In Elizabeth’s (Showdown, 2014, etc.) latest novel, an Aussie man living in Thailand in 2004 has his world turned upside down when he discovers an unconscious, apparently amnesiac American woman washed up on his boat.
When Colin Carlyle first finds the woman, practically the only thing she knows about herself is her first name, Kate, which she only remembered sometime within the past two years after coming across a British woman with the same name, which rang a bell for her. According to Kate, she woke up in a tiny jungle village in Myanmar two years ago with no memory of her past or evidence of who she was; this whole time, she has been trying to figure out her identity and past. Since then, she developed malaria and found herself having to escape a cargo ship after the Navy intercepted it on a drug bust, thus leading her to Colin. The two gradually fall for each other as she convalesces in his care. Meanwhile, in a parallel narrative in Florida, a man named Evan Williams has begun to fall for Melanie Bishop, a woman with whom he has a complicated history—and who has a connection to Kate’s story that eventually reveals itself. Although the novel comes close to being a romance, it is remarkably restrained, grounded by realistic characters, complex human emotion, and historical detail. Elizabeth’s characters all have to sort through psychological troubles, and they do so as mature adults, albeit ones thrust into unusual circumstances. That said, the narrative holds few if any surprises. Although Elizabeth handles the situation beautifully in many respects, the story proceeds just as most readers will suspect, beat by beat, once the full picture of what is going on reveals itself, which doesn’t necessarily undermine the story’s impact but makes it feel less inspired.
An often engrossing if at times predictable novel whose strengths make it well worth a read for those on the lookout for a refreshingly mature love story.