Sep 5 2017 10:30am

Twists on the Amnesia Trope That Will Make You Love It Again!

Love Will Always Remember by Tracey Livesay

Today we're thrilled to host Tracey Livesay (Love Will Always Remember) on Heroes and Heartbreakers. The amnesia trope has been around in romance for a long time, and the trope is even more fun when it is accompanied by other much loved tropes of the genre. Tracey is here today to talk about a few of her favorite twists on the amnesia trope and remind us of why we love it so much! Thanks, Tracey.

You’ve read the story before:

Fleeing from an argument with her estranged husband, Sally runs into oncoming traffic, is hit by car and awakens in the hospital with no memory. By her bedside is a millionaire CEO who claims to be her husband. He whisks her off to his private villa in Greece where she recuperates, they fall in love and then her memory returns. He explains their prior dispute was because she’d seen him embracing his scheming ex-girlfriend. But it wasn’t an embrace of passion; he was excising her from his life forever. Recalling their recent times together, Sally forgives him and declares her love.


In the future, during an intergalactic battle between Earth and an invading species, Agnon, the brave leader of the rebellion, is injured and presumed dead by his troops. When the dust clears, he’s found and nursed back to health by a sweet widow and her young daughter. Agnon has no memory of who he is or his prior life, but he can’t resist falling in love with this ready made family…until his previous life comes calling, putting the widow and her child in danger.



At a scandalous week-long country party, the dispassionate rake, the Duke of Higginbottomshire, is shot in a duel and left for dead on a village road. He’s rescued by a beautiful bluestocking spinster who nurses him back to health amidst her books, her progressive ideas and colorful array of friends. When his memory finally returns, the Duke resists his family’s expectations and marries his beloved bluestocking—who becomes the toast of the ton.

SEE ALSO: Three Favorite Romance Tropes—It’s Tropalicious!

C’mon now. You’ve read some version of these stories, haven’t you? More than once, right? Even now, your eye is twitching, your upper lip is curling and your fingers itch to hurl a book across the room.


Don’t worry; these feelings aren’t your fault. I think it’s PTTD (Post Traumatic Trope Disorder) from the 80s & 90s when the streets of DC could be papered with the pages of romance novels devoted to the amnesia trope. A serious medical condition caused by a head trauma and usually rectified by another disturbing hit on the head. Typically, the amnesia was the main plot of the story, acting as a hindrance or an inconvenience. Once the person recovered their memories, they handled the issue that directly preceded their injury and then lived happily ever after with their new love.

But in the past decade, romances featuring memory loss have evolved. In doing research for my recent release, Love Will Always Remember, I discovered the oft-mocked amnesia trope hadn’t been abandoned like I’d feared thought. Authors were still using it in their stories. Except now—maybe mindful of triggering their own PTTD—they’d found a better way to employ it.

Instead of making the amnesia stand on its own, authors combined it with other tropes, to strengthen the emotional impact of the story. The amnesia took on the “flavors” of the tropes around it—kind of like tofu!—enhancing them and transforming into vehicles for leveling the emotional playing field between characters or even allowing the characters to seek redemption.

Tofu. Amnesia. Is your body reacting similarly to each word? Then I must be on to something!

Sherry Thomas adds amnesia to two tropes: marriage of convenience and ‘unrequited love’ in Tempting the Bride.  Helena has always viewed David as her evil childhood tormentor, even though he has secretly been in love with her for most of his life. That’s why he steps in to save her with an offer of marriage when she’s almost caught in a compromising situation. When a carriage accident on the night of their elopement robs Helena of her memory, she and David can interact and express their love without the cloud of her constant antagonism.

Vivian Arend uses amnesia in Ride Baby Ride with the ‘best friend’s little sister’ trope. Gage has been waiting for Katy to grow up and not be in a relationship. He finally gets his chance and goes for it. Unfortunately, after their one perfect night together, he leaves for a job out of town and she gets into an accident where she suffers a brain injury. When he returns and discovers she’s forgotten about their time together, he works to make her fall in love with him again.

Finally, in Blaze of Memory, Nalini Singh adds amnesia to the ‘trapped cabin’ trope. Katya is stripped of her memories and dropped on Dev’s doorstep. Dev worries that she’s a spy sent to infiltrate his organization, but he also wants to help this woman in need. To protect those he’s sworn to defend, he takes her to his isolated home until she regains her memories and he can ascertain her true intentions. In the meantime they fight their growing attraction to one another.

In all of these stories, the amnesia trope could’ve been pulled and a good book would’ve remained. However, the twist of giving one of the characters amnesia provided an emotional boost and dimension to the story that allowed for a richer, deeper reading experience.

Just like—watch me weave it all together—tofu! Most people don’t like tofu, but when it’s properly seasoned and prepared, you can successfully add it to your favorite recipe and surprise everyone by elevating the flavor! And like tofu, in the hands of someone who knows how to use it, amnesia can be a great enhancement to any story!

Okay, I get it. I may never convince you to like tofu, at least not with a straight face, but have I convinced you to give stories featuring the amnesia trope a chance? Let’s talk about it as a romance community. What do you hate about the amnesia trope? What do you love about it? 


Learn more about or order a copy of Love Will Always Remember by Tracey Livesay, available now:

Buy at Amazon

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Tracey Livesay wrote her first romance novel at the age of eleven, called "The Healing Power of Love.” With a detour through college and law school—where she met her husband on the very first day—she’s finally achieved her dream of being a published author. She lives in Virginia with said husband and three kids. For info on her upcoming releases or to chat about TV, movies and/or purses you can check out her website (traceylivesay.com) or find her on Facebook (TraceyLivesayAuthor) and Twitter ( @tlivesay ).

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Carmen Pinzon
1. bungluna
Amnesia = Tofu! Thanks for a good laugh from Houston. I needed that!
2. Kareni
Thanks for an enjoyable post, Tracey. I'm looking forward to reading your newest book.
3. MaryK
So, I clicked on this post because I wanted to find out the name of Agnon's book. LOL! I guess I don't dislike amnesia plots as much as I thought.
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