie’s interest with his mystique and playboy tendencies. This group of eclectic characters she is surrounded by in Argentina are a stark contrast to the place Katie is coming from. Flashes of her past are shared throughout the book starting with her younger days when she first learns to ski. She becomes close to two brothers of a neighboring family who are also making strides in the skiing world, Luke and Blair, and they bond over this shared pursuit. They become her best friends, particularly Luke, and as they grow up and sharpen their skiing skills they begin to rise to fame in their sport together. Naturally, a love element begins to introduce itself into this friendship and a bit of a love triangle develops. The flashbacks give you much needed history on Katie and her relationships, but they also serve to inform you on what’s to come.
We Came Here to Forget was a very satisfying read. It had romance, mystery, family drama, exotic locations, and interesting characters. By the time I hit the middle of the book I was putting my life on hold until I finished the book. I would definitely classify this book as a page-turner and it even has me wondering if I might like more books that offer some suspense/mystery elements to it – something I rarely seek in books. I have big plans for checking out Dunlop’s other works after having such a good time reading her most recent book!