Dana and Bethany review Please Remember Me by Jacob Z. Flores (Published by Dreamspinner Press, February 6, 2015, 256 pages)
Why we read this:
Dana – I am a big fan of Jacob Z. Flores’s writing and the blurb sounded so interesting. I jumped at the chance to co-review with Bethany when we were given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Bethany – When Jacob posted the cover and blurb a while back I knew it was one I would need to read. So when we were offered an ARC in exchange for an honest review I jumped at the chance to review it.
Blurb: Successful lawyer Santi Herrera couldn’t be happier with the direction his life is taking. Not only is he on track to becoming a partner in his law firm, but he’s planning his wedding to Hank Burton, a south Texas contractor who has made a name for himself despite his humble beginnings. The introverted lone wolf Santi and the friendly, outgoing Hank complement each other perfectly. From the moment they laid eyes on each other, they were hooked, and as far as Santi and Hank are concerned, a happily ever after is their destiny.
But fate deals them a devastating new hand.
A construction accident leaves Hank with severe head trauma and brings him precariously close to death. When he finally awakens, Hank doesn’t remember Santi or the love they shared for the past three years. Santi faces the greatest challenge of his life. Can he respark a flame his lover can’t recall? And can he stop the diverging paths that fickle fate charts between them?
Santi has faith in the love he and Hank shared and in the words his father once spoke to him: “It’s never too late to fall in love. All over again.”
If you want a book that takes you on a roller coaster of emotions, this one is for you. The story starts with Hank in the hospital, still unconscious. As the story moves forward in the present, the moments leading up to the accident are told in flashback sequences through the eyes of Santi.
From the dedication and character descriptions, the inspiration for Hank was the author’s real life partner. It was a simple jump from there, to put the author in as Santi, in my head anyway. It made the story feel much more vivid to me. It made me feel a little sadder at the difficult moments and cheer even harder for them, imagining them as real life people and not just characters in the book.
Though this is not the first book out there featuring amnesia as a stumbling block for the main characters, there was something in the telling of it that made it feel unique to me. I was very immersed in the characters world and their feelings.
For the most part, I sympathized with the character of Santi. His life was turned upside down by Hanks accident. The wedding day he planned was canceled, or at least put on an indefinite hold. The man he shared everything with didn’t remember him. Not that Hank can be blamed for his memory loss but because they seemed to fall into insta-love/lust the first time around, I kept thinking it should just happen that way again. Only Hank’s memory loss didn’t just go back to the time he met Santi, but to years before when he was in a different mindset, and in love with another man.
I was frustrated, hurt, and angry, just like Santi was. But time moved on, and Santi tried not to push too much, because really, I understand that pressure to feel a certain way or act a certain way was not what Hank needed. They do manage to start to build new bridges together, but secret texts, insecurity and doubt worked as road blocks in the road to a happy ever after.
Beyond the plot of hoping Hank would regain his memories or fall in love with Santi all over again, this story is about true love. A love so strong that you put the happiness of the other person above your own. Whether it means helping the person you love to mend fences with their estranged parents, moving several states away from your friends and hometown to be together, or letting them go and giving them the space to find what makes them happy.
The supporting characters in this book were also great. From Santi’s pushy and funny best friend Jill, and Hanks best friends Darren and Mitch who became his family when he was kicked out. Santi’s parents, though dead, inspired Santi to have faith in his relationship with Hank; whose parents were not the most understanding. One of the most surprising and pleasing growth that a character made was Hank’s father and it made the story even more special. Hank and Santi were an inspiring and sweet couple, and I am so glad to have experienced their story.
The fact that half of this book took place almost in my backyard, had me grinning like a loon. That is till I read the first few paragraphs, the waterworks started.
There is no other way to describe this book other than beautifully heartbreaking and healing all at once. I will be the first to admit I am an emotional person, yes I cry at the puppies from the super bowl commercials, yes I get misty eyed when out of the blue one of my kids tells me they love me. I do not apologize for being that person. I think a good cry is therapeutic. Well Jacob where do I send the therapy bill cause I cried through a good chunk of this book. Started off with sad tears, some happy tears, some frustrated tears and all other emotions you can think of.
The second Hank tells the Dr. that he has no clue who Santi is, I knew I was in for one heck of a roller coaster ride. And to add to those emotions, it is hard to not see the parallels in the author’s real life which makes it that much more real. You feel like you are actually taking this journey with these two. Cue the ugly tears. I really like how we start off in the present but have flashbacks of the past letting us know how these two got to where they are today. Sometimes it was by chapters and other times it was in the middle of a chapter and I never once felt lost, like I didn’t know if it was the present or the past.
Oh Santi, I wanted to wrap him in a hug and let him know all would be ok with the world and that Hank would remember all those good times. Yet when Santi accepted that Hank might never recover those memories you can see the strength he has inside of him. He doesn’t let that stop him from loving Hank, he just realizes that it might be time to make new memories, and that he could remember the last three years for the both of them. Happy tears can enter here.
Now Hank, well the only thing I can say about Hanks is, oh I love him so much. Funny charming, and NOT what you would be expecting of a 6’2″ wall of muscle. But you know what they say about judging a book by its cover. As much as I loved gentle Hank there were times I wanted smack him upside the head, hoping that would jog his memories, for the pain he was unknowingly causing Santi. Hey look there are the frustrated tears.
All around this book is fantastic, the cast of supporting characters are brilliant. It was nice to see the support network these two called friends and family. I was worried about the roll Hanks parent would play after hearing what happened when Hank came out to them. It was a refreshing take and that was a big plus for me. As was the dynamic that Hank had with Mitch and Darren, and Santi and Jill.
Hank and Sant’s relationship is real, it is put through rough times testing them. But as much as they have to go through you also get to see the utter devotion they have for one another. No they were not always on the same page but they never stopped fighting. I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, but I think I took up enough of your time. It is one that I highly recommend you get. Heartbreak and healing, what more could you want?
Jacob Z. Flores lives a double life. During the day, he is a respected college English professor and mid-level administrator. At night and during his summer vacation, he loosens the tie and tosses aside the trendy sports coat to write man on man fiction, where the hardass assessor of freshmen level composition turns his attention to the firm posteriors and other rigid appendages of the characters in his fictional world.
Summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, provide Jacob with inspiration for his fiction. The abundance of barely clothed man flesh and daily debauchery stimulates his personal muse. When he isn’t stroking the keyboard, Jacob spends time with his daughter. They both represent a bright blue blip in an otherwise predominantly red swath in south Texas.