Somehow, while letting Audible throw romances narrated by Andi Arndt into my ears, I ended up listening to Kylie Scott’s Repeat. There was stuff I liked, stuff I didn’t like, and it was a solidly enjoyable, perfectly fine listen. I like Arndt’s voice.
In Repeat, Clementine Johns is recovering from a head injury that has given her amnesia. While searching out information about herself, she walks into a tattoo parlor where she is met by a bunch of angry faces, including the large, handsome tattoo artist, Ed Larsen. Apparently, Ed is her ex-boyfriend, and apparently she broke his heart.
What I liked: Clem asks questions and is honest about how she feels. Her head injury and memory loss have reduced her filters and all the context that would govern her behavior. She is stripped of her social masks and trying to understand who she was while rebuilding a life based on who she feels like she is now. For reasons that are often quite thin, she ends up back in her ex’s life and having to deal with the hurt she caused when she blew up their relationship. It’s an interesting place to put a second chance romance.
What I didn’t like: there’s an undercurrent of hostility to mental health issues. When Clem needs medication to deal with some of the emotional issues that are completely understandable, she acts resentful and like it’s a temporary weakness. I’m going to go ahead and call it what it is – ableism. Though Clem seeks medical help when she is injured, she also calls medications “crutches” and scoffs about people being too dependent on things that help them get through the day. Ugh, I’ve started thinking about it and now I’m going to have to knock off a star, because having a character recovering from a traumatic brain injury giving voice to such ableism is gross and harmful. There’s also an odd “not like the other girls” vibe.
I haven’t read Kylie Scott before, and while I didn’t love Repeat, it was a good snack romance. I’ll probably listen to the next in the series, Pause, in which Ed’s brother gets into a relationship with a woman who has recently come out of a coma. Or maybe not.
CW: Traumatic Brain Injury, mental illness, violence, stalking, ableism.