Just Married...Again
by Charlotte Hughes
(Loveswept 902, $3.75, R) ISBN 0-553-44702-5
Just Married…Again is the story of an almost-divorced couple making an attempt to reconcile. The forced companionship of two people who would ordinarily never reconnect is a standard plot device. But lordy, lordy, how many times does it have to be "snowbound-in-a-cabin"?

Unfortunately, that was only one of the rather shaky plot devices holding this book together, and ultimately I just couldn't connect with the characters or the story. Perhaps you'll have a more positive reaction than I did.

Michael Kelly, hotshot lawyer, is on the fast track to success. He's a full partner in a prestigious Charlotte law firm and has all the trappings of yuppie hyper-consumerism: Rolex, two BMWs, fancy condo. But he's lost his wife in the process. So busy working 70-hour weeks that he had no time for Maddy, Michael's world came crashing down when she walked out. Now the divorce is almost final, and Michael can't find his wife to try and rebuild their shattered marriage.

Maddy can't forgive, or forget, that when she was losing their baby to a miscarriage, Michael was too busy working to come to the hospital. In fact, he hadn't wanted the baby at all. So when they both show up at their mountain cabin for a quiet Thanksgiving weekend, Maddy mistakes Michael for an intruder and brains him with a fireplace poker. This brings on amnesia and Michael, for a time, can't remember who Maddy is. When he regains his memory, he decides to keep it quiet and hope that he can convince Maddy to fall in love with him again.

They have an unwanted guest in the form of Michael's thirteen-year-old nephew, who has smuggled himself into the back seat of Michael's Jeep. Danny is cocky, brash, and just begging for a comeuppance.

This is one of those romances where there would be no conflict if the main characters would just talk to one another. And the more their past is revealed, the more the reader finds that virtually all of their troubles originated from the fact that they didn't communicate. We find that Maddy, for instance, had been seeing a therapist before she left. Did she tell Michael? No. She decided that the marriage was over and walked out. Since most therapists avow that communication is the key to successful marriage, this struck me as utterly immature on her part.

When Michael's phony amnesia comes to light, there's a big misunderstanding based on lightning-quick assumptions, again because these two people won't be honest with one another. It was tiresome and had the effect of making me not care whether they got together or not. Danny seemed to exist only as a means to divert their attention while staying in the cabin. Too bad. They should have been talking, and then talking some more. The cabin sequence went on too long, as though the author had fifty pages to fill and didn't know what to do next.

Just Married…Again was a miss for me. If you enjoy "snowbound-in-the-cabin" stories, maybe you'll have better luck.

--Cathy Sova

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