Almost Remembered
by Marilyn Tracy
(Silh. Int. Mom. #867, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-07867-6
***
Almost, Texas, sprawls very near the New Mexico line in the dusty Panhandle region. This book concludes Marilyn Tracy's three book series on the town's Leary family. After this series, you could move right in and know almost everyone there. Almost a Family (SIM #815) chronicles the lives of Taylor Leary and her triplets after her husband was killed, and Almost Perfect (SIM #766) introduces Carolyn Leary, the widow of Taylor's brother. Missing from Almost for sixteen years has been Taylor's sister, Allison.

Allison fled Almost after a stupid misunderstanding with Dr. Charles Jamison, the town vet with whom she had been madly in love. Immediately after their spat he married and fathered a son well within nine months. Even after Chas's wife died in an accident Allison did not return to Almost.

The book opens as Allison is making her way west from New York to attend Taylor's wedding. Allison is an award winning TV reporter, well known and recognized throughout the country. But her fairy tale life is not what it seems.

Before your eyes you watch as Allison experiences personality dissociation and slips into fugue states, with odd spots of memory suppression. This happens intermittently with no apparent cause. Her New York doctors attribute this to the lingering effects of a concussion sustained in an auto accident over the Christmas holidays.

Allison is barely hanging on to her sanity and reaches out to the stable people in her life. Although now almost a stranger to them, she is gratified by their support. Chas seems to understand her the best, and Marilyn Tracy does an excellent job of describing how he rebuilds their relationship slowly with the help of his son, Billy.

While Allison struggles with the fear that she is losing her mind, someone is stalking her. At this point this book has everything; incredible tension, graphic depiction of a tortured mind, the rekindling of a romance whose initial failure that kept Allison single at 33, and other interesting sub-plots.

But Alice and I fell down the rabbit hole together into Wonderland when the author on page 145 sets in motion the simple panacea for all Allison's troubles. It is February, and Chas suddenly realizes that Allison spent Christmas Day in the hospital, alone in New York.

He immediately rushes her to his home, throws open the closets, and what to my wondering eyes should appear… an artificial tree and bright shiny decorations. They trim the tree, dance to old records, eat Christmas treats and talk and…From here on out, and very quickly I might add, Chas resolves the problems.

I understand that this is fiction, that the author has poetic license if you will, however, it just didn't ring true to me that the degree of mental dissociation I read about in the beginning of the book was as easily dealt with as it was here.

Maybe it wasn't possible for the author in the final 100 pages to find a way to logically resolve the problems she created in the first 150 pages. However, I can enthusiastically recommend the other two books in this series.

--Thea Davis


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