Snowbound With Love
by Alice Wootson
(Arabesque/BET, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 1-58314-148-0
****
Snowbound With Love is a remarkable debut novel by Alice Wootson. It is remarkable because it is an amnesia story that almost made me forget how much I dislike amnesia stories.

Charlotte Thompson is a journalist who has had a run of unfortunate incidents in both her personal and professional lives. She is leaving an assignment in the Poconos when a massive snowstorm hits the area. Unwisely, Charlotte decides to proceed home to Philadelphia as the storm continues. When she and her Geo can no longer make the trip, she ventures down a side road in search of shelter.

The situation is an accident waiting to happen…and it does. Charlotte spots a house along a secluded road and decides to stop and ask for help. As she is getting out of the car, Charlotte’s car skids off the driveway and into a gully. She is injured when her head hits the steering wheel and she is knocked unconscious.

Charlotte awakens much later in the bed of the house’s owner, composer Tyler Fleming. He has no phone or electricity; she has no clothes and no memory. They settle into an easy peace. As they spend time getting to know one another, widower Tyler Fleming learns to live again. And Charlotte learns to love.

For the most part, the relationship between Tyler and Charlotte progresses credibly. Tyler, Charlotte and his dog, Juno carry a good portion of the book. They do well without support during this period. Secondary characters introduced near the end of the book offer support although they spend a great deal of time confused by the actions of the main characters.

In an interesting plot twist I cannot share, Tyler and Charlotte share a unique history. And, although they have never met prior to the snowstorm that brought them together, they are bound by a life-altering tragedy from the pasts.

As I mentioned, I am not a big fan of “heroine amnesia” as a plot device. I tend to feel that the heroine is being compromised because she is not giving what attorneys would call “informed consent” to a relationship with the hero. She has little or no memory. And, as a result, has diminished control over the situation.

As a case in point, Tyler believes Charlotte when she says: “I’m not involved with anyone. I never have been.” It is an accurate statement as far as she knows. But how far does she really know? In addition, I was uncomfortable that Tyler would have unprotected sex with a woman who has no memory of her past and who literally showed up on his doorstep mere days before.

That said, Wootson’s writing style kept me interested in what happened to these two characters who were Snowbound With Love. The author’s debut novel has earned her a spot on my Emerging Author’s List as one to watch. I look forward to her next book.

--Gwendolyn Osborne


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