Clean Slateby Published 17 Sep 2013
|Publisher||Bold Strokes Books|
After a vicious attack, Morgan Masters wakes up to find that nothing is how she remembers it. John Major isn’t the prime minister anymore, the Millennium has been and gone, and it’s been a very long time since she was in college.
When Erin’s worst fears become reality and her world crumbles around her, she has to pick up the pieces and start all over again.
Can losing everything actually be the best thing that ever happened to Morgan? Can Erin learn to forgive the sins of the past and let her heart lead her head for a change?
Or is happiness beyond their reach?
"Clean Slate" Reviews
What i love about this story is the strong 'not taking any nonsense' female lead in Erin's portrayal -- her high maintenance of not she putting up with no bull-crap from anyone; not even her wife Morgan. Ms.Bramhall did an exceptional job with her (Erin) characterizations in this storyline: whether it was dealing with taking care of her kids or becoming single again after getting the news from her partner Morgan after her accident. This book included good subject matters such as Domestic Violence,kidnapping,drugs issues and lot of family dramatics which the author definitely got right in her storytelling and was even knowledgeable about. I highly recommend this book to everyone -- my 3rd time reading it.
“Clean Slate” has a lot going for it, but also has some very annoying flaws.
I loved the narration; Victoria Aston did a remarkable job conveying emotions, and she did a great job creating voices that were appropriate for the varying ages of the characters. Author Andrea Bramhall worked hard to convey the relationship between love and trust, but fell down on the execution throughout the story.
For me, love is not about issuing ultimatums, it’s not about an inability to forgive hurts and it’s not about refusing to give the benefit of doubt enough to discuss confusions, uncertainty and even fears.
39yo MC Morgan abruptly abandons her family (wife and their two children, a 10yo girl and 13yo boy), giving no reason. There is no communication from her for three weeks, until she turns up at hospital as the victim of a violent attack. She awakens thinking she’s 19yo, and has no memories whatsoever of the last 20 years.
With the divorce proceedings not yet final, her wife Erin remains next of kin and is called to hospital to give permission for surgeries. Erin has been terribly hurt, of course, and is terribly angry at Morgan. At first, she certainly seems to be the more sympathetic character in the drama, despite the physical injuries to Morgan.
Yet as the story progresses, I found myself very sympathetic to Morgan, and frequently annoyed with Erin. Morgan exudes sincere love for her children whom her 19yo self is just now meeting, and she truly loves Erin. Her instalove for Erin is actually almost too much; Morgan is now a 19yo virgin who’s not yet out of the closet, feeling an intense instinctive emotional and physical attraction for a woman twice her age. Yet she never questions her love for Erin, and never once falters in wanting to do what’s right for Erin or for her children.
Erin, though, confused when a clearly traumatized Morgan walked out, issued an angry ultimatum that she would never ever allow her back if she walked out. Throughout the book, even as Morgan time and time again demonstrates by words, actions and later by police evidence that she is deserving of trust, Erin continues to delay giving her trust beyond the point of reason. At some point, love is having faith in another person; expressing love while denying trust is inconsistent. Erin’s cognitive dissonance at loving Morgan without trusting her went on too long and became insupportable.
Without giving a spoiler, I want to also say I was disappointed at 13yo Tristen’s role in bringing the book to a finish. Again, Tristen’s love for his parents should have involved some level of benefit of doubt and communication before the events that unfolded.
Finally, I was very disappointed with the procedural elements of the mystery, and the characters reactions to clues and events. Early on, Morgan described the letter in her pocket, and it’s importance for her decision to abandon her family. Yet it took forever before the letter came back up, it’s importance was ridiculously minimized for awhile, and once it’s importance was recognized it was never provided to the police. Arrrgh. Once Erin and Morgan recognized its importance and accepted why Morgan would have abandoned her family (for a good and honorable, if not misguided reason), they don’t think that the reason for concern weeks ago might not yet be a reason for concern today? Really? Really Really? Aaaarrrghhh. For an attack victim with a date rape drug in her system, you’d think the police would quickly canvas local bars, and you’d also think your loving family would give you a bit of benefit of doubt over any surveillance camera footage, wouldn’t you? Aaaaaarrrrggggh. The inability of the police to link the attacker with the person who hired him was completely inexcusable once the link was finally revealed. AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH.
