Saturday, July 22, 2023

Forget Me Not, by Alyson Derrick

In their conservative small town, Stevie and Nora have to keep their relationship a secret.  But they have plans to get away:  Stevie's been accepted to UCLA and Nora will get a job.  Nora has figured out how they can get by on their limited means.  It will be hard but it means that they can finally be out about their relationship.  Nobody in LA will care that they are gay.

But then Stevie suffers a severe concussion that leads to weeks in the hospital and results in partial amnesia:  she's forgotten who Nora is and everything about their relationship.  From being on the verge of running away together, Nora has become a complete stranger to Stevie.  Not only is it devastating to be unrecognized by her girlfriend but she can't even tell her the truth for the trouble it would cause.  And would Stevie even believe her?  For Stevie, this huge gap in her memories leave her with suspicions.  Who knows the truth about what was going on?  And who is now taking advantage of Stevie's amnesia to re-write history?

It's an interesting premise that locked me in.  Sure, it relies on the trope that love is predestined and that true love is not dependent on circumstances.  But as cynical as I am that there is no particular reason for Stevie and Nora to find each other again, you know we all are rooting for them to do so (although to be fair, Derrick allows some flexibility and not everything is like it was before). Somewhat less forgivable is the too-good-to-be-true ending which comes from out of nowhere and in fact runs against the entire direction of the rest of the story.  Do yourself a favor and skip the last chapter -- you'll thank me for that!  Other than that, I enjoyed the characters and the nuanced relationship between Stevie and her mother which exposes a lot about how families cope with children coming out.

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