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2.13.2012

Book Review: The Shadow of Your Smile

I just saw the interview with Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, the couple whose real life story is portrayed in the number one movie of this past weekend, The Vow. Krickitt lost her memory of her marriage to Kim in a car accident, but he started the relationship from scratch, dating her and patiently waiting while she fell in love with him all over again. Krickitt never regained her memory of their early years together, but they've built a solid marriage since the accident and even had a second wedding to renew the vows she didn't remember. The story they told in their book, The Vow, is now made into a movie.

Recently, I read a copy of Susan Warren's The Shadow of Your Smile, a fictional tale of another couple who experienced the devastation of amnesia. Here's my review:

Book Review: The Shadow of Your Smile

What would it be like if you couldn’t remember 25 years of your life? Would you consider it a fresh start, or would you fight to get your memory back? When Noelle gets a nasty knock on the head, she and her husband Eli face these questions. She can’t remember the horrible tragedy their family went through, but she also can’t remember the good times. When she’s released from the hospital to the care of her husband, Noelle feels like she’s entrusted in the care of a stranger.

In The Shadow of Your Smile, Susan May Warren has crafted an intricate tale of edge of your seat danger, gut wrenching conflict, and heartwarming relationships. I enjoyed the way she crafts her plot and characters and draws the reader into the story. Plot details will keep the reader engaged right to the end of the book. The story takes place in mostly fictional towns along the north shore of Lake Superior, one of my favorite places in the world!

I put myself in the shoes of Noelle wondering how I would react if I couldn’t remember my husband or children. Although it’s a terrifying thought, Noelle felt a sense of the familiar, even in the events she couldn’t remember.

This is the story of a couple who has drifted apart, long before the incident that took her memory. And it’s a story with many interwoven details. Eli and Noelle aren’t the only ones with a broken relationship. Eli’s emotional connection to Lee, the widow of his best friend (who happens to be Noelle’s best girlfriend), and the time he spends with her threatens to split this couple and destroy their children and their friends in the process.

The themes running through this novel align with real people and real relationships. The situations are emotionally charged, and the responses of the characters are raw and not sugar-coated with neatly wrapped outcomes. Warren does a great job of tying up loose ends of the story without making the package too perfect. I smell a sequel. 

About the Author
Susan May Warren is the award-winning author of seventeen novels and novellas with Tyndale, Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing. Her first book, Happily Ever After won the American Fiction Christian Writers Book of the Year in 2003, and was a 2003 Christy Award finalist. In Sheep’s Clothing, a thriller set in Russia, was a 2006 Christy Award finalist and won the 2006 Inspirational Reader’s Choice award. A former missionary to Russia, Susan May Warren now writes Suspense/Romance and Chick Lit full time from her home in northern Minnesota.

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