Hidden Memories by Robin Allen
(One World/Ballantine, $5.99, R) ISBN 0-345-43257-6
***
In the last two years the American public has learned that strange bedfellows make politics. Hidden Memories, Atlanta author Robin Allen's second novel is a fictional variation on that theme.

Attorney Ramion Sandidge has got it all. A stellar reputation as a criminal defense lawyer, a loving family, a promising political future and a beautiful and resourceful woman on his side.

Ramion has left a successful partnership in a prestigious Atlanta law firm to launch his political career. He is making a run for the Georgia State Senate. His fiancée, Sage Kennedy has agreed to serve as his campaign manager. Sage is ambitious and politically savvy. She has just managed a successful campaign that led to the election of Georgia's first Black governor. She is now the new governor's assistant chief of staff.

Not everyone is happy. Not the governor's opponent in the election, not white supremacist groups and definitely, not Ramion's former lover and law partner, Edwinna Williamson.

Edwinna is the spoiled daughter of Ramion's politically well-connected mentor, Edwin Williamson. Although Sage and Ramion's relationship began long after their breakup, Edwinna blames Sage. Edwinna kicks the "woman scorned" metaphor up several notches into a whole new level. When all else fails to get Ramion's attention, she launches her own campaign for the same Senate seat. Political dirty tricks can't compare to Edwinna machinations.

If dealing with Edwinna weren't enough, there are bombings, threats and cross burnings to contend with. There are sexual harassment charges, a state to govern and a wedding to plan.

Despite all the distractions, the basic romance between Ramion and Sage is believable. He is steadfast in his love for her. Her political skills don't translate into her relationship with Ramion. She tends to be a hothead who speaks and acts first and thinks and apologizes later. ,p> Unfortunately, the romance takes a backseat to the basic theme of hidden memories. All major characters have defining moments in their lives that haunt them. Hidden Memories is a story about family secrets and loyalties and political intrigue. It is a well-written and fast paced story. Fans who enjoyed Robin Allen's first novel, Breeze, will probably enjoy Hidden Memories.

Hidden Memories has been reissued by One World/Ballantine. The novel, first published in 1997 by the smaller Genesis Press, is now available in the standard 4" x 7" size and at half the original price.

The book is rated R for language, a lesbian relationship and a graphic rape scene.

--Gwendolyn Osborne


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