I don’t often read straight romance, especially when it’s laced with women’s fiction. However, Deb Raney’s Remember to Forget was a book I couldn’t put down. It was rich in every way: characters, plot, heart. So when I heard Leaving November was finally releasing, I had to read it.
After years away, Vienne (pronounced like Vienna without the A) Kenney finds herself back in Clayburn, Kansas, all of her dreams of escape in ashes at her feet. Jack Linder is returning to town after nine-months in rehab. Both wonder if the townspeople will embrace them as they try to leave the past behind and move into the future.
Vienne’s dream of being a lawyer and making her mark on the world absent the shadow of her alcoholic father are dashed at the same time it becomes clear that she can’t leave Clayburn after her mother has a stroke. She turns her turmoil into a remodel of the café her mother has run for years. Ready or not, Clayburn is getting a coffee bar. In the process of remodeling, she runs into her high school crush Jack Linder. Sparks begin to fly, until she’s faced with his recovering alcoholism.
This book is a gritty portrayal of recovery. Both for the alcoholic and those impacted by the alcoholism. Deb writes the story with a heart that kept me firmly on both sides of the fence. It was so easy to get in the shoes of each character and understand why they made the choices they did.
At the same time, the book was about so much more. Small town America life. The prejudices we apply to certain segments in our communities. How the past can haunt us decades later. All these themes and more are woven together seamlessly in a way that made me think as I read.
Nothing is easy for Vienne and Jack. But then things rarely are in real life. And I wanted to argue with some of the decisions they made – especially Vienne. But each of those decisions I wanted to argue I could see myself making if in the same position.
This book was a satisfying book that made me think as I read. I can’t wait for the next installment from Clayburn. Please tell me there is another one!
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of this book, please leave a comment here. I’ll draw the winner next week.