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The Song Remains the Same
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The Song Remains the Same

4.0 10
by Allison Winn Scotch

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A Library Journal  Selection for Best Women's Fiction of 2012

One of only two survivors of a plane crash, Nell Slattery wakes in the hospital with no memory of the horrific experience-or who she is, or was. Now she must piece together both body and mind, with the help of family and friends, who have their own agendas. She filters through photos,


A Library Journal  Selection for Best Women's Fiction of 2012

One of only two survivors of a plane crash, Nell Slattery wakes in the hospital with no memory of the horrific experience-or who she is, or was. Now she must piece together both body and mind, with the help of family and friends, who have their own agendas. She filters through photos, art, music, and stories, hoping something will jog her memory, and soon, in tiny bits and pieces, Nell starts remembering. . . .

It isn't long before she learns to question the stories presented by her mother, her sister and business partner, and her husband. In the end, she will discover that forgiving betrayals small and large will be the only true path to healing herself-and to finding happiness.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Winn Scotch (The Department of Lost & Found) sparkles in her captivating fourth novel. Nell Slattery, one of only two survivors of a jet crash, wakes up in a hospital in rural Iowa with complete amnesia, surrounded by family and friends. As they present her with pieces of her past, a question arises: who can she trust? Everyone in her life—husband Peter, mother Indira, best friend Samantha, younger sister Rory—wants her to recover, but they are all also determined to rewrite history for their own benefit. Music, which Nell learns was once a passion of hers, helps the past emerge somewhat, as does the other crash survivor and an opportunistic journalist. But as half-truths begin to explode around Nell like land mines, she comes to understand that she can only rely on—or completely trust—herself. Winn Scotch vividly illustrates the confusion, frustration, and anger of not being able to remember or trust. She particularly shines in creating secondary characters—especially Rory and Anderson—flawed but engaging. Readers will love Nell and won’t be able to put the book down until they know how much of her past she wants to bring into her future. Agent: Elizabeth Weed, Weed Literary. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Funny, poignant, and absorbing."

-J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Maine and Commencement

"I can't remember becoming so engrossed in a novel so quickly or feeling so satisfied at the end."

-Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Island

"From the first pages I was hooked. Nell is a heroine you will cheer for; and long remember after finishing the book!"

-Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada

Library Journal
Nell Slattery, one of only two survivors of an airplane crash, wakes up with amnesia from a coma. She does not remember who she is, let alone recognize her mother, sister, or husband. As Nell attempts to regain her memory, she must rely on her family for the details of her life but soon becomes frustrated when she senses they are holding back. During this process, Nell also becomes obsessed with her father, an artist with emotional problems who disappeared from her life when she was 13. The suspense builds as Nell, using the playlist of her favorite songs that her sister made for her, begins to recall her life before the accident. VERDICT Readers who appreciate women's fiction that investigates serious themes, such as Marian Keyes's novels, will enjoy Scotch's (Time of My Life) fine novel. Reading groups will find much to discuss as well. [See Prepub Alert, 10/9/11.]—Kristen Stewart, Brazoria Cty. Lib. Syst., Pearland, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Young woman who survives a devastating plane crash with her body intact—and her memory wiped clean—struggles to piece together her complicated past. Waking up in an Iowa hospital surrounded by beeping machines and people she does not know, Nell Slattery soon discovers she is a very lucky girl. She was found, along with hunky young actor Anderson Carroll, still strapped to her seat in a rural field where a passenger jet went down. She and Anderson were the only two to live. The daughter of the famous and reclusive painter Francis Slattery, Nell is told that she has a husband, Peter, and runs a Manhattan gallery with her pretty younger sister, Rory. She remembers nothing. It emerges that she and Peter were briefly separated after he had a one-nightstand with a co-worker, and she and Rory were not speaking before her fateful flight. Still, under the well-meaning ministrations of her new-agey mom, Nell returns to New York (and Peter) while ignoring the sinking feeling that she isn't hearing the whole story. Back home she is dismayed to learn from various sources that she was previously a buttoned-up control freak with a wardrobe full of neutral colors. That is a far cry from the "fabulous" person she was hoping for. She was also a promising musician, who gave it all up after her father abandoned the family in her teens. Her father's shadow looms large over Nell, and finding out more about him is part of the reason she allows a reality TV show to tell her story, against everyone's better judgment. That makes sense, since it turns out that everyone in Nell's inner circle has something to hide, and it is up to her to find the truth on her own. So she enlists Anderson, who has been self-medicating his post-crash PTSD with supermodels and booze, on a road trip to a small town that just might be the key to everything—if she can only remember where it is. Scotch (Time of My Life, 2009, etc.) crafts a plausible story, complete with a capable and prickly protagonist, that doesn't resort to any movie-of-the-week amnesia clichés. A dry-eyed modern take on healing and forgiveness.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Funny, poignant, and absorbing." —J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Maine and Commencement

