Remember us…when I can’t.
Thea Hughes has five minutes to live.
A car accident stole her parents and left her with the second-worst documented case of amnesia in the world. She now has only minutes of experiences, of consciousness, of life…before her memory is wiped clean. The once effervescent artist with a promising future is reduced to scribbling with pens and paper, living an empty, quiet life, three hundred seconds at a time.
Jim Whelan is on autopilot.
A foster kid shuffled around the system since birth, he’s lived his entire life without knowing love…and it’s taken its toll—until he learned to fight back, carry his armor, and keep his head down.
Working as an orderly in the Blue Ridge Sanitarium, deep in Virginia countryside, Jim looked up…and found Thea.
When Thea has the chance to break free of her five-minute prison with a risky, experimental surgery, it could lead them both to an epic love they never thought possible… or one that could require the ultimate sacrifice.
50 First Dates meets Awakenings in this emotional love story by international and best selling author, Emma Scott.
WARNING A Five-Minute life contains subject matter that might be sensitive to some readers.
#standalone #newadultromance #notparanormal (From: Goodreads)
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“Marc Antony,” I said and nodded at her drawing. “Part of your Egyptian studies?”
Thea leaned her cheek on her folded hands like she was warming herself before a fire. “Marc Antony is part of the romance. A love story with Cleopatra. He went to war for her. Died for her. When they told her he was dead, she put her hand in a basket with an asp. Can you imagine? Loving someone so much that the thought of life without them is too unbearable?”
“No,” I said. “I can’t.”
Her gaze dropped to my hand on the table and her fingers reached to trace the scars on my knuckles.
These tell a story, don’t they?” She traced one of the fine lines. “You put your hand in with the snakes, too.”
I nodded slowly, savoring the feel of her warm skin on mine. “So the bullies would leave me alone.”
“And did they?”
“I’m glad.” She put her hand in mine completely, her fingers wrapping around and holding tight. “I’m being too… something. Personal. Delia would throw a fit, but I feel like…”
“Like what, Thea?”
“Like I have to hold on to this moment, you know? Or you… I don’t even know you and yet I don’t want to stop talking to you.” Her hand squeezed mine. “I don’t care if you have a stutter, but please keep talking to me, Jimmy. Okay?”
My mouth went dry at the nameless desperation in her eyes.
Jesus, does she know she’s trapped? She can’t. Impossible…
“I won’t,” I said. “I’ll talk to you every day. I promise.”
Thea breathed a small sigh of relief and released my hand. “Thank you, Jimmy. That makes me feel better.”
With a final smile—a parting smile, I realized—she took up her pen and then froze.
Confusion passed over her features. She looked up at me, flinching a little to see a big man in close proximity. I instantly leaned back to give her space.
“How long has it been?” she asked.
“Two years,” I said, my voice hardly more than a whisper. “But the doctors are working on your case.”
“Yes, they are.” She smiled hesitantly and found my nametag. “I’m Thea Hughes.”
Seven. Seven times now.
“Jim Whelan,” I said.
She offered her hand. Again. I took it robotically, enduring her one-pump shake. Again. Her fingers didn’t linger in mine but released immediately, the way you do with a stranger. Again.
“Nice to meet you, Jim Whelan.”
Fuck. I can’t do this.
I rose to my feet. “I have to get to work.”
Her face fell. “Oh. Bummer. Will I see you again?”
I could promise her I would, but she wouldn’t remember. There was no promise. I could tell her the sky was falling or my name was Abraham Lincoln and she wouldn’t know the damn difference. It’d vanish, like every other word we’d ever spoken to each other. I vanished every time her reset hit and was recreated over again in Thea’s eyes. I could be whatever I wanted; whomever I wanted. And yet she was the one woman I might’ve had a chance to be myself with.
The terrible irony of it was like copper in my mouth.
“Sure, Miss Hughes,” I said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
[MAY CONTAIN MILD SPOILERS.]
***Actual rating: 3.5/5 I’m-on-her-loop Stars***
”Will I see you again?” Please say yes, Jimmy Whelan. He hesitates, his dark eyes gazing intently into mine. I don’t know what he’s looking for, but whatever it is, I want him to find it.
First of all, A Five-Minute Life is a relatively different story compared to Emma Scott’s previous works. On one hand, it is undoubtedly a refreshingly original piece of work. On the other hand, I’m not sure if this book could easily meet up to the expectation of Emma’s huge fans. This book follows the female main character, Thea Hughes, a lovely girl who suffers from the world’s second-worst case of amnesia after a dreadful car accident when she was 21. She has been living in Blue Ridge Sanitarium ever since. Due to the amnesia, Thea’s memory only lasts for five minutes and when those precious minutes go by, her brain will automatically reset, erasing everything she learns during her previous round of five-minute.
