What if your mother left when you were only 12?

In Remember Us (Morgan James Publishing) by Lindsay Blake and Layne James, that’s exactly what happened to Reese Hamilton and her twin brother, Ben.

Now, 13 years later, their father Carl has cancer, and Ben and Reese travel home to be with him. With no forewarning, their quirky mother Bernice shows up on the doorstep of their family home at 10 pm during a downpour, suitcases sitting on the porch and her Chihuahua Rocky in her purse. Her sudden reappearance is jarring, just as her disappearance was 13 years before.

Why does Bernice think she can come back after 13 years of abandonment and call Reese “Sugar” and her “Baby Girl?” Doesn’t she realize when a mother leaves her children there will be a price to pay? Reese wonders why no one else is as bothered by this fact as she is.

Bernice has always loved her children. Always. Raising her twins was her “Grand Adventure” in life. But things got complicated when her career took off while Carl’s hit a snag; leaving was the only way she knew to save herself and her marriage. It was supposed to be just temporary—no longer than 13 days. Not 13 years.

Having Bernice as a mom was magical for Reese and Ben. She always had “drive and pizzazz.”

 “Growing up with Bernice was like living every day in a candy store. She believed in treats, in fairy tales, in all that was enchanting.”

Until she was no longer there.

Ben can somehow forgive their mother, picking up where they left off, but Bernice’s absence has consumed Reese’s life.

“For all those years, she’d made the ordinary extraordinary, and when she left, whole pieces of me exited too. I was transported from the land of whimsy to the land of acrimony…. I hated her for it.”

Abandonment caused Reese’s life to enter a holding pattern of mediocrity. Her photography always just in the periphery of the stunning photo work by her childhood friend Charlie, now her boss. His photographs dazzled while hers seemed a reflection of his brilliance. Was Bernice’s abandonment the reason for her shattered confidence?

A mantra on an endless loop assaults Reese’s brain, as it has for the past 13 years: Why did you leave me?

Now, recovering from cancer, Carl takes the family on an epic road trip adventure, his Trip of Carl. He purchases an old VW van, which Bernice dubs Ernie for the occasion. Although Reese wants nothing to do with getting to know her mom again, she nonetheless humors her father and travels with the family. Together they attend a retreat led by a self-proclaimed Guru who removes the bandages from the family wounds to begin the healing process.

Amid the drama of reuniting, secrets unravel one by one: Carl’s confession about his part in Bernice leaving, how Reese feels about the men in her life, and what it takes to forgive Bernice.

But what happens if forgiveness comes too late?

Remember Us is a family drama both poignant and humorous, told from the alternating perspectives of Reese and Bernice, playful banter giving temporary relief to the hurt lying just below the surface. It reminds us that even amid pain and anger, there is always a chance to repair what is damaged.

“Forgiveness is never easy, but it is a road worth traveling.” And this is a book worth reading.

Remember Us is now available to purchase.

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Lindsay Blake’s dream list is one hundred deep. She has traveled to over thirty-two countries, caring for others and exploring our beautiful planet. She’s jumped out of a plane, lived in a mud hut in South Sudan, nearly died from a tapeworm in Pakistan, and dreams of flying to outer space. She’s shaved her head twice “just because.” Lindsay lives the good life in Omaha with her son, Carsen Warner.

Check out www.blakeandbeckner.com for more!

Layne James has been writing since she could hold a pen. With a background in photojournalism, she is passionate about telling stories with both her camera and her words. Layne loves gardening, being outside, traveling, keeping life as simple as possible, and time with her heart friends. Her dream is to sit in bed reading, writing, and drinking wine for as many hours as she can in any given week.

Visit www.blakeandbeckner.com for more!