I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Love Will Always Remember by Tracey Livesay
Published by Avon Impulse on August 29th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
An accident changed Leighton Clarke's life forever.
After waking from a coma, Leighton Clarke can’t remember anything from the past six years. She’s stunned when her doctors inform her she has amnesia, something she didn’t think occurred outside of soap operas. Anxious and disoriented, the only person who elicits any feelings is Jonathan Moran, a gorgeous chef with compassionate brown eyes . . . who also happens to be her fiancé.
Jonathan isn’t her fiancé. But when his estranged brother—her real husband-to-be—asks him to step in while he’s away in London, Jonathan doesn’t think he has a choice, especially after seeing how the previously aloof Leighton now responds to him. The more time they spend together, the more Jonathan begins to fall for his brother’s fiancé, until he’s wishing the pretense were reality.
When Leighton’s memories come flooding back, can she forgive the man she’s fallen in love with or will his lie ruin the only thing that feels true?
Amnesia romances can be tricky to pull off. I think Tracey Livesay did it better than most, but it still fell victim to the standard amnesia trope of forcing the characters in the book to lie to the amnesiac “for her own good”.
In this case, our amnesiac is Leighton, who woke from a coma with amnesia, able to remember how to do anything she needed to do, and what things were called, but unable to remember anything from her own life for the last six years. So when she’s introduced to the man calling himself her fiance, all she knows is that she has a strong, visceral reaction to him, and there’s no reason for him to lie, so she has no reason not to believe him.
Except Jonathan isn’t her fiance. In fact, he’s her fiance’s brother. To be fair, in the beginning, his intentions weren’t bad. He had been with her when she had her accident, her mother is across the world somewhere, her actual fiance, Thomas was in London for work, and the only way he could get any information on her condition was to be family. She was wearing an engagement ring, so he went with it. Frankly, I don’t know if I’d have done any different. The problem comes in when he continues to lie to her about who he is, eventually sleeping with her, even though she still believes him to be her fiance.
I just don’t…. Look, I know that Jonathan wanted to tell her the truth. And he had the old “her doctor says this is best” to fall back on. But I just don’t buy it. If the doctor insists she’s too fragile to be told the truth, which on its own is troubling, then fine. Don’t tell her yet. But don’t sleep with her. Fall in love, sure. Realize she’s falling in love, sure. But don’t have sex with her under false pretenses. And REALLY don’t have sex with her knowing that when she finds out the truth, she’ll not only hate you for lying to her, but also blame herself for basically cheating on her fiance. That’s a natural reaction for her to have, and by playing out this situation the way he did, Jonathan foisted that upon her.
And, yes. Her fiance, Thomas, is garbage. He refuses to come home from London when Leighton is in her coma because he has work to do, and Leighton would agree with him. (So he thinks. In reality, when Leighton finds out that he refused to come home when she was IN A COMA, she breaks up with him.) Jonathan texts and calls Thomas with updates, and Thomas doesn’t even bother to answer the phone or respond beyond a thumbs-up emoji. But he’s still the person that, at the time, Leighton had chosen, and Jonathan decided to take that away from her.
And that’s at the heart of my problem with amnesiac romances. It’s typically (not always, I know, don’t @ me), the woman who has amnesia, and everyone around her tends to make these huge decisions “for her own good” without consulting her, and that usually goes all the way up to having sex with her. I hate this. Leighton is appropriately mad at Jonathan for a little while, then forgives him and all is well. And that’s fine. That’s also her decision. I may not agree with her decision, but it’s her decision.
The other issue I had with this was Leighton’s reaction to realizing she was 6 years behind in her own life, and not once did she check out her social media. She never looked at Facebook, or LinkedIn, or, hell, even Twitter. She never Googled herself, even though she’s one of the top lobbyists in DC, and there’s been plenty written about herself. I’d think that would be the first thing you’d do, especially when you were bored sitting around at home because while you do know where you work, you don’t really understand how you got there, and you don’t know any of your current accounts or clients. Who wouldn’t fill that time with some good old-fashioned Google-stalking of themselves?
I liked Tracey Livesay’s writing. This is the third book in this series, and based on what I saw of the previous two couples, I’m going to read those books, too. I just keep hoping that someone will do amnesia well, and unfortunately, this book, while better than a lot of them, didn’t quite get there for me.