Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
When a mega company threatens to take over his family-owned business, programming prodigy Adam Preston escapes the stress with a much-needed vacation in the Dominican Republic. There he meets attractive, intelligent, insightful Jonah James, a scuba dive instructor, and what starts as a holiday fling soon blossoms into much more.
But Jonah has a secret: ten years ago he woke up on an island beach with no idea how he got there… or even who he is. Their paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. When Jonah’s memories come crashing back like waves on the sand, will it be Adam clinging to the proverbial life raft, or will the two men find a safe harbor to ride out the storm?
I’m such a fan of the Dreamspun Desires series from Dreamspinner. Here in Forgotten Paradise Shira Anthony plays with the person with amnesia trope, another staple in those romances (still is). Who can resist a MC with a forgotten past? The mystery man! That just screams romance and a history that will come thundering back at some point to break up or threaten whatever couple is the focus. Readers love that, myself included.
Here its Jonah who washed up on the gorgeous shores of the DR ten years ago, almost a tabula rasa. Since then he’s built a life and been happy…almost, except for those pesky headaches. Then Adam Preston comes along with his own basket full of problems hoping to push them aside for a brief holiday of fun in the sun.
The author is so familiar with her location that it jumps to life on the page, the water so blue, the suns shines so brightly I’m surprised I didn’t have to wear sunglasses to read my Kindle. It’s clear she has great affection for that location and the DR in general. So it makes sense to put Jonah there as well. It gave him and Adam a firm foundation for their tentative romance and friendship. That’s needed for when things start to come crashing down.
I have to admit, for the first portion of the story, Adam represents the more fully realized of the two characters, and not just because Jonah is missing 10 years of his memory. Adam’s personal baggage is laden with the fear of failure to his family, duties, self worth, things most people can relate to. That he’s so stressed out he’s unable to unwind? Well I think there are many out there who could relate to that and Adam too.
Jonah represents a bigger question mark and that’s not just the void where 10 years should be. I liked that Anthony had him seek help for his amnesia, that he wasn’t content to ride out his life with a 10 year blank spot (sort of). I didn’t quite believe that. Especially once all of Jonah’s memories came back and then when we switch locations. Its then you realize this Jonah is far more interesting than the one you meet on the island. Turns out you do need the more than just the sweetness here.
The second half of the story deals with the repercussions of the recovered memory, not only for Jonah but for everyone he left behind and Adam as well. It’s a far more intricate and interesting story, as it deals with a past Jonah as well as the one he became. I almost wish there had been more of this but then I can hear the complaints that we didn’t get enough of the couple before to connect with so I guess there’s just more I’d want, a common refrain.
There is one element there irritates me and I can’t go into it here without a huge spoiler but it deals with a best friend of Jonah’s and an action of his. To me how it was handled still feels all wrong. But that’s just me.
Forgotten Paradise by Shira Anthony is another lovely romance from the Dreamspun Desires series. You get a HEA for a great couple and a visit to a paradise that will make you want to book a flight immediately.
Cover art by Bree Archer goes straight to paradise with the theme.
ebook, Dreamspun Desires #32
Expected publication: April 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332036 (ISBN13: 9781635332032)