To Love a Cowboy

I’ll Remember You
by Barbara Ankrum
(Silh. Int. Mom. #972, $4.25, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-07972-9
My ultimate method of determining a book’s rating is to answer the question, “Did it keep me turning the pages?” If the answer is yes, then I have to conclude that I should recommend a book, despite a hackneyed plot and all too familiar characters. It is for this reason that I find myself appending four hearts to I’ll Remember You despite the ubiquitous SEAL as the hero and the use of amnesia as the plot device. It kept me turning the pages.

The book opens with the villains peering over a cliff, trying to see whether the man they had just beaten and shot is visible in the dark. Concluding that no one could have survived the fall, they go on their merry way.

Shortly thereafter, Dr. Tess Gordon espies a man lurching along the country road near her home. Her sense of responsibility leads her to stop, give first aid, and drive the man to the nearest hospital. She hangs around, somehow compelled to watch over the victim. She becomes suspicious of the cops who question her and chances to overhear them planning to take care of the mystery man. So she spirits him out of the hospital, the cops giving chase. Realizing that both she and her patient are in grave danger, she flees to a remote cabin in the California mountains.

“Jack,” as she calls the mystery man, is fortunate in his rescuer. Tess is a former emergency room physician who can treat his wound and fight his fever. She pulls him through, but when he regains consciousness, he has lost his memory. Is Jack a victim or a villain? The plot thickens when her friend on the police force reports that there is an APB out for a man who looks just like “Jack.”

Tess is a widow who lost her policeman husband two years earlier. She has given up practicing medicine and become a researcher. She has all sorts of guilt about her husband’s death. Tess is surprised at her reaction to the man she has rescued.

Jack finds Tess very attractive, but, without any knowledge of the past, he can only go by his feelings that he is endangering her by his presence. And, as his memory begins to return, he knows that he himself is a dangerous man. Ankrum does use the gradual recovery of Jack’s memory very effectively.

The suspense plot in I’ll Remember You is well done, centering as it does on rogue cops, drug dealing, betrayal and murder. Ankrum manages to include plenty of action in her story. The action almost overshadows the romance, but not quite.

I kind of wish that Ankrum had not fallen into the all too common cliché of making Tess’ first marriage less than satisfactory. I simply don’t understand why a widowed romance heroine can’t have had a happy marriage and still find a new love.

As I said at the beginning, I’ll Remember You had me turning the pages. It doesn’t break any new ground but it is entertaining. If you like romantic suspense stories that are full of action and if you don’t mind amnesia as a plot device, you may well enjoy the story as I did.

--Jean Mason

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