Title: Unshakeable Faith
Author: Lisa Worrall
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Tyler Brody didn’t expect to spend his life running a bar, but when his grandfather left him the family business and told him to sell it to finance his architecture career, he found that he couldn’t part with it. One day while just opening up, a gorgeous man walks in looking disoriented and overwhelmed. The man tells Brody that he has no memory of his life prior to the last three months he spent in the hospital following a brutal stabbing. The police have searched and run his picture on television, but no one has come forward to say they know the man and they have found no suspects in the stabbing. When he heard the doctors discussing moving him to a mental health facility, he slipped out of the hospital and spent the night on the street and now has no place to go.
Brody has always had a soft spot for strays and is instantly drawn to the man who so clearly needs some help. Brody offers him a job as a bartender, and even lets him live in his apartment with him. Although his friends think he is crazy (and Brody realizes this is a bit nuts too), he is totally drawn to the man and can’t let him walk away without trying to help. Brody instinctively trusts the man and feels confident he is doing the right thing.
Soon the man (who decides to name himself Nash) settles in to life at the bar. He becomes friends with Brody’s staff, cook and best friend Wyatt and waitresses Willow and Kristie. Brody is crazy attracted to Nash, but doesn’t even know if Nash is gay. He also doesn’t want to push Nash who is just getting back on his feet. Yet about a month after Nash arrives, the gang are out at a club and the attraction between the men suddenly leads to something more. Soon they are dating and happily falling in love. Nash is prepared to leave his mystery past behind him and move forward with Brody.
One day while out running errands for the bar about three months after meeting Brody, Nash is hit by a car, once again ending up in the hospital with amnesia. This time, however, he has forgotten his life with Brody. Brody is frantic, because Nash has just disappeared without a trace. Then suddenly Brody sees Nash on television and contacts the police. Brody learns that Nash is a wealthy executive from Dallas and is returning home to his life there. He has no memory of Brody and their life together. Although the detective assures Brody he will tell Nash about him in due time, Brody can’t wait and rushes off to Dallas. He is sure that as soon as Nash sees him it will trigger his memories. When he arrives in Dallas, however, everyone mistakes him for an applicant for the bodyguard position (they have realized Nash may be in danger after these “accidents”) and he decides to go with it, hoping it will get him in to see Nash.
Unfortunately, not only does Nash not recognize him, but he is a total ass. Nash had been happily in med school when his father guilted him in to taking over the company after his death. As the young head of a cutthroat business, Nash became hardened and mean, feeling like it was the only way to be taken seriously. So while Brody’s Nash is caring, sweet, and loving, the old Nash is a total jerk. Brody is determined to stick with it, hoping Nash will recognize him, but it is increasingly difficult in the face of Nash’s horrible behavior. He knows his Nash is in there somewhere, and sees glimpses of him, but Brody isn’t sure he can take watching the person he loves treat him like crap and have no idea who he is.
Whew, that was a long description, sorry!
Ok, so first off with this book we have the double amnesia. Yes, it is a bit crazy. Especially because the second time he only forgets what happened since the first time. So I know that is going to make some folks a little nuts, but if you are going to enjoy this book, you need to be able to just go with it. For me, it totally worked. Maybe unrealistic, but it sets up the plot and pulls everything together and I had no problems at all buying into it.
I thought this was a really interesting story because it is really two parts. First we have “good” Nash developing his relationship with Brody. We see their bond growing and the two men falling in love. The guys are both so nice and sweet together and incredibly happy. But knowing the second amnesia is coming adds a nice bit of tension, just waiting for that ax to fall. The second half of the book focuses on “bad” Nash, the business owner who only cares about the bottom line and is a jerk to everyone around him. I think this is a bit different than most amnesia stories in that we get both the before and after the memory loss. I really liked this setup and think it worked quite well.
I think my biggest problem is that bad Nash is really just such an ass. I mean, there is no sugar coating it, he is a total jerkwad. We totally understand why he has become this person, and we definitely see glimmers of his old self in the way he interacts with his sister, mother, and housekeeper. But Nash is not a nice person, and watching Brody get kicked time and again, desperately hoping Nash will remember him did get a little hard to read. When I found myself hoping Brody would hook up with someone else at a club, I realized my hero had gone a bit far to the dark side. I think maybe if there had been more balance in the book and we spent more time before the second amnesia it might have helped. But as it was we spent so much time waiting for Nash to remember Brody that I wasn’t sure he actually deserved him by the end.
A few other things were a bit off for me. First, we know who the bad guy is from early on in the story so it is not a big secret. But he is almost completely absent from the book and his grudge is so hidden from everyone that his hatred of Nash just seems to come out of nowhere. I honestly could have done without this death threat subplot. It felt a bit like it was only there to give an excuse for Brody to move in with Nash as a bodyguard. Also, I can totally buy why Nash has a personality change after his first bout of amnesia. We know that the stress of his job and responsibility weighed on him and when he wakes up unaware of those pressures, it makes sense that he reverts to the nice guy he was before he took the job. But at the end of the book when he finally remembers Brody, he suddenly is nice Nash again, which makes no sense to me. He still remembers his old life, so why the total personality change?
Reading this review it sounds like I didn’t like the book but I actually did enjoy it quite a lot. The guys were hot together, Brody is awesome, great side characters, and an interesting set up. I just wish that Nash was a bit nicer, or that this part was shorter, or something so that our poor Brody wasn’t quite so tortured. I would still recommend the book and think its good qualities and unusual set up make it worth reading even with the issues I had.
Cover Review: Loved this one! I loved the way the dichotomy in the book is shown in the cover art. The top half shows Brody and Nash happy and casual (love the hand in the pocket), while the bottom half shows the business side with them more distant. Great job!