Blog Tour – Extract
Good morning and welcome to my stop on the I Remember You blog tour hosted by Titan Books. I have an extract to share with you which is the first chapter of the book. It is an eerie and dark beginning but it sets the tone of the book perfectly and I can’t wait to read more. Check out the extract and see what you think. Also make sure to check out all the other stops on this tour for reviews, guest posts, Q&As and more.
27.03.2018 / Titan Books / Thriller-Suspense / Paperback / 480pp / 978-1785657481
Target Audience: Readers who love thrills, suspense, dark writing and supernatural themes.
About I Remember You
Heike Lerner has a charmed life. A stay-at-home mother married to a prominent psychiatrist, it’s a far cry from the damaged child she used to be. But her world is shaken when her four-year-old son befriends a little girl at a nearby lake, who vanishes under the water. And when Heike dives in after her, there’s no sign of a body.
Desperate to discover what happened to the child, Heike seeks out Leo Dolan, a television writer exploring the paranormal, but finds herself caught between her controlling husband and the intense Dolan. Then her son disappears, and Heike’s husband was the last to see him alive…
I Remember You Extract
The dog was standing at the edge of the clearing, hackles
raised. It lowered its head, watching her, but made no
warning sound. Heike crouched where she had fallen, on her
hands and knees, maybe twenty-five feet away. For a moment
she froze, fear dropping low into her body. She was used to
worrying about soldiers, but there were no people with the
animal. It might have been a wolf.
No: a wolf would not be so purely black, and its fur would
be matted. She sat up, moving slowly. Twenty-five feet is
nothing for a dog.
She’d come hard through the bush, her arms and hands
badly scratched, and her throat raw from calling out, despite
the danger of being heard. Her braids loose and tangled.
When a root caught her foot, she’d pitched forward, slamming
her shoulder against a stump. She hadn’t slept for two days,
her bones heavy with exhaustion.
A village dog. She’d been calling for Lena and the dog had
heard her. The dog would have heard her coming from some
distance. It took a step toward her now, still in the shelter of
It was early, the sky a light violet. Heike gathered her
basket from where it had fallen and rose to her feet. She had
no kind of bribe, no treat to throw. The bread she’d been
carrying was long gone; the girls living on what they could
find, chewing on hay to fool their stomachs, pinching the
snow off evergreen boughs and rolling it around on their
They’d avoided the road, instead making sure to stay halfhidden
in the bushes. Two sisters hunting for berries at the edge
of a wood. Winter berries. Relentless as little sparrows. Heike
told stories to distract them as they walked: the one about a
raven that turns into a golden bird, the one about the twelve
sisters who disappear every night, dancing through the soles of
their shoes by morning. Lena repeating the words as she fell
asleep at night, Once there was a king who had twelve daughters, each
more beautiful than the other.
In the end, they’d wandered too far west. At night, Heike
could hear the echo of artillery fire rolling out through the
hills, and she’d led Lena deeper and deeper into the woods.
Now she began to skirt the edge of the little clearing,
keeping her eyes low. Where the hill descended into valley
the earth broke up, rocky, and the trees changed. She gripped
a branch for balance, the new buds rough against her skin.
Down farther, there was a stream. She could hear it running
freely, the water no longer trapped under ice. It was late March,
colder in the hills than it would have been at home. She knelt
by the stream to drink, and her knees got wet, her skirt soaking
On the other side, the forest rose up into another, steeper
incline. There was a sound behind her and when she looked,
she saw the dog again, maybe fifteen feet away this time. Its
eyes on her, unwavering. Whether it was following her or
hunting her, Heike could not be sure.
In Dresden, her mother had often taken them walking by the
river at night. The stars came out, one by one, and they rushed
to count them where they reflected in the Elbe, a game between
the three of them. This seemed so long ago now that Heike no
longer knew if it was a real memory or only another story she
told, a way to pass the time on the long days of walking.
On a clear night, the river glittered like heaven.
This is what she thought of now, kneeling by the stream. If
her mother was looking at the water when the firebombs came
down, the whole city sparkling, the river rising up to meet a
massive star. Like a shower of suns.
