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{Review} Remember Me by Lara Van Hulzen

Remember Me (Men of Honor Series Book 1) - Lara Van Hulzen

Tess thought she had everything with Ben, but then a week before their wedding, she was left with nothing but a note and an irreparably broken heart. Except the man she never expected to see again is suddenly back, a victim of a car accident with no memory of who he is or how he got there. If he never remembers, she'll never get answers. But if he does, she just might lose him all over again.

 

The Verdict: It only took me a few pages to realize I wasn't putting this book down until I'd read every word of it.

 

Tess is so easy to identify with. After a devastating break-up that she still can't wrap her head around, she's just starting to get her life back on track. She's moved, found a new job, made new friends, and even though she's still heartbroken, confused, and angry, she's getting by and getting better. But then the man who broke her heart shows up, with no memory of her at all, and her slowly healing world is turned upside down.

 

The situation when she sees him again is nearly as awful as his leaving. She doesn't know why he's there, and she wants answers he can't remember. Even after being inside her mind, I can't wrap my head around how difficult that would be. It's the most natural thing in the world to want to know why a relationship ended, despite the fact that knowing rarely equals understanding. But to have the guy who broke your heart not even remember you? It's no wonder she froze up.

 

While I could certainly understand her not saying anything to Ben immediately, not telling him his name and certainly not their shared history, I was very surprised she kept it a secret from the very people who needed to know. I would have expected her to tell the cop or the social worker or at the very least Ben's doctor. Her neighbor Mike, a pediatrician whom I doubt had much expertise in amnesia, suggested that it might be better if Ben remembered on his own, but shouldn't she have told someone assigned to his case?

 

I had started to figure out that Ben had been working undercover before it was spelled out for me, and when his reason for leaving her practically at the alter was revealed, at first I thought it was rather implausible. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it kind of made sense. People in grief aren't exactly rational, and while I'm still pretty mad about the way Ben left Tess, it's actually kind of perfect. It shows he's flawed, capable of making the same bad decisions as a man with no faith might, and that's a big part of what makes this story story stand out.

 

The one thing I wasn't too keen on was the final showdown with the “bad guy.” While it was tense and thrilling and didn't shy away from gritty drama, I feel like someone needs to remind fictional villains that taking a moment to gloat in the success of their malicious scheming is the equivalent of rolling out the red carpet for the cavalry. I much prefer when the motivation is revealed after the danger has passed or because the main character puts two and two together on their own, not because the villain decides that they have all the time in the world to revel in their evil win.

 

Faith-based romances are frequently more miss than hit for me. I like to read about characters who are real, who make the same dumb mistakes we all do, don't always go to church, aren't terrified of having a beer after work, and occasionally fly off the handle when they're angry. I can't relate to someone who only strays from a righteous path long enough to teach readers a lesson. Fortunately, Remember Me delivered exactly what I wanted.

 

Ben and Tess are genuinely good people, as are the secondary characters we meet along the way. But they are absolutely human, facing real problems and not always dealing with them the right way. Yes, they prayed, but they didn't preach, and that's what kept the story grounded for me. There's romance and passion (while keeping it clean), mystery and danger, angst and miscommunication… basically everything that keeps me reading mainstream romances but with an added positive undercurrent of faith. If more faith-based romances were like Remember Me, my Kindle would be overflowing with them.

 

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***FicCentral received this book from *the author* for free in exchange for an honest review.
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