Avon Impulse, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-06-249783-3
Contemporary Romance, 2017
I enjoyed the author’s previous two books for the Avon Impulse line, but I suppose three out of three may be a bit too much to ask for, heh. Love Will Always Remember is fine in all aspects aside from the plot, and yikes, that’s like claiming that the house is fine, except that there’s a big hole where the floor is supposed to be. Still, this can also be my bias talking: this is an amnesia story, and the treatment of the theme is a bit too much of a Hallmark Channel affair for me.
Leighton Crane is a lobbyist who plays hardball – she isn’t above a little coercion and blackmail to make sure that politicians do not act against her clients’ interests. She is also determined to marry advantageously – who needs passion anyway – so she is a passionless engagement with Thomas Moran. So what if it is his brother Jonathan that makes her feel the sizzle all inside? She is going to be her own person, and she has it made! Made! And then she gets involved in a freak accident and comes to consciousness with no memory of the last six years. Oh my god, she has amnesia!
Jonathan wants to make sure that his new restaurant opens on time – a lot of money has been sunk into it, so it’s do or die day. Unfortunately, everything that can go wrong happens, and he’s wondering whether he is headed for certain doom over the next few weeks. At the same time, he’s trying very hard not to acknowledge his attraction to Leighton. When she has amnesia and his brother asks him to watch over her fiancé for a while, and she thinks that he’s her fiancé, he…
…. Wastes little time unzipping his pants and letting that thing say hello to her. Why? Why would he do such a thing? Will it kill him to zip up a little longer? Any sane man who wants in for the long haul will surely know that the woman is going to hit the roof and deliver a few bitch slaps from hell when she finds out, so I don’t know what this man is thinking. Oh wait, he probably isn’t.
That’s my issue with Love Will Always Remember: everything about the plot feels way too contrived for me. Too many things here give me this impression that they happen, not because they are an organic results of the characters’ actions, but because they are short cuts for the author to get the story going. Characters conveniently keep the heroine in the dark when they don’t have to, things happen exactly when the author needs a conflict, and so forth – even the heroine’s accident is a more dramatic version of the usual “heroine stumbles and trips onto the hero” plot device to get things rolling. Mind you, such contrivances don’t necessarily have to be a bad thing – they work in a more comedic setting, for instance, but this story isn’t comedy. Hence, the whole thing just feels a little too cheesy and artificial for my liking.
Additionally, Thomas is such a one-dimensional caricature of a douchebag, I feel rather embarrassed on his behalf.
I like that the heroine doesn’t immediately take the hero back after she feels like she’d been played for the fool, but I wish the author hadn’t then resorted to the tired “a secondary character advises the heroine to take him back because he’s awesome” way of bringing about a reconciliation. The writing is clean and the main characters have nice chemistry, but the entire story is not doing them any favors.
When I close this one, I find myself thinking of how things could have been switched up to make me like it more. I feel that the biggest problem here is that a more accurate title for this story is Lust Will Always Remember: before she has amnesia, Leighton and Jonathan barely know one another; they just want to jump the other person. Now, if the author had made these two BFFs or something, then him sleeping with her so quickly after she wakes up with amnesia would feel more believable and less of a douchebag thing to do. If Thomas had been less of a cartoon character, our heroine won’t appear so stupid for wanting to stick with him. In fact, I think Leighton is the wrong sort of heroine for this story, as a hard-ass career woman like her surely won’t settle for a cartoon jerk like Thomas. not when there are other politically-connected men in Washington, DC for an attractive woman to shack up with in order to get a leg up in life. A timid heroine pushed by her domineering parents into an advantageous marriage with Thomas would have been a better fit for this story.
At any rate, I wish I can like this one more, but Love Will Always Remember just doesn’t work for me on a fundamental level.