Remember the Time
By Annette Reynolds, 1997, Contemporary Romance
Bantam Books, $5.99, ISBN #0553576526
I love the theme of unrequited love, and Remember The Time is one of the best books utilizing that theme that I have ever read. There are three main characters involved in the storyline and we are introduced to them at the beginning of the book by way of an italicized flash back. Ms Reynolds uses these flash backs to enrich the story and explain the history and interaction of the characters. In this way we get to find out why each character in the book thinks, feels, and does the things they do in the present by reading about what has happened to them in the past. Instead of just telling us what a character is thinking, we are able to read for ourselves and understand why they are thinking that way.
Kate Moran, Paul Armstrong, and Mike Fitzgerald are friends. Very good, very close friends. During their high school years together Kate and Paul are a “couple” and Mike and Paul are best friends. The problem is, Paul and Mike are in love with the same girl: Kate. Paul is the popular high school jock (you probably remember the kind of guy) who could have his pick of any girl in school and he has chosen Kate. Mike settles for being Kate’s best friend because of his friendship with Paul. There is no way he would be able to end his friendship with Paul by vying for Kate’s attentions. But there are a few times when there is more than a bit of contention between these two best buddies over Kate.
Paul has his whole future planned out. He wants to marry Kate and become a major league baseball player, and he does achieve both of these goals. Mike goes on to college and becomes an architect and historical renovation specialist. There is never a time in Mike’s life, though, when he doesn’t think about his feelings for Kate. He becomes a master at hiding them, and throughout the years of Kate and Paul’s marriage, he continues to settle for what interaction he can have by being Kate and Paul’s good friend, to the detriment of his future relationships with women. No one can quite measure up to Kate.
At the beginning of the book, I saw Kate as the lucky girl who marries the guy she loves and lives happily ever after as the wife of a baseball star. That is, until Paul is killed in a freak accident during spring training. We then get to see who and what Kate had become during the years of her marriage to Paul. Unfortunately, their marriage was less than perfect. Suddenly Kate is forced to come to terms with losing Paul, the fact that she had been in a failing marriage and how it has affected her as a person. Kate is going to need some help, and Mike is there for her, as he has always been. But now, after the death of his best friend, he no longer has to be just her friend, he wants to be so much more, if she will let him. As the story and their lives go on, Kate finds out things that Paul has done in the past that she was completely unaware of. She also realizes that she has had special feelings for Mike for a long, long time. But Kate finds it extremely difficult to put Paul and her marriage behind her and get on with her life.
I liked the fact that all three characters were not perfect but had very real human frailties that made them seem like real people. While reading and getting involved in the storyline, I almost felt that this could have been the story of three people whom I grew up with. I found myself rooting for Kate and Mike, hoping that they could salvage a relationship from a damaged past and both have the lives they truly deserved.
I’d like to thank the reader who mentioned this book on the Reader to Reader Message Board and I am now trying to find out any information I can about future books by Annette Reynolds. Remember The Time will take its place among my keepers and I know I will be remembering Kate, Paul and Mike for a very long time.