I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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With "Please Remember Me", Jacob Flores delivered a solid, yet somewhat angst-filled romance centering around two men, one of whom loses his memories of their relationship after a terrible accident. Upon waking up from a coma, Hank Burton no longer remembers Santi Herrera, the man with whom he's been in love for three years, and whom he was going to marry soon.
I liked how the author told their story in flashbacks that were worked well into the overall plot progression, and how the flashbacks served to show the reader their history against their present, including all the family relationships with Hank's parents as well as Darren and Mitch, who are Hank's "brothers" and Jill, who's Santi's best friend.
With Hank having forgotten him, Santi has to fight with everything he has for Hank. Obviously, it's not easy, and the author did a fabulous job showing Santi's struggles, his pain and hurt, his perseverance in the face of such adversity, his dashed hopes, his doubts. There were moments that were so painful that I cried for him, but there were also moments that were sweet and loving, and through all of them, I could tell how much these two men were in love, before and after.
Both characters are fully fleshed out, though for most of the book, we only see Hank through Santi's eyes, as the story is told from his first person POV. What stood out most for me in Santi's characterization was the insurmountable love he feels for Hank, not only for the man he was, but also for the man he is now. It was made clear time and again that there was nothing Santi wouldn't do for Hank, even if it meant standing back and giving him up, in the even that Hank either didn't fall in love with Santi again, or never recovered his memory.
I cried a few times. There is so much love in this book, it was overwhelming at times. I think that a more cynical reader might classify the relationship as idealized - I don't believe it is. I think Jacob took the time to show that their relationship isn't simply based on the physical connection - though that one burns scorching hot, OMG - but also cements it in their willingness to work with each other's idiosyncrasies, take the other person as they are (something that is only too clear after Hank's accident), and find joy in each other every day outside of the bedroom.
I have to say this, though - the book is dedicated to Mike for the inspiration (whom, if you follow Jacob on FB, you will know as Jacob's partner), and while the physical description of Hank appears to somewhat match that of Mike, seeing that dedication then also triggered a "OMG, and Santi kind of looks sort of like Jacob, and OMG, I mustn't think of them while reading this" kind of reaction.
That aside, this was a beautifully written love story against a backdrop of amnesia and the realistically depicted struggles that came from the accident. The epilogue included a moment that I didn't need for this book and their love-story to work, but it was sweet nonetheless.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **