Remember Me With Love, By Mary Ann Artrip

Mary Ann Artrip

The advantage to reading big-name, well-publicized writers is that you know (more or less) what you’re getting in advance. The advantage to reading a little known writer is the delightful surprise of discovering something eminently readable, perhaps even memorable. I think we writers live and die by the old Billy Joe Shaver couplet, “I’m just an old chunk of coal/but I’m gonna be a diamond someday.” The author of this book has already pressed her chunk of coal to a twinkle, judging by this enjoyable read.

At a recent writer’s organization board meeting, Artrip, winner of a 2007 IPPY award, held this book up and asked me if I’d like to read it. I said, “Sure.” And the book charmed me. She bills it as a mystery/romance, and that’s true – it’s a bit of both. How would I have cast it? Maybe in a genre as a latter-day Charlotte Brontë. Her protagonist, Kate Spencer, a hard-working woman meets rich bigwig, Jon Ames, and after the expected romantic foreplay, they become a couple – after a fashion. But there’s a lover’s triangle afoot here – something I was hardly prepared for. And there’s a murder, a courtroom battle, and something of a happy ending.

The author writes fluidly; her prose is smart, her dialogue snappy, and she knows how to pace a complicated story. Perhaps the characters don’t resonate in quite the way one might expect of edgy, modern fictional inventions, but the tone here is Gatsby, it’s Jane Eyre – a romantic melodrama from another era – so the characterizations are forgiven.

My only concern is that, given the style, I wish she had pushed her narrator a bit more to the forefront. But she was clearly taking chances here – chances that might flummox a few readers. Still, taking chances makes life interesting. The story works and, despite this not being a book I’d have picked off a bookstore shelf, I’m glad I read it.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Review by Bob Mustin

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One Response to “”

  1. Mary Ann Artrip Says:

    Hey Bob, thanks for the lovely review of my book–which just happened to be my first go at novel writing. I’m afraid it took me many years to get it close to what I could finally be proud of. I’ve learned a lot over the last three decades. Also, I was alerted by Goggle that you posted it on Red Room. That was so cool. Thanks again.
    Mary Ann

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