Desert Isle Keeper
I enjoyed this romance by Elyse Springer. I admire the way she confounds the reader’s expectations in the first part of the book.
Whiteout begins with a mystery and a well-used trope when Noah Landers awakens with a head injury, and no idea where he is or who he is. Outside it is snowing heavily, and the bedroom he is in looks to be part of a rather expensive mountain cabin.
The author uses the reader’s knowledge of the amnesia trope then plays with our expectations. The story is narrated by amnesiac Noah who is not alone in this cabin, but being looked after and treated as something precious by Jason O’Reilly who seems too good to be true. Jason tells Noah that he arranged for them to be in this snowy retreat together as a romantic getaway and then Noah slipped and hit his head on the ice. When Jason tells him what his name is Noah begins to doubt him as something feels ‘off’.
We hear all Noah’s thoughts – his frustrations and panic. Then he starts to remember tiny fragments in no particular order. His fears and confused memories create a delicious tension, as like Noah we don’t know what is true and if we can believe what he’s being told. Noah starts to trust the gorgeous Jason but so many memories seem to incline him to be wary. Noah begins to disbelieve that Jason is really phoning a local hospital to check how to look after Noah. Why does he go to another room to call? Are they a couple or does Jason have him trapped here for some nefarious reason?
The twist or mystery – and there is one which I shall try not to reveal – plays with our belief that we are inherently good. If we lose our memories, even forget our own name, we are still there inside. Our morals and norms are still with us; it is just the story we have forgotten – isn’t it? However, if we do not remember those stories how do we know who is good or not in our lives? How do we know if we are considered a good person; and if we are in love but have forgotten the process do we remain in love?
The questions that occurred to me as I was reading added to a really well written story.
Part one comprises about two thirds of the book and if the story had stayed at this level of intensity and originality throughout, Whiteout would definitely have received an A rating.
The rest of the story is set after the time in the cabin and is very romantic with a good HEA, but it lacks the intensity and originality of the first part. Even so, I award Whiteout a very good rating and recommend this novel as a very entertaining, romantic read.