Forgotten Marriage, by Paula Roe
Full disclosure: I won my copy of this book in an author hosted contest; it has two of my personal hot buttons (aka plot devices that tend to irritate me), amnesia and a secret pregnancy; and at under 200 pages, it’s quite a bit shorter than I usually like.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
Memories of marriage
A tragic accident has erased pieces of billionaire Finn Sørensen’s memory. Including all recollection of his wife. But what wife? The one he’d been told had married him for his money?
Ally McKnight’s image was burned into Finn’s memory from pictures that captured the passion between them. It was time she received a surprise visit from her long-lost husband—the one who wouldn’t let her forget just what she owed him.
Finn and Ally have known each other for a little over six months when they marry. This impulsive decision haunts them both when they return to Denmark, Finn’s homeland. There, he is one of the golden few—the son and heir apparent of Nikolai Sørensen, of the famed Sørensen Silver. Paparazzi and bodyguards follow him around, and his life and heart seem to revolve exclusively around the company.
Ally is already struggling to understand Finn’s omission to explain his circumstances in detail before their marriage; the overwhelming stress of trying to learn to cope with all the trappings, restrictions, and expectations of this life only complicates matters further. Eventually, things come to a head, and she leaves him to return to Australia. He sends her back all her letters, photographs, and other mementos of their time together.
A few weeks later, Finn and his father are in a car accident. Finn suffers a head injury that damages his memory, and eventually Nikolai dies—but not before telling Finn that he has changed his will, disinheriting his current wife, and leaving Ally controlling interest in the company instead. Upon his death, however, no one can put his hands on that codicil—which means that the gold-digging wife can still ruin the company and leave quite a few thousand people unemployed.
Faced with divorce papers while having no memories of Ally or of their marriage, coupled with the prospect of losing Sørensen Silver, Finn decides to fly to Australia to confront her. He hopes that her presence will help him recover his memory, and that in turn he’ll remember what happened to the codicil (sic).
What he doesn’t know, and Ally is not particularly eager to tell him—even though she’s hoping he’ll sign the divorce papers while he’s around—is that she’s pregnant. By him. Oh, and she’s currently unemployed, with little to no savings.
While Finn’s reasons to seek Ally out seem more than a tad contrived, his struggle to separate gut feelings, not-quite-there memories, and what he’s been told by third parties who weren’t privy to what went on between Ally and himself, all feel very real. There’s an almost palpable anguish in him at all these confusing and contradictory feelings that keep bombarding him.
There’s the evidence of who he used to be—in his friends, in Ally’s memories, in what he himself can remember. Yet his current feelings and reactions to them are so different, his confusion over them is as sharp as a physical pain.
Ally, on the other hand, irritated me more the more I got to know her. She seems to react—and often like a very young teen—rather than act; for someone in her mid twenties such rashness just rubs me wrong. Add in the fact that she’s pregnant, and I’m about ready to screech.
Did I mention that secret pregnancies drive me crazy?
Still, the intensity of their feelings for each other—both in that previous life Finn can’t quite remember, and in the now—comes through to the reader, fueling their conflicting reactions to each other and their present circumstances. And while the resolution to the main conflicts felt rushed, there is enough chemistry between them for me to believe they could make it work.
For all my complaints, this was a pleasant enough read, so…
6 out of 10