The Night Remembers
I am about to commit sacrilege and, believe you me, it isn’t something I take lightly. Before committing the actual deed itself, I called my local used bookstore to see what, if anything, they had been hearing about this book. I wanted someone – anyone – to corroborate my opinion before I took the frightening step of actually admitting that I did not like a book written by Kathleen Eagle. There, I have said it. I did not like or even mildly enjoy this book. It isn’t romance the way I like to read it. Indeed, where was the romance? The hero and heroine spend too much time apart and what little romance there is seems clouded by whatever else this book is trying to say.
Jesse Brown Wolf is holed up in a cave in the bluffs of the Mississippi River while he struggles to get over a painful past. He lives and operates in the darkness and prefers it that way. Angela Prescott has come to Minneapolis to, literally, lose herself. She is trying to escape a madman of an ex-boyfriend who has made her life a living hell. Tommy T is the irrepresible twelve-year-old who brings Jesse and Angela together. Tommy T, a budding young artist, models one of the characters in a comic he has created after Jesse. He names the character Dark Dog. As Jesse’s story unfolds, so does that of the fictional Dark Dog, and their stories become irrevocably intertwined.
It was difficult at times to conceive of Jesse Brown Wolf as an actual real person. He seems supernatural at times. Like his Native American ancestors, Jesse/Dark Dog ceremonially paints his face and, after dark, combs the streets of Minneapolis in search of street punks with guns. He is able to somehow mesmerize and subdue vicious dogs trained to kill, and, even more perplexing, he is able to mysteriously get into Angela’s apartment in the middle of the night. He comes to Angela in her dreams, or at least what she thinks are her dreams. In actuality, he is really in her apartment at night. A couple times he comes to check on her as she recovers from being mugged. One night, he materializes out of nowhere it seems, when Angela has a meltdown because some drunken low-life is pounding on her apartment door. We’re just supposed to accept this as part of Dark Dog’s persona, but it gets confusing as to whether Jesse is actual a person or a supernatural being.
Being on her own and starting over gives Angela a renewed sense of purpose and self-confidence. Ironically, in losing herself, she finds herself. She returns home from work one day to find her crazy ex-boyfriend waiting outside her apartment. She tells him to beat it and he leaves never to return. This did not seem very realistic as most men like this do not take no for an answer very well.
Angela and Jesse manage to put their respective demons behind them and get married. They adopt Tommy T and live happily ever after. How they ever get together for good is a mystery, as they spent hardly any time together.
Kathleen Eagle excels at unconventional romances that push the boundaries of romantic fiction. It seemed, however, that in this book, elements other than the romance took precedence. It didn’t seem a work of romantic fiction so much as a work of fiction that focused on the spiritual and emotional growth of three people (Angela, Jesse and Tommy T) as they tried to find themselves. If you like unconventional romances, and have never tried Kathleen Eagle, read This Time Forever. Like The Night Remembers, it is very unconventional in its approach to the hero, the heroine, and the story itself, but does a much better job at keeping the hero and heroine together throughout the book and keeping the romance alive.