Remember Me
by Laura Moore
(Ballantine, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0-345-48276-1
****
Picture your intrepid reviewer sitting in a Red Cross shelter, listening to a blizzard rage outside.  Imagine how much in need of entertainment said reviewer would be.  Think of her gratitude when the book she threw hurriedly into her tote as the rescue squad waited to escort her and her husband to warmth and shelter turned out to be engrossing and entertaining.  Thusly may you have some idea of my appreciation for Laura Moore’s Remember Me. 

I should note that there is every chance that, even ensconced in my comfy reading chair, I would have enjoyed this book.  Though I haven’t been on a horse in decades, have never been to a horse race or an equestrian event, and never really suffered from teenage equine-philia, I have always had a soft spot for romance novels set in horse country.  Remember Me is such a story.

Margot Radcliffe is the daughter of a rich and successful horse breeder.  The family estate, Rosewood, has been in the family for generations.  As a teenager, Margot was fascinated by the workings of the farm, by the horses, and by the assistant trainer, Travis Maher.  At eighteen and on the cusp of womanhood, she hopes that Travis will recognize that she is no longer the brat who made his life miserable.  She hopes that her father will see that she is capable of playing a role in the family business.  When both men reject her aspirations, at the suggestion of a well-known photographer, she flees to New York to give modeling a try.

Eight years later, Margot is in Milan for the fall fashion extravaganza.  She is at the top of the modeling world.  Her face and form have appeared on all the fashion magazines and on billboard throughout the world.  Then comes a phone call which changes her life.  Her older sister Jordan calls to tell her that her father and stepmother have been in an airplane accident.  Her stepmother is dead and her father is fighting for his life.  Margot immediately heads back to the United States to gather her sixteen-year old half sister, Jade, from boarding school and to rush to her father’s side.   She and Jade arrive just in time to say good-bye to their dying father.  RJ’s last words are, “Take care of her Margot.” Margot does not realize exactly what her father is asking of her.

The sisters soon discover that all is not what it seems at Rosewood.  Their father had suffered serious financial reverses before his death and there is a real danger that the farm will have to be sold.  Moreover, shortly before his death, RJ had had a falling out with his trainer, Travis, who has become one of the most respected horsemen in the east.  If Margot is to save Rosewood, she has to find the financial resources to support the farm and she has to lure Travis back.

Travis had left Rosewood when RJ had accused him of sleeping with his wife.  Nicole had been a piece of work; she had tried to alienate RJ from his older daughters and especially from Margot.  But Travis could not believe that the man who had given the son of the town drunk a chance to excel could have believed that he would betray his mentor.  He had never been immune to the young Margot’s charms.  He had spurned her youthful advances because he believed himself unworthy of the daughter of Rosewood.  But when Margot approaches him about returning to the farm, how can he refuse?  She has been in his head for years.

The conflict between Travis and Margot arises because he doesn’t understand why she continues her modeling career (and is more than a little jealous of the glamorous life she has led) and because she is afraid that he will leave Rosewood if he knows how parlous the farm’s financial situation is.  While one could have wished that the two could have leveled with each other about their feelings, one can understand their reticence.

Margot has more than her share of problems.  She has to deal with running the farm, helping her unhappy teenage sister, supporting her older sister through marital problems, and figuring out her relationship with Travis.  If she hesitates to be completely honest with Travis, she is still remembering his unkind rejection of her eight years earlier.  She comes across as a strong and attractive heroine.

Travis is a man who has accomplished much but who is not completely free from his unpromising origins. His insecurity about Margot’s intentions is understandable.< P> Remember Me is an enjoyable reunion romance.  Margot and Travis were separated by circumstances beyond their control.  That other circumstances bring them back together where they ought to be is most satisfying.  I will be looking for the next two books in Moore’s “Rosewood Trilogy.” Remember Me is very, very close to “keeper” status for me, and not just because it got me through a blizzard with my spirits intact. 

--Jean Mason


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