Forgotten Marriage
by Paula Roe
(Silh. Desire #1824, $4.75 PG-13) ISBN 0373-76824-0
**
Amnesia is a tried and true story line and new author Paula Roe has put a bit of a twist on it with Forgotten Marriage. The hero has amnesia and it has happened after the couple has split up. Sadly, there was just too much bad karma with these two, and I could never really believe all the transformations that occurred enough to believe in the love story.

Finn Sorensen is a multi-millionaire heir to his familyís jewelry empire in Copenhagen. He is known as somewhat of a playboy celebrity. He meets a young woman in Australia, Ally McKnight; they fall instantly for each other and they zoom off to Vegas to get married. She never figures out who he is until they return to his family home, where he reverts to a workaholic, stoic personality. He basically shuts her out. With the help of snide remarks from his stepmother, and her own insecurities, Ally leaves after just a few months. Finn doesnít follow due to his pride. Shortly thereafter, Finn is in a car crash in which his father is killed and he loses his memory. The twist is that his father verbally told him he had left a codicil to his will, effectively shutting out the mean stepmother from any fortune. Without it, she could control the company and is threatening to tear apart the company that her husband loved.

Finn discovers some letters from Ally, which is when he figures out he was married. He also finds the divorce papers he had never signed. He decides to go to Australia, find Ally and see if she can help him re-establish his memory (and thus the codicil). Finn is also aware that the codicil included a major inheritance for Ally because his father liked her so much.

Ally, meanwhile, has been trying to go on without Finn, with her heart in pieces. To top it off, she discovered she was pregnant when she got back to Australia. She is unaware of all the drama in Finnís life, as she is fighting her own. She has a boss who is sexually harassing her and this has forced her to quit her job just at a time when she needs it most.

If the set-up were not convoluted enough, the interactions between these two doom the story. Ally is both excited and devastated to see Finn. She is sympathetic even though she wants to hate him. She is scared he will find out about the pregnancy, because she wants nothing to do with him and since she feels he lost his chance to be a part of the babyís life when he let slip he never wanted children during one of their many fights. Finn, on the other hand, doesnít know what he feels but knows he feels something. He isnít sure if it is just lust, leftover love, or plain confusion as the three emotions war with each other in his mind and body. He also realizes he doesnít like the man he was prior to his amnesia.

This 185-page story was excruciatingly slow at times. The interactions at times made no sense, as they went from love to hate to lust to hate to disappointment. They tried to hide things from each other and then got upset when they discovered the other person was hiding things too. Their rationalizations often caused me to scratch my head in confusion. The timeline was a bit disjointed since Allyís pregnancy was not showing so there were a lot of things that happened in just a few short months.

And most unbelievable was the complete transformation the two of them made from distrust and hate to love and trust. The resolution of the codicil was almost an afterthought. The author tried at times to inject humor and even succeeded for a brief period to allow the reader to see the type of relationship that Finn and Ally enjoyed to make them get married in the first place. Sadly, it was way too brief. For all these reasons, Forgotten Marriage is forgettable.

--Shirley Lyons


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