Heike got to her feet. She had on a pair of leather boots and
a man’s overcoat, her father’s, and a kerchief around her hair;
Lena had worn boys’ pants and shoes with laces. They didn’t
have any gloves, and sometimes she’d taken off the kerchief
and wrapped it around Lena’s hands like a muff. The tips of
her own fingers had suffered, bleaching white now at the touch
of any cold. The blood remembers: what’s lost to the mind is
not lost to the body.
She clambered up the bank. She’d been circling the same
area since Lena was lost—five days, or six, she’d lost count—
widening out the search a little each time. At night, she sat
with her back against a tree and worked to keep her eyes open.
Just in case, in case Lena was somewhere close by, crying. She
didn’t want to call out in the nighttime, a girl’s voice, lonely in
Once she thought she saw a fawn, was sure of its shape and
the spindles of its legs, but when she looked again it had only
been a fallen branch. She followed any noise, any rustle or
crack of twigs, but the sounds never led her to Lena.
Alone now in the woods, she found herself checking again
and again for the dog. Anxious. Willing it to be another trick of
exhaustion, a vision she could blink away—but it was always
there, close by, its paws soundless on the hard ground.
On the other side of the rise there was no forest. The dog
let out a low growl, starting and stopping; it was right beside
her now, huge and panting. Taller at the shoulder than Heike’s
waist. There was a trace smell of smoke in the air.
She could tell what had happened by the emptiness, by all
the paper in the field. What remained after the fighting: every
soldier with a picture of his sweetheart in his breast pocket,
every soldier with a photograph of his mother. And when they
were hit, pfoum! Like confetti.
There were no people left. There were not even bodies. Just
bits of paper.
At the edge of the village she found a barn, its door not
fixed, the latch batting lightly in the breeze. Heike went inside,
shutting the door behind her. If the soldiers had already been
through here, then it was a safe place. She hoped that the dog,
shut outside, would tire of waiting for her. She climbed up into
a corner hayloft and closed her eyes.
Halfway through the night, she heard them come through
again, but it was only a handful of voices and some random
gunfire, a cleanup crew or a few angry survivors, the dog
outside kicking up a fuss and waking her. She pulled herself
into a darker corner, holding her breath.
In the morning it was very quiet. She came out from where
she was hiding. There was a girl on the barn floor: the soldiers
had dragged her in during the night.
When they’d first come in, she hadn’t moved, hidden away
up near the rafters. But the sound of the girl’s voice, crying
out, made her sick with fear, and Heike crawled to the edge of
the loft to see her face, to at least make sure it wasn’t Lena—it
wasn’t, this girl tall and lean with copper-coloured hair, sixteen
years old at least. Heike pulled her hood tighter, deep in the
back corner of the hayloft. Her arms wrapped around her
head so that she wouldn’t hear.
Now the soldiers were gone, but the girl was still there. She
was dead, her skirt wrapped tight around her face.
Heike looked at her from the hayloft, lying there with her
neck at an odd angle, and then climbed down the ladder to
the ground. There was no sound from outside. The girl’s body
scared her in its stillness, her skin almost blue. She had no boots
on, only a pair of house slippers, worn through, not meant for
the snow and the outdoors. Once there was a king who had twelve
daughters, each more beautiful than the other. Heike left the barn as
she’d found it, with the door half open.
It had turned cold again in the night: outside, the ground
was white with frost. On the other side of the barn she found
the dog, shot in the belly. Its fur was so dark you couldn’t see
the wounds, but blood soaked the earth around it.
She crossed back the way she’d come, faster now, her feet
sliding as she ran, and all the paper, paper everywhere. Tissuethin
pages from tiny bibles, melting into the ridge of snow. A
sound from behind her, the low creak of a half-dead tree moving
sharply in the wind. She turned back to look. Beside the dog’s
body stood a single crow, its black eye shining.
About Elisabeth de Mariaffi
Elisabeth de Mariaffi is the critically acclaimed author of the Giller-nominated How to Get Along with Women and The Devil You Know. The Devil You Know is currently in development for television with New Metric Media. It was shortlisted for the prestigious Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and longlisted for the 2017 International DUBLIN Literary Award. Born and raised in Toronto, she now makes her home in St. John’s, Newfoundland.