Karla's Reviews > Love, Remember Me

Love, Remember Me by Jessie Ford
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's review
May 06, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: historical-romance, bodice-ripper, eras-antebellum, california, cover-artists-tom-hall, hero-alpha, hero-cheating, no-no-no-yes-yes, hero-dark-chiseled-and-brooding, wusses-need-not-apply, dead-tree
Recommended for: readers who like more characterization than plot
Read from June 15 to 25, 2010 , read count: 1

This is a story that had a lot of potential, but the author took a bit too long to get the story in gear in the beginning and then shifted it into neutral for too long in the middle. It's not a good sign when the plot starts showing itself at page 200. However, that it held my interest for that long says something about it. There were quite a few fresh elements that I had not yet encountered in the old skool stuff, and so I kept reading. I'm glad I persevered, but when I finished the book, and despite a satisfying ending, I knew it could have been so much better.

The story begins by dropping the reader right into events. Louisa Boyd is in seclusion in San Diego, waiting to have a baby. There are references to past events aplenty, so much so that I felt I should know what was going on and wasted a bunch of time researching if this was a sequel. Not the case. We then have about 160 pages of backstory about Louisa and her two childhood chums, Marshall Hudson and his illegitimate half-brother Andrew Sutton. It was often interesting, but I wondered just where it was all leading.

Heroines get abused all the time in the old skool rippers, but Louisa Boyd is the first heroine I've come across who is really and truly damaged. She's been messed up since childhood. Her mother was an alcoholic and insane, her father was negligent and cold and more than a little perverse. When her mother died, Louisa suffered years of sexual abuse by her father, and Louisa's odd habit of lighting fires as a child when playing with her friends becomes a ritual of cleansing. I never thought the column headed "Heroines--Pyromaniacs" would ever have something in it. Her father calls her "a born whore" and her own easily-ignited desires make her feel like a tramp and loathsome creature. She hits the bourbon when she's depressed and believes that her fate is pretty much mapped out because of her parentage and her own corrupt soul.

The hero of the story, Andrew Sutton, also has a few demons of his own. As a young man, he becomes a sailor on his father's shipping line and then jumps ship at the horrendous conditions, changes his name to Aaron Sumner, turns pirate and adventurer, and is dedicated to bringing down his old man and those he's in cahoots with. He loves and tragically loses a fair tavern wench called Juliet, scarring his heart and causing no end of distrust and dismay for Louisa later on when they meet up again. He's driven by hate and revenge and refuses to let himself be vulnerable ever again.

Andrew is also a dead ringer for his half-brother, Marshall (also Louisa's lover and father of her child), and he's enlisted by the American government to infiltrate a plot by Marshall's father (among others) to seize California as an independent republic and funnel arms and money to the South in the coming conflict. Because Marshall and Louisa are a couple, Andrew and Louisa have to feign being a couple themselves, something they don't need to fake very long. They fall into bed together quite readily since she looks at him and sees Marshall, and he's always had a hankering for his old playmate.

So they go to Monterey to the den of the conspiracy, but once there, that part of the plot took a back seat to the constant bickering and make-up sex between Louisa and Andrew. While the author did what I thought was a good job of creating these two characters, the motions they went through were conventional and repetitive for far too long (well over 100 pages and perhaps even 200 and change). The story ground to a halt as Louisa and Andrew kept going back and forth, with Louisa being the more annoying of the two. There was a fine cast of secondary characters (namely the Machiavellian head of the conspiracy, Peter Melville), but the author didn't flesh them out or give them much to do.

About 150 pages from the end, the plot once again picked up and it ended all very satisfactorily with the couple reuniting and the fresh twist of justice not entirely being served (one I didn't mind since in real life powerful bad guys often escape Hollywood's Clichéd Justice System). Still, the huge sag in the middle really brought the book down as a whole. A pity, since the concept of a rogue California on the eve of the Civil War is awesome story material. I just wish the author had done more with it.

In the end, I think the book suffered from the lopsided ratio of the elaborate backstory and psychological baggage suffered by both hero and heroine to the rather anemic plot. It hasn't turned me off this author, however. I've got another of her books coming in the mail.

This book review has been provided by the No Book Left Behind Campaign! A Bodice Ripper Readers Anonymous group initiative to review the un-reviewed!
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Reading Progress

06/15 page 7
1.0% "Already I'm confused. Story's feeling like this is a sequel to something, but can't find any earlier books by the author that would fit..."
06/17 page 64
11.0% "So far we've had imposter husbands, incest (with baby!), attempted rape and accidental death."
06/17 page 104
17.0% "Wonder what Aaron aka "Not the Real Marshall" is up to."
06/18 page 167
28.0% "Hoping the herky-jerky timeline jumping will end soon, once both H & h's backstories are filled out. Want to get to the actual plot."
06/20 page 229
38.0% "So we have an alcoholic, incest-surviving pyromaniac teaming up with her dead lover's lookalike brother to thwart a plot to secede California from the United States to side with the South. Better than it sounds. LOL"
06/21 page 289
48.0% "Thank God Louisa and Aaron aka Not Marshall are to be separated for a few weeks. The endless (albeit non-graphic) humping was getting a little old." 2 comments
06/22 page 383
64.0% "I should have been notching the mental bedpost every time these two bumped uglies. Kee-rist. Must be reaching 30 right now."
06/24 page 486
81.0% "Finally get back to the plot again. If you like endless angst and sex, this could be the book for you."
02/06 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Walton Grant In 64 pages? That's a busy girl!

message 2: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Walton Grant Sounds good to me, LOL -- love your updates!

Karla It's not stellar, but still good enough to keep me interested. Though these two can't keep their mitts off each other. I mean, really! They're like hamsters on meth.

message 4: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie Karla wrote: "They're like hamsters on meth."

Really!!! Fun IRL for those involved but for poor 3rd party readers... tedious! *yawn*

I must start reading some of these old skool books... gotta be better than Madeline Baker-Zebra literary diarrhea snoozefests!

Karla I thought you'd taken Wicked Loving Lies out of the library? It's just laying around under all the non-fiction? For shame! :P

message 6: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie I did, but then returned it because I figured I wouldn't get to it right away. It's still sitting on the shelf... no one wants to read it! So I may check it out again :D

JadedlilFecker Knew it was him....

Karla How could you doubt it? :D

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