"A devastating portrait of one woman's struggle to regain her memory. Allison Winn Scotch's novel The Song Remains the Same takes on fascinating emotional terrain—the decision between dredging up the past, or wiping the slate clean and starting over. I can't remember becoming so engrossed in a novel so quickly or feeling so satisfied at the end."— Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Island

"From the first pages I was hooked. Nell is a heroine you will cheer for; and long remember after finishing the book!"—Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada

"Scotch has drawn a fully three-dimensional heroine in Nell, and the story's pacing eprfectly mirrors the protagonist's increasing rate of self-discovery...With shades of Sophie Kinsella's Remember Me? and Liane Moriarty's What Alice Forgot, this novel is a breezy yet introspective examination of one woman's newfound history."—Booklist

"Winn Scotch vividly illustrates the confusion, frustration, and danger of not being able to remember or trust...Readers will love Nell and won't be able to put the book down until they know how much of her past she wants to bring into her future."—Publishers Weekly

"Scotch...crafts a plausible story, complete with a capable and prickly protagonist, that doesn't resort to any movie-of-the-week amnesia cliches. A dry-eyed, modern take on healing and forgiveness."—Kirkus Reviews

"Readers who appreciate women's fiction that investigates serious themes will enjoy Scotch's fine novel. Reading groups will find much to discuss as well."—Library Journal

Meet the Author

Allison Winn Scotch is the bestselling author of Time of My Life. A former freelance magazine writer, she has written for Glamour, Parents, and Men's Health. She lives in New York City with her husband and their two children. To learn more about Allison Winn Scotch, please visit www.allisonwinn.com.

