Reminders of Him
- Author: Colleen Hoover
- Genre: Romance
- Publication Date: January 18, 2022
- Publisher: Montlake
CONTENT WARNING: death, grief, neglect, anxiety, blood, violence, car accident
A young mother fights to earn a place in her child’s life—but is there room for her?
After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.
The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.
The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.
This book is an absolute masterpiece that had me laughing and crying, both sad and happy tears. I couldn’t stop reading, until I finally finished it at 3 am, sobbing into my tissue.
The story centers around Kenna, a mother who has recently been released from prison and has only one desire: to find a place in her daughter’s life. The daughter she never met. The daughter she has to overcome insurmountable obstacles to meet. It’s the only thing keeping her going. The story is written brilliantly, allowing us insight into Kenna’s thoughts so that it’s impossible to not feel empathetic towards her plight. However, when we find out what she was in prison for, the situation is seen in a whole different light. Because her daughter is being raised by her dead boyfriend’s parents.
“That’s what Kenna needs to understand. Grace and Patrick are only alive because of Diem. She’s the thread that keeps them from unraveling.”
Ledger is another character that’s easy to love. He’s so good of a person, and when he forms a connection with Kenna without knowing who she is, he’s thrust into the most difficult decision of his life. As he gets closer to Kenna, he is absolutely between a rock and a hard place. Because no matter which way he turns, someone is going to get hurt.
“There’s just no way to navigate this situation in a way that I don’t feel like I’m betraying someone. I’m betraying Kenna by keeping Diem from her. I’m betraying Patrick and Grace by giving Kenna a glimpse of Diem. I’m even betraying Scotty, although I don’t quite know how yet. I’m still trying to figure out where those feelings of guilt are coming from.”
Interwoven with Kenna’s journey through her past and the present is a romance. It’s a sweet, perfect romance that I wanted to succeed, but more importantly, I wanted to know whether Kenna would be able to reconnect with the daughter she never even got to meet. As we hear Kenna’s hope and fear come through strongly, we also get to hear Ledger’s doubt — both about what he thought he knew and what Kenna is truly like underneath all of his assumptions.
“There are two possibilities running through my head right now. The first is that Kenna is exactly who I’ve always believed her to be, and she showed up here selfishly, only thinking of herself and not at all thinking of what her presence would do to Patrick and Grace, or even Diem. The second possibility is that Kenna is a devastated, grieving mother who simply aches for a child she desperately wants to do right by.”
And even after we learn what happened to land Kenna in prison, there’s no clear bad guy. It’s easy to assume who is right and wrong, but it seems like all parties are right in a way and wrong in another. I found myself empathizing with everyone involved, and it’s the most heartbreaking and difficult situation. However, I was incredibly impressed with how I was able to read this whole book without choosing a clear villain.
“‘I think there’s room in a tragedy this size for everyone to be both right and wrong.’”
And while I’m at it, I’ve got to devote a little attention to this romance. I was shipping them so hard from the start, because both Kenna and Ledger are such good people. They’re kind and smart, and while it’s difficult to communicate everything with the weight of events from the past, they try. They give each other space to take in information, room to process, and the ability to grow. I loved seeing how much they each changed throughout the course of the book, and worked so well as a couple.
Ultimately, this isn’t just a romance, but a story of self-discovery, hope, forgiveness, and different types of love. It was such a fabulous book, and I’m officially a die-hard CoHo fan at this point — in the three books that I’ve read, she has managed to take difficult situations and build an incredible story from the ashes of what could have been or what was in the past. I can’t wait to start the next book, and she’s going to be a regular on my library loans.
Categories: Book Review