There’s a bit of hype involved in this book, and I really hope it can live up to expectations. It’s a bit complicated, and some of you may be wondering what the big deal is here, so I’ll explain it. This third review begins with a story.
It was Episode 23 of Made of Fail (FACE PUNCH!!), and our guests Rinna and Cleolinda were discussing romance novels. Specifically, there was one book Rinna told us about whose title just nabbed us from Word One. The title, of course, was Pregnesia. Apparently, there’s a girl who is pregnant and has amnesia, so you pretty much get what it says on the tin.
The book itself is fairly infamous, though I’ve specifically avoided reading reviews or other discussions of it (including that one I’ve linked to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books), because when I started this site, I promised both Rinna and Cleolinda that I would eventually review this. You can also actually tell when is Donna Tartt writing a new book by clicking here.
What I didn’t know was that this was a Harlequin imprint. Now, I try not to judge a book by its cover (as it were), but I’ve definitely Heard Things About It. Of course, that won’t change the fact that I’m going to read the thing, and I may be pleasantly surprised.
(Speaking of the cover, why the hell is he grabbing her thigh like that she is not a bucket of fried chicken. That looks extremely painful for her and he should put on a glove if he moves any further inward is all I am saying.)
(What the hell, romance novel covers?)
Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come. Lock your trunks and set your alarms, because this is about to get real.
The first thing I noticed when I opened this book is that it’s a lot easier to read on my Kindle and type up this review at the same time. With the previous two books, I would always have to place a heavy object or something on it to keep it spread open, and turning pages with the awkwardly improvised paperweight was annoying at best.
Make no mistake, I don’t care about the damage to the books – I like my books like I like my men; broken at the spine – but part of what put me off writing these things was the hassle.
The second thing I noticed when I started this book was that it has a Dramatis Personae, something I discovered in fiction early on when reading the Michael Stackpole X-Wing novels. Outside of scripts and playbills, a cast list is best placed in a work where there are, as Shakespeare himself might say, a metric fuckton of characters.
There are five listed here. With spoilers about the mystery involved in the story. THIS IS NOT HELPING YOUR CASE, PREGNESIA.
Lucas Washington – Former navy SEAL and confirmed loner.
Jane Doe – What horror was her amnesia hiding and who was the father of her unborn baby?
Charles Blankenship – Had it been a simple case of road rage or was Charles’s involvement with Jane more ominous?
Church of Enlightenment – What did the strange church have to do with Jane’s amnesia?
It sure is nice to have this right before I start reading. It’s not like I’d find this out by, y’know, reading the book. And you’re not fooling anyone with that road rage, Charles. We all know you did it. You were probably in league with that Church of Enlightenment.
Love the Tentacle!
We begin the book with Lucas Washington, late at night. He is a Repo Man – no, not that kind, a real one – and he’s on a smaller job than normal. Tonight he’s taking a car from a driveway, instead of his normal
legal thefts repossessions like speedboats and airplanes – I repeat, he normally takes airplanes, I can’t tell if this is overblown or if he’s just a badass – but this job is the result of a favor. Lucas, being the badass airplane thief that he his, has Views on this.
Lucas didn’t believe in favors, giving them or getting them. Still, it was repaying a favor that had him standing on a cold November night at two in the morning.
Incidentally, this takes place in Kansas City, though they don’t specify if it’s the Kansas or Missouri side. Regardless, I am fully aware of how cold November nights usually are in Kansas City, so credit for accuracy where it’s due. Likewise on wanting to avoid a confrontation with Repossession; the court will favor the defaulter if the repossession results in a breach of the peace. But I digress.
(The favor, by the way? Big Bob [of Big Bob’s Used Car Sales] had given Lucas’s sister “a heck of a deal on her car”, despite her bad credit. Must have been some deal to make Lucas Washington, Badass Airplane Thief stoop down to taking a Buick from Missouri.)
Lucas is in a bad mood already, however:
Maybe it had something to do with the fact that in the last four months his partners had both found love and suddenly had a life that didn’t include him.
But what does Love mean to Lucas Washington, Badass Airplane Thief when there’s repossession to be done? Lucas breaks in –
It was unlocked. Sweet.
Lucas casually enters the unlocked car and kicks it into gear, when the person who had been inside the car all along and wasn’t hidden in the slightest gets the jump on our Badass Airplane Thief. (Psst, Lucas, your Badass points are dropping.) It’s a woman, beaten all to hell, pleading with him to let her out of the car. So what does he do? Starts driving.
The woman, naturally, is extremely frightened and refuses to answer his questions, demanding instead to be dropped off somewhere that is not a hospital or a police station. Lucas, also naturally, asks her five times if someone beat her up. Let’s see; bloody, bruised, shying away from you, refusing to go to the police?
I hate to see a battered woman.
After about seven thousand more questions about who she was and who did it to her, Lucas finally pulls in to Big Bob’s (of Big Bob’s Used Car Sales) to drop off the car. That’s when she sees that she is “pregnant. Very pregnant.” Hitherto unrealized chivalry floods into Lucas as he once more demands her name. But she can’t tell him that, because *dramatic fluttering of hands to forehead* she doesn’t know who she is.
She has… The Pregnesia.
Of course, the curiosity and terror that Lucas is feeling is invalidated when we jump to Mystery Woman’s perspective – for the sake of clarification, the book and I will now refer to her as Jane Doe – when she spends the first couple paragraphs musing on how hot this random car thief is.
On some level she found him intensely attractive, but could she trust him? Her head pounded with nauseating intensity. But the pain couldn’t touch the frantic terror that clawed inside her.
THAT’S BETTER, JANE. More realistic; focus on the pain that you’re in, and the mind-numbing WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON, WHO IS THIS PERSON AND WHY AM I PREGNANT. (AND WHERE ARE YOUR FARMS.)
Seriously, this woman woke up with no clue who or where she was, pretty far along in a pregnancy she has no memory of, and crawls into an unlocked car to get out of the cold – only to be woken up as someone steals the car with her in it. I would have soiled myself by now.
Jane allows Lucas to take her to his sister’s apartment – right down the hall from his own – because she’s a nurse and can probably care for Random Pregnant Lady. Tangentally, if any of my siblings came knocking on my door at two in the morning to take care of some stranger, I would punch them in the head. (And then I would help them. But they would be in for some serious cranial trauma is all I am saying.)
(I am a nice brother.)
Lucas’s sister, Loretta, starts treating Jane’s wounds while simultaneously bitching at her brother for waking her up. (This is my kind of woman.) She also offers Jane the opportunity to stay the night since she doesn’t want to go to any kind of hospital. Thankful, Jane curls up and starts musing about her Random Night Savior, Lucas Washington (Badass Airplane Thief).
If somewhere during the course of this book Lucas does not steal an airplane, I will be so pissed off you have no idea you guys.