A young woman wakes up, bruised and battered, in a hostile environment where she cannot remember her name or anything about her past life, and cannot understand her husband's hate towards her, until the pieces begin to fall together and reveal what really happened. This was one of the more sexist and offensive Harlequin novels of the "vintage style" that I've read,and they're all pretty misogynistic. The story centers around Sally, a pretty young woman who has suffered amnesia after being found bruised and beaten in the woods of California, protecting a small girl named Carla. Carla's twin toddler brother Charles is still missing, however, and has been missing for two years. They are Sally's children with her husband, David - who hates her. Sally is informed, upon waking up, that she slept with other people when she was married to David and declared that she loved her doctor James, and was suspected of having an affair with Don, the guy believed to have abducted the twins. Now David hates her and her doctor James joins David in guilt-tripping and slut-shaming her for things she does not remember doing.
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Not once does Sally stand up for herself, instead crying pathetically and innocently about everything they accuse her of doing and insisting she cannot remember where Charles is. Over the next month she recuperates physically in the hospital under the care of her misogynistic doctor (all the men are incredibly misogynistic in this deeply offensive novel, but it's portrayed in a positive way). David continues to check on her, full of poisonous hate and determination to get his son back. It's clear that he is attracted to her and that she pathetically wants his protection, but there is no softness between them. David gets jealous as handsome men appear with good wishes and gifts and sends them off, telling the puzzled Sally that they are her lovers. It is clear that he does not really believe that she has amnesia, and that she is just playing.
When she is discharged from the hospital, Sally begins to slowly acclimatize herself to life with David and baby Carla on the beautiful family home, though she gets jealous and angry when she realizes that David's beautiful secretary, Alicia, wants him. To make matters worse, Sally learns that the doctor James divorced his wife because Sally framed him for having an affair with her, which never happened. Sally believes all of this and feels like a horrible person. This cycle of events continues - outings with David, hating David and yet wanting him, constantly being slut-shamed and feeling horrible about herself, never wondering where her son Charles is - for far too long. Then a man tries to rape her after making it clear that he hates her, and Sally is helpless with fear until David bursts into the storage room and saves her. He suddenly starts being nice and tender to Sally now, because clearly a woman who resists rape is not a slut. Sally becomes his secretary and starts to love him, but feels jealous when he spends time with Alicia. Because all of this is more important than her missing son. Eventually, after David's yacht catches fire and Sally is being pursued by David's brother, who intends to murder her, the trauma causes Sally to remember what happened after reading old newspaper clippings.
Sally is not Sally at all, but rather Megan, the younger cousin of the Sally who had been killed on another boat fire two years ago in London - by David's brother Stefano. With Megan's messed up face due to the battery she had taken, plus her strong resemblance to Sally, she had been mistaken for Sally when she'd been found, especially since she was carrying Carla. She had killed Don when he turned his gun on her and Carla, and fallen unconscious after the car crash. Sally had hatched a plan with Don and David's brother to kill David and split his fortune between them all. While Megan finds her way into the safe custody of the police, David hunts down his brother once he is released from jail and sees that his brother is in handcuffs, and then comes to collect a shaken Megan. He apologizes for everything, and they tell each other they love each other, and the novel ends as they fall into bed.
Best part of story, including ending:
I hated how badly it was written and how flat and sexist the characters were.
Best scene in story:
For sheer horrible hilarity, the scene where Megan/Sally wakes up and her doctor - who is supposed to be her caretaker - immediately starts telling her what a whore she is and how she's an awful woman.
Opinion about the main character:
Hated the heroine for being spineless. Hated the hero for being an abusive misogynist.