I normally hate the whole amnesia trope. I think my days of watching soap operas back in the 80s and 90s ran that one into the ground for me. But because Kylie Scott is magic, apparently, I loved this book. I didn’t hesitate to buy it, even knowing that I hate the amnesia trope. I was sure she’d pull it off, and she did.
First of all, I love Clem. She might not remember the attack that robbed her of her memory, but it changed her nonetheless. The way she thought about herself as a “before” and “after” person (she was one person before the attack, she’s a completely different person after the attack) was fascinating to me, and it felt realistic. She had to figure out everything—likes, dislikes, feelings, past skills—through this new lens of a survivor. She could no longer be the pastel-colors-loving, high-strung, high-maintenance girl she was before the attack. Now she’s an edgier, more laid back (because she’s actually lived through worse than whatever minor inconvenience is happening at any given time) version of her old self. New Clem was pretty awesome. (Old Clem sounded like a bit of a pill, but hey, no one’s perfect.)
The scenes with Clem and her sister Fran reconnecting were pretty fabulous, too. Even though Clem didn’t remember Fran, the love was clearly still there, buried deep.
And Ed...sigh. I loved Ed. He’d clearly been devastated by his breakup with Clem, and yet he can’t stay away from her when she pops back into his life. He falls in love with an entirely new version of her, and I thought that was really beautiful.
Now, I saw some other reviews that complained about the twist at the end. Yes, I saw it coming, too. It wasn’t exactly a shocking turn of events. But if you look at this as a character-driven book versus a plot-driven book, it works beautifully and that minor detail won’t bother you.
I additionally saw some online complaints that Ed dated after his breakup with Clem instead of, I don’t know, pining for her pitifully. It didn’t bother me at all that Ed tried to move on with his life after Clem left him (for, admittedly, stupid reasons. Like I said, old Clem was a bit of a pill.) I wouldn’t expect him to chase after her or remain celibate while he was single. (Just so you know, though, there are NO details about Ed having sex with any other women while he was separated from Clem. I appreciated that, because while I don’t expect the hero to remain celibate when he’s no longer with the heroine, I don’t need to know all the gory details. The key point here is that Ed was not a manwhore when he wasn’t with Clem. End of story.)
So, long-story-short, this is a beautiful second-chance love story as well as the story of a survivor finding her new normal after a vicious attack changed everything she ever knew and ever was. I loved every minute of it.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
It’s clean and sober. No rehab needed.