Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review: Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze

Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze
Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
Date Published: March 2010
Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah
Source: I won a copy from Kathleen at CelticLady's Reviews. Thank you Kathleen!
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book description (from the publisher's website):
Crossroads Crisis Center owner Benjamin Brandt was a content man—in his faith, his work, and his family.  Then in a flash, everything he loved was snatched away.  His wife and son were murdered, and grief-stricken Ben lost faith.  Determination to find their killers keeps him going, but after three years of dead ends and torment, his hope is dying too.  Why had he survived?  He’d failed to protect his family. 
Now, a mysterious woman appears at Crossroads seeking answers and help—a victim who eerily resembles Ben’s deceased wife, Susan.  A woman robbed of her identity, her life, of everything except her faith—and Susan’s necklace.
The connections between the two women mount, exceeding coincidence, and to keep the truth hidden, someone is willing to kill.  Finding out who and why turns Ben and the mystery woman’s situation from dangerous to deadly.  Their only hope for survival is to work together, trust each other, and face whatever they discover head on, no matter how painful. But will that be enough to save their lives and heal their tattered hearts?

This book opens up with a woman on the run from shadowy figures that want her dead. Then she is attacked in New Orleans and left in a field in Florida--with amnesia. She doesn't know why she is still alive or why they took her to Florida, but she does know that she really doesn't want to be there. From there, the story takes us to Crossroads Crisis Center, which the woman only knows about because she has a card for the center in her pocket. When she arrives, everyone is stunned to see how similar she looks to the wife of the center's owner, who was murdered three years earlier. Then, the race is on to try and discover exactly who she is and who wants her dead, because even though she's alive, it becomes pretty clear that someone doesn't want her to stay that way for long.

This was a really suspenseful story with a pretty gripping beginning. The mystery of who this woman is and what she witnessed that has her running for her life pulls the reader through every twist and turn in the story. And there are twists and turns aplenty. It was exciting to see how different details and characters that seemed to have little to do with each other eventually connected at the end. Although it's revealed fairly early on who most of the bad guys are, there are a couple of surprise baddies at the end too. It was kind of interesting trying to understand the motives as well, which were complicated for the guys who carjacked the woman.

Faith had an important place in this mystery. Even though the woman couldn't remember her name or where she lived, she did remember her faith in God and leaned on Him a lot during the book. Her faith helped her to stay calm in the midst of frightening circumstances and reminded her to be patient with Ben, the crisis center's owner, who was skeptical of her story at first. He had walked away from God after his wife and son were murdered, but her unwavering faith really helped him to reassess that part of his life and regain his spiritual walk.

The romance aspect was the one part that didn't work that well for me--I thought it was a little weird that these two would develop feelings for each other in the midst of the crisis center being bombed and assassins breaking into the compound where they were staying. All of that on top of the woman not knowing who she was and Ben struggling with his own feelings about her looking so much like his wife, his loss of faith, and his feeling of betrayal of his family. It just seemed so complicated and fast-paced to inject romance into the situation. But this deficit didn't make me lose interest in what was an exciting mystery, and was probably just a personal feeling on my part--other readers may not feel the same way.

Forget Me Not was picked by the ACFW Book Club as their July 2010 read (click here to learn more about the book club) and it should be a fun discussion. There is just something I love about reading mysteries during the summer, so I think this would be a fabulous summertime read.


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