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The Song Remains the Same 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
LizFenton More than 1 year ago
I've been a big fan of Allison's since I read TIME OF MY LIFE a few years back and fell in love with her beautiful writing. Her latest, THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME, is her best yet! This story is about Nell, one of two survivors of a terrible plane crash who wakes up without any memories of her life. As Nell tries to piece together what was really going with her family and her husband when she stepped on that plane, she finds herself questioning not only who she was, but who she wants to be in the future. Scotch does a great job of building suspense and investing us in Nell's journey-I literally could not out the book down until I read the last page! I highly recommend this book-pick up a copy TODAY!
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Posted on Romancing the Book's blog Reviewed by~JoAnne This was a contemporary novel that delved deep into the psyche of Nell, only one of 2 survivors of a plane crash where 152 others died. Nell’s family and friends along with the other survivor, an actor, and her therapist try to help Nell get her memories back since she suffered amnesia as a result of the crash. Nothing about her life seemed right as they fed her tidbits or tried to immerse her in her old life. Even the home she shared with her husband didn’t feel like hers. She was determined to become a new, better Nell, as she slowly got her memories back and not be so structured and stiff in her beliefs and actions and it takes the entire book to get her there with her making small strides periodically. Along the way more and more truths come out about her life the way she wanted it to be and the memories that began to surface as she tried to leave the past behind showing how different it really was. The anger and angst that each of the characters held inside as well as unleashed on each other was cathartic in its own way. Small memories created larger ones and Nell learned that she could only trust herself and that her life would be what she made of it and not necessarily what her mom or husband wanted for her. It was a feel good story at the end – although not really a happily ever after and it could have continued on for a few more chapters. There were a lot of emotions throughout the book and you rode the highs and lows with Nell and the others although there were a lot more lows than anything. There were vivid descriptions of the house in Virginia and the surrounding property to make you feel you were there. This book was reminiscent to me of Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan, who actually was quoted on the cover. I have not read books before by this author but will definitely give her first book, Time Of My Life, a try. Favorite Quote: “Your dreams are your dreams,” she says. “Sometimes you compromise yourself to get there.” She drops her chin just a touch, then gazes out across the landscape. “Show me someone who isn’t guilty of that, and I’ll show you someone who never dreamed in the first place.”
Lilac_Wolf More than 1 year ago
A Lilac Wolf and Stuff Review (book received from BooksparksPR) Nell gets to reflect on the question of who we are without our memories. Does it give us a chance to start over and fix parts of ourselves that were not working right? Well maybe if you are surrounded by family who care about you more than themselves. I felt her frustration that she couldn't get a straight answer out of anyone around her. And I was supper annoyed with her sister and husband...you'll have to read the story to find out why. The characters were very complex, and the story was so well written that hours disappeared as I read this. I liked Nell and her ability to roll with complete amnesia. The lady chose to change how she behaved based on what her sister and mother told her about who she was before. Then there was the actor she survived the plane crash with. He remembered the crash and had another fight on his hands - getting over the mental trauma. He said that Nell saved his life and forged an everlasting friendship with her. He stood up for her more than anyone else did. The only thing I had a hard time with was her creepy husband. I didn't like him from the beginning, and neither did she but she gave into pressure even after learning they had been separated. I mean, if you knew you were heading for divorce would you allow someone in who you couldn't remember and disliked on sight? But I gave her the benefit of the doubt, because I've never been in the situation.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
What would you do if you suddenly had an opportunity to change your life? Nell Slattery's life is about to be changed forever in a split second. When she awakens in a hospital room, one of only two survivors of a plane crash, she finds herself without any memories of just who she is, what her life has been up to this point and what has happened to her. Her first moments in the hospital have revealed to her that she is married to a man in the room she doesn't remember and her mother is there, again someone she doesn't recognize. After meeting with Anderson Carroll, a big name celebrity, she learns that she was his hero while the plane was going down. Apparently while he had too much to drink and was beginning to panic, they discussed their favorite bands and music in hopes it might take their minds off of what was going on around them. Aside from this conversation, she finds both herself and Anderson on the front cover of People magazine and sees a picture of herself that she can't remember, but mostly doesn't show her as someone she would like to know more about. While Nell learns that her husband has been having an affair with a co-worker writing music jingles, she works with Jaime Reardon, an up and coming news reporter to help her investigate her own life and hopefully begin to make some positive changes into the person she would like to become. In the novel The Song Remains the Same by Allison Winn Scotch, Nell's life is choreographed to some familiar music that ties in with chapters of her previous life throughout the book. As Nell begins to unravel her past and begins to rebuild a better future for herself, as a reader we begin to wonder what would we do if faced with similar circumstances in our own life. Would you reinvent yourself or pursue digging into a self discovery and hope you find something you like? This is just what the character of Nell does when given a second chance so to speak. Whether she gets her memory back or not, will have to wait until you, yourself, get an opportunity to read this novel. I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review. I like the character of Nell because even though she can't remember much she takes on a new role in her moving forward with a sense of courage and also one of forgiveness and she tries to find out more about her past she wasn't really interested in much before. I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jpcoggins More than 1 year ago
