Long-lost Wife? By Barbara Faith

 My rating: 3 out of 5.

Here’s a classic amnesia tale for us to share. A woman wakes up in a hospital with a bad concussion and injuries to a man telling her she is his wife. Is she?

Annabel wakes up in a hospital in Nassau, Bahamas heavily bandaged and injured. A man named Luis Alarcon tells her she is his wife, but she can’t remember anything, not even her name. She's almost sure she is not his wife, though he insists she is. She was found in a life raft after floating in the ocean for three days and was almost dead. She had a gold doubloon in her pocket and nothing else to identify her.

Luis takes her back to  San Sebastian, an island he owns, where he hopes Annabel regain her memories.  Luis, for the most part, is patient with her, but sometimes the little head does the thinking for the big head and he ends up harassing his own wife. Meanwhile, he has an ulterior motive for bringing back Annabel to a secluded island: for most of his life he’s been searching for the sunken ship of his ancestors that contains silver, jewels, and gold doubloons, and he’s convinced that Annabel knows where it is.

Annabel is not an annoying, helpless heroine waiting for things to happen to her. She is trying to get back her memories while trying to prevent the temptation of getting too close to her husband because she's not sure who he says he is. She has reasons to be suspicious of him. She has clothes in her closet that are brand-new and never been worn and when she asks Luis about them, he’s unable to look her in the eye and tells her some flimsy excuse.

Luis is a funny hero. He tries so hard to be patient and understanding to Annabel, but the second she puts on something remotely sexy or gets close to him, he turns into a hormonal horn-dog. She tells him she’s not ready because it’s too soon and she doesn’t even know him and he backs away, apologizing and telling her he’ll never do it again until the next time. He’s basically stalking her at every corner, humping her leg. The thing is, Luis used to be a controlling asshole: he’d tell Annabel what to wear, what books to read, what music to listen to. He felt he had to be domineering because Annabel was only twenty-one when they got married and he was already thirty. She was quite young compared to him and he felt it was up to him to mold her into the woman he wants. In short, she leaves his controlling ass and goes back to Miami.

She gets on with her life and starts dating a guy called Mark Croydon whose parents are very rich and interested in salvaging sunken ships. Mark’s dad gets in touch with a guy who used to work for Luis and had stolen the charts and maps he and Annabel had worked on. He convinces the guy to finance his expedition and the guy agrees, provided he and his family can come along. Unfortunately, once they get to their destination, the bad guy shows his true colors and kills the family, leaving Annabel for dead.

Why would Annabel agree to go with these people to the site of the sunken ship when she knows that it’s Luis’s dream to find it? That’s the one thing I don’t get. Maybe I missed the explanation or something, but how bad would she have felt if they found the treasure and Luis missed out on it? Pretty damn bad, I’d say.



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