A Past Love Recaptured
Justine Dell's debut contemporary romance has a regal, formal air about it, making the novel feel not so contemporary. It's a romance between the lovely English lass Sophia and the dashing fashion designer Xavier.
Most of the story occurs "across the pond" in England's upper-class circles, where Sophia Montel lives with her mother. Sophia is twenty-seven and lives a somewhat aimless existence following a horrible car crash that stole her memories ten years ago. Her mother refuses to tell her about her past, which greatly frustrates Sophia (as well as me!) Sophia's good friend Anne Marie takes her to a fashion show featuring Sophia's favorite designer.
American Xavier Cain has ascended from humble roots to worldwide success with his "XS" fashion line. Yet his life is incomplete without the woman he fell in love with at age seventeen who has since gone missing. When he spots Sophia at the show, his mission to find his lost love is now complete! There she is!
The bad news: Sophia doesn't remember him.
The good news: Sophia feels a strange attraction to him.
Sophia and Xavier slowly rekindle their love despite obstacles thrown their way by her mother and snooty grandmother. Then the lovers manage to get in their own way by running off or acting incomprehensibly.
When Anne Marie talks to Sophia about why she isn't directly asking Xavier about their past, I cheered when she asked "Here's a thought, darling; why don't you ask him about it?"
The reason for the mystery and misunderstanding later reveals itself, which blew me away and helped dissolve my frustration.
I really enjoyed the character of Xavier and his fashion creations (reminding me of a favorite TV show . . . Project Runway!) I believe that earlier revelations may have drawn me into Sophia's struggle more deeply. Without understanding her motivation at times, I grew frustrated by her choices. I still haven't decided how I feel about Sophia's mother. I'm not sure I buy her explanation for why she acted the way she did.
With a flow of melancholy, Recaptured Dreams is a well-written story about recapturing lost love.