Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oh, The Tangled Webs We Weave...

Recently I got the chance to read Tangled Memories by a fellow Kentucky Romance Writer Jan Scarbrough.

I had been eager to read this story for quite some time and found myself devouring it in the span of 2 days. I started it on Monday and finished it last night just before I went to bed- with tears in my eyes.

I'm not usually one to read books in electronic format, but I toted my laptop back and forth from the living room to the kitchen while I fixed supper and help my daughter with homework. In fact, at one point my 7 year-old looks up at me because she'd heard a sniffle from my direction and she jumped up to hug me, asking why I was crying. Not exactly something you can explain to a 7 year-old, but I was enjoying the story so much I sort of lost track of where I was.

Now, I don't normally do reviews, so much as recommendations, but this story was definitely worth the wait and I wanted to share. Set in modern time, it's a marriage of convenience tale, but with a twist.

Fate. Karma. Kismet. Call it what you want, but in the end, it's about two souls combined...that's why they are soul mates.

Tangled Memories find Mary Adams reluctantly wed to Dr. Alexander Dominican under the pretense of killing two birds with one stone. The tragic death of Mary's husband has left her deeply in debt thanks to his gambling addiction. Alex needs a mother for his infant daughter, who's own mother died shortly after childbirth from cancer.

Alex's proposal of marriage, nothing more than a business deal, seems the perfect answer to both their problems. Alex is content in the knowledge he's given his child a mother, and in some respects, the mother he never had, all the while Mary has been given a second chance at being a mother herself, after having a miscarriage in her youth that prevented her from having children of her own. It's a void she has felt in the years since.

Nothing could have prepared Mary for the firestorm of vivid dreams and visions she would be subjected to upon marrying Alex. The sudden uncharacteristic attraction to him leaves her weak-kneed, yet lonely for a husband who truly loves and desires her. Her fears and anxiety bubble to the surface in her new home, a gothic medieval museum to the past, made to seem even more so with the looming suits of armor, the dark rich tapestries, the hateful housekeeper, the mute servant Rufus and an invalid father tucked away in the shadows. It couldn't get anymore gothic than that.

Each time the overwhelming hallucinations propel her back in time, she becomes an invisible observer of another woman's life. A young girl who's life seems to parallel Mary's in ways that even she can't begin to fathom and awakens a desire to have a true, real marriage rather than the farce she and Alex have committed themselves to.

As the visions grow in intensity, so does the malicious attacks on her sanity. Someone is destroying her belongings, threatening her to leave, and even putting Alex's young daughter's life in danger. When Alex brushes off her concerns, her suspicions of his trusted servants, Mary has no where to turn.

A bond keeps drawing her and Alex back to each other, keeping her there when everything else tells her she should go. Could he grow to love her? There were moments when she thought so, moments when she pondered that they were the couple in the past, the ones in her dreams.

How could that be? It was crazy and she wouldn't dare breathe a word of it to Alex or he'd have her tucked away in a padded cell somewhere. Or doped up on pills to keep her crazies at bay.

But just suppose for a moment that Love IS eternal...that it transcends time and lasts forever....that two souls, who've loved once and deeply, will continue to journey through the fabric of time to find each love each other again and again, because I'd like to believe that...I'd like to believe that "love never dies."

And if that's so— wouldn't you do anything you could to make certain you found it, held onto it and cherished for as long as this lifetime would allow you?

Okay...that's enough from me. I hope I've given this book a just appraisal and I have a feeling I'll be reading it again before I know it. It's definitely a keeper for me. If you follow the link at the top, you will find your way to Jan's website page for the book, though, at the moment it is out of print, but it will be reissued the summer of 2011. If you click on Jan's name above, it links you to her Facebook author page.


Maddie James/Kim Jacobs said...

Taryn, I've known of this book of Jan's forever, but your appraisal of it gives the most justice of any review I've ever read. Beautiful story, beautiful book, beautiful appraisal....

Katie Michaels said...

What a beautiful tribute to Jan's book! I critiqued the first part of this book back in the 1990s and read the paperback version (I forget if it was Kensington or Resplendence.) Jan's quite a storyteller with lots of angst. (I love angst in my romances!)

Unknown said...

Thanks Maddie and Katie. It truly is a wonderful story and as Jan told me, she's wanted to write another Gothic...I sure hope she does! :D