Beneath a Texas Sky

Strangers When We Meet

She’s My Mom by Rebecca Winters
(Harl. Super.#1065, $4.99, G) ISBN 0-373-71065-8
She’s My Mom lives up to its series title “SuperRomance”, something not all have done. Rebecca Winters has written a compelling drama about a subject that is often less than gripping - amnesia.

Grady Corbitt, detective with the Las Vegas PD, lost his wife to an apparent car bombing six months ago. He has been beside himself with grief and less than attentive to his 13-year-old son, Brett. Brett has spent lots of time with his friend Mike and his family, including dinner at the exclusive Etoile hotel and restaurant. One night, Brett swears one of the hotel maids is his mom, even though she has dyed her hair.

Brett is right. Maid Martha Walters is really Susan Corbitt. Since Susan did not die in the bombing, detective Corbitt infers that someone wanted Susan dead. Thus begins the hunt for the reason behind the “accident” and solving the mystery. In addition, it is the beginning of Susan’s search for her memory.

Susan begins by remembering little things like a picture in her bedroom. Then she remembers Brett. But no matter how hard she tries she doesn’t remember Grady. This is tearing Grady up emotionally. As Susan grows to love Grady all over again, Grady struggles with his need for his “real” wife with this person who looks, acts and seems like her, but who doesn’t recognize him.

As amnesia stories go, this is an enjoyable, thought-provoking and innovative tale. There is joy in the memories, laughter in the discoveries, and keen interest in the resolution. Susan is often thoughtful, courageous, scared and genuine. Grady is cautious, hopeful, and acts like a man who is snared in a trap. As I read these encounters, it was easy to empathize with their confusion and feelings. And it was fun to watch them discover their love for each other and their son.

Family members are a solid addition, helping to cement Susan’s relationships and fill in the gaps in her memory. Her loyalty to her new friends from the hotel is charming. It’s easy to imagine that many of us in a similar situation would act the same way she did. I felt I was reading something real.

The detective work around Susan’s circumstances is somewhat intriguing. Much of it seems contrived, but there is a feeling of connection to the need of the characters to find the villain. This plotline drags a little, but picks up in the end.

Thankfully, the romance holds its own and limits this distraction to one of mere annoyance. Susan and Grady slowly rediscover their feelings. They realize that total honesty must be between them. When Grady blows up over something Susan did before she lost her memory, you know there is hope. The slight sense of Grady treating Susan with kid gloves is quickly overcome by the strength of Susan’s character. I think there is more to Grady than the author allows us to see, but Grady still manages to shine as a hero.

She’s My Mom would make a fine Lifetime network movie. It makes a darn good romance novel too.

--Shirley Lyons

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