So, as with too much of lesfic, a lack of openness and communication about one’s past leads to misunderstanding and mistrust in the present time. Yawn…trope #23462 in a series. Sometimes miscommunication can work well in a book, but not here. Morgan’s past was well-known to everyone but her friends and Erin; why would she be able to keep her parents a secret from them even if she had wanted to? Erin’s brother Chris chides Erin because she too had kept dark secrets….but we never learn what they are. Huh?
“Clean Slate” tried to be a book that explores trying to be a better person than the one you don’t remember being, and how love can transcend miscommunication and hurt. It didn’t really work for me because of my frustrations with Erin and with the efforts, and lack thereof, at solving the principal mystery of why Morgan was attacked. 3* for “Clean Slate”; I wanted to rate it higher because of the narration, but I just can’t.
I loved this story and was hooked from the start to finish even though the last segment was overdramatic and dragged - out. It was a beautiful story, it captured my heart /attention and I couldn't read it fast enough. I loved the romance, I loved that Morgan and Erin were portrayed as amazing mothers and I loved almost all of the scenes / interactions they had with their kids.
Morgan and Erin had a difficult journey, figuring out the next steps to make their family whole and functioning again after Morgan walked out from them, got beaten up and lost her memory. The perfect Malay proverb for Morgan's situation - "Sudah Jatuh, Ditimpa Tangga".
Remember the movie SE7EN? The scene where Brad Pitt asked Morgan Freeman what was in the box again and again? I role played the same scene, screaming at Morgan Masters to spill out the reasons why she did what she did. Even though I was not a fan of " I am doing this for your own good " trope, what spooked Morgan off was legit disturbing.
The romance was written beautifully, intense and emotional. They were a passionate couple and when the time finally came for them to be intimate, Ms.Bramhall didn't disappoint and added a bonus - the upper body part got some serious workout 😈.
Recommended? Trust the GRs' experienced reviewers and make up your mind. As for me, this will stay with me for quite some time as The Masters' family were a little broken at the start of the story but together, they healed in the end.
While reading the synopsis of the book and some reviews I decided to give this book a try, so I bought the paperback version. It is interesting to note that the version of the book that I have has 304 pages, but here in the goodreads is informed that the book has 264 pages. I didn't understand this, but anyway.
The reading was an interesting one.
One can see the talent of the author, even not agreeing with some things I managed to finish reading because of the smooth development of the narrative.
However I just can't give more stars because I couldn't believe that a character who has lost the memory of her adult life declares that she loves her children without even knowing them ... Much less declare her love for a wife she has never seen before.
The story was completely believable and if not for the fact that the character quotes several times that she felt a connection, a love with her family (which she doesn't remember at all), I could have easily given a 4.5 or 5 stars .... But maybe a little less crying too ....
In the middle of the book I was getting a little annoyed with so many times that the characters wept and sobbed and suffered desperately. I understand, it's a drama, there has to be crying, but I believe there was too much crying.
On the plus side, this is a good choice to read on the way to college or work.
Clean Slate surprised me by being a major change of pace from Ladyfish, Andrea Bramhall's previous book and debut novel. I loved Ladyfish and I love this book as well, although they are very different beats, Ladyfish sitting firmly in the thriller category, while Clean Slate deals much more directly with the emotional trauma of a break up, near death incident and life altering injury.
I enjoyed the emotional honesty of the characters, their trails and tribulations felt real (within the context of the story) and at no point did I call bullshit at their responses to the circumstances within which they had been placed.
Having read this novel I wonder where Andrea's next story will take us, where ever that might be I am sure that I will enjoy the journey.