Thea’s monotone life in the sanitarium pretty much looks like this:
“How long has it (the car accident) been?”
“Where are Mom and Dad?”
“They’re on their way and you’ll see them soon.”
“Are the doctors working on my case (of amnesia)?”
“Yes, they’re working on it and they’ll make you feel better.”
Enter James, “Jim, Jimmy,” Whelan, an orderly in the sanitarium who’s been struggling with stutters since childhood. Jimmy is the guy with kind eyes, a big heart, but little do people know, he’s actually a foster kid throughout his life. It’s not hard to imagine that sparks fly when Jimmy meets Thea in the sanitarium; however, for exactly the same reason, the first part of the book breaks my heart cruelly. Thea can’t remember her encounter with Jimmy so when her brain resets, they have to start over and over and over again as if they’ve just got acquainted.
In my opinion, the first part of the story is nothing but miserable and depressing. I hate to see that Jimmy has to bear countless times of heartbreaks because there’s obviously something between Thea and him. It saddens me to see despite the fact that Thea shows signs of vaguely recognizing and understanding her severe situation via the paintings/word chains she creates every day, no one really pay attention to her/her works…except Jimmy.
Her hand touched my fingers, her soft skin warm in the warmer air, and then slid into mine—palm to palm—and our fingers laced together. Thea settled back against my chest, curving into me again because she belonged there and we both knew it. “I don’t feel sorry for you, Jimmy,” she said. “I feel sorry for all the people who had a chance to really know you but didn’t. They blew it. They fucked up. I’m proud of myself that I’m not like them.”
Thus, I think Thea’s coming back in Part II of the story is a salvation for both Jimmy and herself because Jimmy finally has someone he loves who remembers him and Thea can be herself all over again. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end so by the time we reach the third and last part of the book, Thea’s amnesia regresses and everything turns even more devastating.
As much as I appreciate Thea and Jimmy’s romantic development, it feels wrong to rationalize miracles. The majority of this book focuses on Thea’s amnesia and how it affects her on a daily, minutely, secondly basis. Hence, it’s inevitable that there would be some medical references regarding permanent brain injury and memory loss.
What disappoints me is that there isn’t enough medical background research to further solidify the basic story structure. To put it differently, Thea all of a sudden recovers from her amnesia thanks to some doctors’ new procedure, and she regains ALL OF HER LOST MEMORY in a blink of an eye. Well, technically, it’s a smart move because the story has to move on. So I know Thea and Jimmy won’t be able to “go on” without a major twist. And by twist, I definitely don’t mean the one happening here. I mean, none of the speedy recovery makes sense and no matter how miraculous it is, I believe memory loss isn’t something you can quickly recover from, let alone a two-year worth of memory.
Aside from the unrealistic facet of amnesia, I also do not appreciate the excessive use of miracles. From my perspectives, Thea’s case of recovery is the outcome of extremely good luck, which might as well be comprised of an incredibly amount of miracles. Honestly, I really ain’t expecting anything positive coming out of her since amnesia isn’t something that can be treated lightly. Therefore, hardly can I imagine what it’s like for Thea to be forced dying in her own dark corners, little boxes, or Egyptian Tombs, let alone coming back to life experiments after experiments.
What’s worse, the part when Thea and Jimmy act like a normal couple going sightseeing in New York is truly…amateur. Don’t get me wrong, I love all things New York-ish, from the Empire State Building to the lovely bookshop down the Bleeker; I just don’t find it as interesting and meaningful as the author has in mind for Thea and Jimmy’s story.
To sum up, the lack of a more professional medical background story and the miracle abuse in this book have inevitably ruined my overall anticipation for A Five-Minute Life. Even though I admire Jimmy’s
stubbornness determination to love Thea forever and remember her when she can’t, there’s still a lot to improve in terms of the story itself. I probably won’t “highly” recommend this book to everyone, but if you were a huge fan of Emma, why not give this a shot? Who knows, maybe you’ll end up loving it much more than I do!
***Thanks to Social Butterfly PR for generously providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.***
About the Author
Emma Scott is a bestselling author of emotional, character-driven romances in which art and love intertwine to heal, and in which love always wins. If you enjoy emotionally-charged stories that rip your heart out and put it back together again, with diverse characters and kind-hearted heroes, you will enjoy her novels.
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All right, thanks y’all for joining me in today’s blog tour for Emma Scott’s new release, A Five-Minute Life. For those who’re wondering, this cover is actually a new one since Amazon doesn’t approve Emma of her previous cover marketing strategies. To be real honest, I actually love this cover much more than the original version so yay!
Anyways, I hope you’re having a fabulous week and more posts, book reviews, and bookish unboxings to come! Stay tuned!! ❤