REVIEW: Remember Me by Cora Brent
Dear Ms. Brent:
Whenever I do daily deals and I come across a book that has a dual storyline, reviewers will often comment that the historical subplot is stronger than the present day plot and that is the case with this book.
The story contains two different romances both containing the story of forgiveness, rivalry, and redemption. The romances mirror each other, with the same conflicts playing out in the historical storyline that play out in the current one.
Maddox McLeod, a member of the Defiant MC, has been asked to return home to see his dying father in Contention City. He left there ten years ago because his brother, Jensen, and girlfriend, Gaby, had dealt him the ultimate betrayal. (I think you can all guess what that is). When Maddox returns to Contention City he finds his brother a shell of the man he once was. Jensen is drinking too much and not being a good father. He had divorced Gaby but Maddox can’t see past the evidence of their betrayal.
I was struck by this because I wondered how in the world Maddox was going to overcome the “ultimate betrayal” and make me believe in his HEA with the girl who broke his heart. Most of Maddox’s story, if not all, is told from his point of view where as the historical western story is told from the female, Annika Larson.
Annika is a schoolteacher who travels to the Arizona Territory and falls in lust and love with an outlaw but when he appears and disappears from her life, she finds comfort with a respectable lawman who just so happens to be the outlaw’s brother. Annika eventually embraces the outlaw fully but through betrayals, double dealing, and a lust for gold, she and her outlaw are placed in danger. A big misunderstanding drives both her actions and those of Gaby which drive their true loves away.
Maddox deals with the post betrayal fallout while Annika tells us the story of the circumstances that lead up to the betrayal. And I understood both characters. I understood where Maddox was coming from and I understood where Annika was coming from. The problem was, for me, that I couldn’t translate Annika’s feelings and motivations from the past to the present. I understood that Gaby was essentially the reincarnated Annika and that she was living the same life and made the same mistakes but the romance wasn’t between Maddox and Annika, it was between Maddox and Gaby and I really needed to see Gaby come to life on the page. I simply was unable to substitute Annika for Gaby.
What I wished was that the past storyline was truncated and that more time was devoted to Gaby in the present day so I could fully buy into the Maddox/Gaby love or perhaps I wished I could have seen Gaby make bigger gestures toward Maddox who I definitely felt was the wronged party. Maddox was the one to forgive and make reparations for his past mistakes. He tried to mend the bridge with his brother. Because I was never really inside Gaby, I needed to see overt behaviors on the page to show that she not only loved Maddox but wanted to be with him more than anything.
And some of the historical storylines deviated from the present day. For instance, when Maddox returns to Contention City, Gaby is prickly and defensive. In the historical storyline, Annika is almost always happy to see Mercer, the outlaw, even after months of separation. You can really see Annika’s love and irresistible desire for Mercer but we don’t get that with Gaby. Conversely, Maddox always comes back for Annika whereas Maddox never returned, too hurt by the past but because Maddox was the wronged one, I didn’t feel like he needed to make the gestures.
It was a unique storyline, though, and I thought the outlaw gang of the Western was a good foil for the modern day MC (although the outlaw gang was shown to be more dangerous and, well, evil than the modern day MC). I’ll remember the storyline but I was I left with a little frustration at the outcome.