Remember Love
by AlTonya Washington, contemporary (2003)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-407-2


I hate to knock down a debut effort, but AlTonya Washington's Remember Love is simultaneously bizarre, horrifying, and mildly nauseating all at once. The hero Trinidad Salem raises his hands more than once in this book, and while he never actually hits the heroine Dominique, the possibility that he intends to creeps me out. And the reason for his many losses of temper are so petty and reeking of overblown paranoia that the happy ending of this book is like a tragedy waiting to happen.

Dom and Trinny - don't laugh, that's what they call each other - are supposed to be a power couple, envied by their friends for their blissful marriage. Then one day Trinny realizes that Dom has been married before. Why this fact gets him so furious that he almost hits her (then again, she hits him first, but that's after he starts calling her various synonyms for women of ill repute), I don't know. This argument drags on until the marriage is all but dead. To add insult, he files for divorce, not her. Dom is portrayed as a career-minded independent woman - is that supposed to be funny?

Then one day Dom is involved in a plane crash. Trinny assumes that she is dead and he is heartbroken. Then he realizes that she isn't - she has amnesia! I really don't understand this part, it's like a bad soap opera thing. I don't know why the people taking care of Dom assumes that it is better to keep Dom being alive from her family until she gets her memory back. I don't understand how an amnesiac woman can live on as if she's a new woman without even caring about her past, even when she knows she has amnesia. I don't know how she can do this when she doesn't even know who she is. What happens if a cop stops her? Or if she needs to use a credit card?

Trinny finds her, of course. And in a courtship best described as "two-thirds stalking, one-third coercion", he forces his way back into her life. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Then wife remembers who she is. Temper tantrums. He raises his hand threateningly. She screams that she is afraid of him. They have sex. Everything is okay. Trinny loses his temper again over some freaky petty reason. Sex again makes them okay with each other again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. There are many love scenes in this book, but they are used as a substitute for much-needed scenes like (a) the heroine smashing a vase over the jerk's head, (b) the heroine slapping a restraining order on him, (c) the heroine kneeing him in the balls, and (d) Tina Turner's Proud Mary blasting in the background as our hero is dragged off for some much-needed psychiatry examination.

Sure, in the end they love each other again. But for how long, when the hero changes nothing about his personality? A book that makes me want to get a restraining order on the hero and to slip a gun under the heroine's pillow just in case - well, AlTonya Washington has some ideas, I guess, but her execution (especially her use of love scenes in place of character development) leaves so much to be desired. Better luck next book, Ms Washington.

Rating: 45


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