Memories by Deanna Lynn Sletten is a story which continues to haunt me because it could so easily come true.
For one summer, Dani had been looking after Michael's daughter, Vanessa; it was one of the best summers of Dani's life - a summer in which she fell in love, conceiving Michael's child. She could not wait to share the news with him but an unexpected family emergency had Michael and Vanessa disappearing without as much as a trace of them left behind. With no way of getting in touch and feeling all alone, desperate to hide her pregnancy from her parents, Dani had an abortion which went terribly wrong, rendering her unable to have children.
Advance the calendar several years and we find a successful Dani whose path crosses with Michael again, who happens to be her best friend's boyfriend, a man Dani had heard so much about without ever seeing his face. Dani and Michael are aware of feelings which lay buried beneath the surface - feelings of love but also, for Dani, feelings of being betrayed by the man she had grown to love so much in her youth. Scars from the past prevent her from fully trusting Michael despite his attempts to recapture her heart.
Ultimately, Dani gives in and decides to give Michael another chance. She even meets the adult version of Vanessa, as well as Vanessa's husband and daughter. They connect immediately and make promises to keep in touch. Dani and Michael spend some wonderful time together at her place with Michael making promises to fly out to see her the following week - but it doesn't happen. A week turns into two, then one month turns into several months with not as much as a word from Michael.
In the meantime, Michael is going through the greatest agony of his life. Having said good-bye to his son-in law, then his daughter months later, all while trying to keep his young granddaughter's life as normal as possible, Michael receives a letter from Dani who heard about the tragic news. It provides a turning point in their lives, in their relationship. From there we see Dani caring for Michael until she can care for him no longer.
Memories is a beautifully told story which takes us from the present into a distant past, and then a more recent past, endearing the characters to us each step along the way. It is sure to be an emotional journey.
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