Thu
Dec 27 2012 12:30pm

Trope of the Month: Amnesia!

Someone to Watch Over Me by Lisa KleypasAcademically put, tropes are “common or overused theme[s] or device[s]," which makes them sound like cliches, which makes them seem like a bad thing.

But they’re totally not! Romance novel fans all have their favorite—not to mention least favorite—tropes, from friends to lovers, chick in pants, secret baby, marriage of convenience, opposites attract, May-December, boss-assistant...the list goes on.

Each month, we’ll be picking a romance novel trope and ask you to offer recommendations falling under the trope rubric (again with the academic talk!). This month, we want your recommendations for amnesia romances, or novels where either the hero or heroine has no clue who they are. As usual, we tried to remember (!) ourselves, but then went to our friends at Twitter.

Don't you forget about me...

  • Sherry Thomas Tempting the Bride
  • Lisa Kleypas Someone to Watch Over Me
  • Miranda Neville Amorous Education of Celia Seaton
  • Delilah Marvelle Forever and a Day
  • Anne Stuart Winter's Edge
  • Mary Balogh Slightly Sinful
  • Anne Gracie Accidental Wedding
  • Mary Jo Putney Uncommon Vows
  • Beth Williamson The Redemption of Micah
  • Author Vivian Arend shares that her forthcoming High Risk has a heroine who's missing some memories.

There are a lot of historicals on there—anyone got suggestions for the other genres? More historicals are welcome as well!

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13 comments
Robbie Thornton
3. Button
Rough Rider by Larissa Ione

Sometimes I like this trope, sometimes not. This is the 4th book in her "Lords of Deliverance" series and the amnesia plot device is practically necessary to make the book work.
MKJDobson
4. Rose In RoseBear
I, too, have intermittent interest in this trope. Slightly Sinful was worth it for the end of the novel --- it ws where I truly fell hopelessly in love with Wulfric. When I re-read the Slightly books, I usually just skip to the end.

Maya Banks' The Darkest Hour, which I read for the first time recently, is fantastic --- a very traditional working of the trope, but somehow quite pleasing ... perhaps because it's the first book in the series, and we get to meet everyone for the first time just as Rachel does.

I'm a big fan of Lisa Kleypas, and I liked Someone To Watch Over Me. However, I think the straight-line amnesia trope worked because the novel subverted so many other tropes.
jsmom2
5. jsmom2
I usually don't even finish reading the blurb if it emphasizes an amnesia storyline. I've been known not to finish perfectly good trilogies due to my completely inexplicable aversion to this trope. I'm sure I've missed some lovely stories. I mean, there are some really fun authors on this list. oh, well.

'tried to remember ourselves' - ha! funny
Kareni
6. Kareni
An older contemporary that has lived on my shelf since it was published in 1985 is Home at Last by Barbara Kaye. It's a Harlequin Superromance whose hero has amnesia.

Not quite amnesia but another old favorite is Jacqueline Marten's Dream Walker (published in 1987) which has a reincarnation theme. In this book, the contemporary heroine paints during nighttime fugue states.

In the science fiction genre in the original Star Trek world, Barbara Hambly's Ishmael is a wonderful novel in which Spock has amnesia. Much of the novel is set in 1800's era Seattle. It's a great read.
jsmom2
7. Romance FaN
Until You by Judith McNaught
jsmom2
8. virologygirl
Stranger in My Arms was the book that got me started on Lisa Kleypas...reminds me a lot of the movie Sommersby with Richard Gere and Jodi Foster.
jsmom2
9. Lizzie18
I find that there are two types of 'amnesia' books. One I'm OK with, not thrilled but OK, and the other I can't stand.

I don't mind a book where the hero/heroine has amnesia and a NEW love interest comes into play in the storyline to help, rescue, or bully, agravate, whatever... often good rip roaring action there.

However, I really REALLY dislike it when it involves two torn apart past or present lovers (violins here) who must rediscover their love (again with the violins). I have no patience for such stories. I can't enjoy the story because I'm just waiting for those last few pages. Like JSMOM2 above, I just don't buy them. Period.
jsmom2
10. Mahogany
Loving a Lost Lord by Mary Jo Putney.
Heroine invents a fictional husband and luckily (faint bit of magic) the hero washes ashore without his memory.
First of the Lost Lords series in which the heroes are linked by having attended a school for boys who didn't fit into traditional education.
The rest of the books in the series are also worth reading. They have different tropes.
I don't like pirate heroes. Although privateers are acceptable. just.
Katrina Wreggelsworth
11. auntykatkat
Since someone else mentioned my number one; Until You, I will mention my number two choice. That is Dark Desire by Christine Feehan. Part of her Carpathian Series, the hero was entombed in a wall for years, barely able to survive. He is more animal than man and has to regain his memories while trying to win his lifemate. It made me cry.
Michelle Palmer
12. ChelleP
An older historical, Forbidden (Medieval Series #2) by Lowell is one. The Hero is a total ass and doesn't grovel enough, but he has amnesia. ;)
Sigrun
13. Ranurgis
Mirror Image (1998) by Sandra Brown is a different take on the amnesia victim trope, and one of my favorites--at the time, at least. I actually haven't come across many of these books and was a little surprised when I realized that today. I've forgotten that Slightly Sinful by Mary Balogh has amnesia in it, too. I guess it didn't have too much of an impression on me.
OK, I've just read the synopsis again and, of course, I remember it now. Maybe there are others in this category that have slipped my mind, but I can't remember another right now, and neither of these is about two old lovers who become reconciled.
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