by Marliss Melton

December 2004
ISBN: 0-446-61482-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Warner Books
Mass Market Paperback

Gabe Renault is declared dead and his wife Helen feels relieved. She does mourn him, she never wanted him hurt. However, during the twelve months of his disappearance she pulled her life together, took on a rewarding job, and learned to stand on her own feet. Anything is better than suffering through Gabeís lack of emotional involvement. Then Gabe is found. With no memories of the Navy SEAL mission gone wrong or the three years of a marriage gone wrong, he is returning home. Instead of being distant and cold, Gabe is now a man Helen could easily fall in love with.

Sure, Helen is sorry for the suffering Gabe had to endure in North Korea, but for the obvious changes in him sheís grateful. As long as they last. Helen is not trusting the new Gabe. She is waiting for his memories and his old persona to return. Gabe knows that heís a different man. He might not remember what brought it on, but he knows that he's learned his lesson. Even more important than his lost memories, and the nationís security, are his familyís love and trust.

I loved seeing this strong and tough man having to come to terms with himself, his life and his environment. How the shifting of goals and values lead him to wooing his wife and mending bonds with his daughter. A man gone through hell and realizing that love is all that counts.

The roles are reversed. Here, itís the heroine looking for one last session between the sheets and the hero holding her off asking for more: A commitment, her love, her trust. Both of them undergo changes in personality. But whereas Gabe changed without the struggle of remembering his old self, Helen struggles to compromise, to trust and to accept her new self.

Forget Me Not is meant to be a romantic suspense. But the suspense never really materialized. The villains are obvious from their first appearance, so intrigue and danger are definitely not the focus of this story. The focus is on Helen and Gabeís relationship. When it comes to secondary romance Iím not so sure. I liked the involved protagonist. I liked them enough to want their own story, their own book. Why it had to be included in Forget Me Not I cannot say. It definitely wasnít needed to further the story, for their relationship was introduced too late. It only worked in distracting from the main story line.

Some of the storyís portrayed values are not mine, but they work for the characters. However, why Helen had to drag her teenage daughter into a life-threatening situation makes no sense to me. Why is it that in romance novels sane women tend to turn into irresponsible and stupid heroines? I liked Helen, I understood her and admired her. So why this move so not in character?

In conclusion, itís an entertaining story and introduces a hero Iíd like to see more often. One unafraid to risk all for love. However, the very capable and admirable heroine shows signs of serious misjudgments. The secondary characters all deserve their own stories instead of being used to fill some empty pages. And the suspense is definitely lacking, but the romance makes reading Forget Me Not, a story of second chances, worthwhile.

Reviewed in November 2004 by Kris Alice.

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