Tuesday, February 12, 2013

WAIT FOR ME by Elisabeth Naughton

Paperback, 266 pages
Published December 22nd 2011 by Elisabeth Naughton
Genre: contemporary romance novel, romantic suspense, pharmaceutical thriller, women's fiction
Rating: 4.5 stars

Kate Alexander is affected by retrograde amnesia. A car accident had landed her in a coma eighteen months before: when she woke up in a Dallas hospital, she had no memory whatsoever of the moment when her Mercedes was reduced to a lump of twisted metal.  What is worse, the head trauma has damaged her long-term memory, so she doesn’t recollect anything about her seven year marriage to doctor Jake Alexander or about their four year old son. In the months following that accident she had to rely on her husband to fill in the huge gaps of her memory loss. When Jake dies in a plane crash, Kate finds evidence (among some of his papers locked in a drawer) that he had lied to her about her identity. Not only her coma had lasted three years instead of a few weeks, she also had been treated in a nursing home in San Francisco (not in Dallas), and apparently she has a family in California, a nine year old daughter and a pharmaceutical tycoon husband. Reconstructive surgery has slightly modified the look of her face and her name is different, but when she moves to San Francisco to conduct some researches on her past, she uncovers a truth that is more confusing that comforting: she is Annie Harrison, beloved wife of Ryan Harrison, ruthless CEO of a pharmaceutical biotech giant. According to the records, she tragically died in a plane crash five years earlier. Her body had never been retrieved, almost certainly incinerated by the fire, but boarding records and personal belongings had been the proof of her presence on the airplane at the moment of the crash. Surviving the grief for the loss of her wife had been particularly difficult for Ryan, the more so because she happened to be pregnant when tragedy struck.
Despite the emotional connection and physical attraction she experiences when she lays eyes on Ryan, Kate can hardly accept the idea of being married to a cutthroat, money-hungry businessman with the reputation of a heartless womanizer. The truth is that, since the alleged death of his wife, the pharmaceutical tycoon has tried to dull the pain of his tragic loss investing every ounce of energy in his job and shielding his heart with countless, no-strings-attached and meaningless flirts. The memory of his deceased wife and their daughter are the only things that keep him grounded, so when he finds out that his wife actually survived the plane crash he is overwhelmed with joy but also devastated by Annie’s amnesia: seeing her alive after five years of believing her dead and not being recognized hurts like loosing her again. Her particular kind of amnesia has modified her personality and behavior: Kate is different from the woman Annie Harrison used to be. For this reason, she also lacks confidence in reconnecting with her past and her husband. She is afraid that Ryan’s love for a woman who doesn’t exist anymore won’t be revived. Despite her fears, Ryan falls in love with his wife all over again, not with a shadow of the past but with the new woman Kate has blossomed into after the coma. 

Elisabeth Naughton is popular among the readers of paranormal romance for her acclaimed series inspired to the Greek Argonaut myth (The Eternal Guardians), but it’s with this fine example of romantic suspense that she’s rapidly climbing up the national book charts: her contemporary novel Wait For Me is reaching the top ranks of The Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestsellers lists and the reasons of its success are evident at every turn of the page. Naughton’s riveting thriller revolves around a pharmaceutical cover-up and it is consistently intriguing and solid enough to keep you engaged from cover to cover. Its appeal is intensified by the author’s good sense of drama (barely a dull moment from page one to the mind-blowing finale), and strong focus on romantic involvement and emotional conflict of the lead couple. All in all, a very gratifying read.

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