This was the first book of hers that I've read, but I will look at her others now.  This was a really compelling read and unique!  The characters are believable, especially the heroine.  There is a lot of depth to the story.  The underlying mystery is intriguing.  The author describes feelings, thoughts, scenery, dialogue with equal attention to detail.
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME by Allison Winn Scotch is a compelling women's fiction. When Nell Slattery wakes in the hospital with no memory of what happened,herself,her family or who she was, she must piece together her life with the help of her family and friends. But things are not what they same as each family member,friend, including her husband tell their version of the story. When she starts to remember her past she learns some things are best not to remember or is it? Long hidden secrets,and feelings come to surface along with present events. Compelling story of one women's life before and after a terrifying accident. You will need tissues. While, "The Song Remains the Same" will grip you from the first page to the last you find each family member has their own agenda. Nell,loves remembering songs, she wrote songs, as well as her father. A poignant story of past secrets,remembering the hurt and heartache,and moving forward. A must read for anyone who enjoys women's fiction,a compelling and complex story of love,heartache,and secrets. Received for an honest review from the publisher. For more information visit the author's website,Berkley Publishing Group,published by the Penguin Group and My Book Addiction and More. RATING: 4 HEAT RATING: SWEET REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction and More/My Book Addiction Reviews
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
The beginning of this book has a rather startling suggestion – Nell is one of two survivors of devastating airplane crash with multiple fatalities. When she finally comes out of a coma, she sees two people around her bed and hasn’t a clue as to who they are or why they are there. The minor shocker has do with the fact she has amnesia, not remembering a single iota of her past life. The first few pages are obviously about how she reacts to family and friends who all are out to help her by telling her all about the past. But before that really gets into full swing, Nell somehow intuits that she has a phenomenal chance here, not one most other people get in a lifetime, the chance to completely shape her own future? So what truly moves Nell? Although she was said to be a superb art dealer who has a fine eye for paintings and other artistic works that are hot sellers, what she does remain are pop, folk, and rock songs from the 60’s through the 80’s and each title is the name of a chapter which cannily parallels the memories of real life Nell is recalling. It’s truly reflective of all the ups and downs of life, along with the thoughtful and emotional reactions and responses arising with each slice of life, a Candid Camera that misses nothing. The remainder of the story continues in both veins as memories very, very slowly begin coming back to Nell. No, her loving husband wasn’t always so nice, her sister wasn’t always so close and caring – at least without her own motives, and Her father was a very talented artist who loved the ideal in life and supposedly could never cope with the harshness of reality, or could he but not in the way Nell would find acceptable; all she remembers eventually is that she worshipped the ground he walked on. Nell’s mother, however, has a bevy of secrets explaining Nell’s father’s disappearance. That latter mystery coupled with the shocker toward the end of the story is totally unpredictable and rife with tension that is almost explosive. The Song Remains the Same is a finely written work of contemporary fiction, with a slowly evolving plot with twists and turns in all the right places. It’s a story that is very emotional in nature but feistily engaging at the same time. Our destiny does indeed lie in the shape we create and sometimes that means undoing some faulty hardwiring built in from the past! Superb, Allison Winn Scotch!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great writing. Great story.
My_Eclectic_Bookshelf More than 1 year ago
From the moment I read the summary of The Song Remains the Same, I hoped that it would live up to my expectations. It did...and then some. I was captivated the moment I picked up this story. I was drawn in right alongside Nell, and felt for her as every new relationship was introduced, torn down and rebuilt...Just as she was rebuilding her own life and memories. One can't help but root for her...because she could be any one of us. All of the characters that Allison Winn Scotch portrays are so wonderfully fleshed out that you can't help but feel that you know them. Unfortunately...what we know of them is completely based upon what they tell us as our protagonist Nell can remember nothing of her life prior to a horrid plane crash. She has to depend upon her mother, sister Rory, and husband Peter, among others, to fill her in not only on who they are and what the nature of her relationships with them are but also more importantly...she is counting upon them to remind her of who she is. We come to realize that this isn't as simple a proposition as it may seem. A missing memory makes it all too easy for people to pick and choose what they want you to know...what they want you to remember...and this makes finding her way in a world with no memories all the more difficult for Nell. She also struggles with her desire to take this opportunity, take this fresh start, to remake herself. Though without a clear line on who she was...she finds herself falling back into the same patterns that she followed before the crash. I loved the issues that this novel explored. The questions raised about how forgiveness and kindness can re-shape our relationships. And about how we can possibly let go of our histories and strive to be different and hopefully better people-or at the least, people who live for ourselves and not for the ghosts of our pasts. Can we eventually break free? Or is it true that The Song Remains the Same??