Elise K. Ackers
Copy courtesy of the author
When Connor awakes from a coma after an accident that nearly claims his life, the last three years are a blank slate. Suffering from post-retrograde amnesia, everything that has happened in the past three years is as if it never took place at all. Connor has a new job, new friends, a girlfriend he doesn’t remember. And a friend that hangs back looking haunted and who promises to tell him everything, but that he’ll have to trust her.
Emma and Connor were best friends – they were more than best friends. But then Connor discovered a secret she’d been keeping from him and the bond between them was ruthlessly severed. Emma blames herself, not only for their estrangement but also for Connor’s accident. She wants to help him remember but there are things she won’t tell him – what ended their relationship for starters.
Connor may not remember everything that happened with Emma but the feelings are still there and the more time he spends with her, the more he wants to rekindle whatever it was they had, no matter what she says about him not being able to cope with her secret. He’s sure that this time around it will be different and that whatever it was, they can overcome it.
Unforgettable is a sweet contemporary romance about love that has gone horribly wrong and getting a second chance. In the case of Connor and Emma, their second chance comes after Connor is involved in an accident and has his memory of the last three years of his life wiped. He doesn’t remember Emma, their friendship or their brief relationship but something that has overcome the memory loss is his reaction to her. There’s something still there, there are feelings still there and even more feelings are developing as Connor is getting to know Emma again and putting back together the pieces of his fractured life.
I love amnesia stories, I do. I’m a deadset sucker for them actually, although a lot of people will say that they’re a very tired plot device. But when done right I think they’re so fabulous and they give so much chance for beautiful romantic and sexual tension. They’re almost an automatic buy for me so I was really looking forward to this novel. And while I enjoyed parts of it, there were some elements that did not particularly work for me.
Firstly, the reason for which Emma and Connor broke up was….a bit weak, to be honest. It’s billed as this extremely huge secret that Emma has and I have to say, my mind was working overtime trying to figure out what it could possibly be that would result in such a catastrophic meltdown. And when it is revealed and Connor reacts exactly the same way the second time as he did the first time, I felt a bit let down, both by the actual fact and by Connor’s behaviour. Up until that moment, I had really liked him but the way in which he reacted again made me dislike him.
I tried to puzzle this out a little bit – Unforgettable is quite a short novel, around 177p. It begins when Connor wakes from his coma and goes forward from there with only a few flashbacks to happier times for him and Emma. I think that this was a problem for me because it didn’t give me a clear enough picture of their relationship before her secret was revealed (the first time). I was told a lot of times that they were perfect for each other and that everything had been fantastic before the big reveal but I don’t think enough time was taken to show me this. I wanted some more flashbacks to really flesh out the relationship that they’d had and why Connor had reacted the way he did. I can see on the surface, why he may have but I think it would’ve been better once again, fleshed out. Everyone has things in their past that they haven’t confessed and Emma’s secret was not actually that terrible. It would’ve been a blow to Connor’s ego but the fact that he reacted so severely not once, but twice kind of irritated me a little bit. Having broken her heart twice he then thinks he should get a third chance and it just wasn’t enough for me to believe in it.
However what I did really enjoy was the setting. It’s set in Melbourne and I live here so I always really like finding books with familiar landmarks and I appreciated the unusual world of construction. I found a lot of the details and intricacies of the project Emma and Connor’s company were working on quite fascinating and although I’ve no idea if they’re plausible or not, they certainly seemed that way!
I think for me, this book would’ve benefited from another 100-130 pages and I do not say that very often! I would’ve loved a lot more exploration into the dynamics between Emma and Connor, them getting together, the comfortable style of their relationship and I’d definitely have liked some more time devoted to the situation behind the secret. I think the framework was there and it’s still a good read but it’s just missing that something more, those finer details and character developments that would have made it truly awesome.
Book #9 of 2013
This is the 5th novel read and reviewed for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013