Cover of Remember Me by Chelsea Bobulski. A woman walks down a dark, vaulted corridor

About the Book

Title: Remember Me
Published: 2019

Cover Story: 80s Music Video
Drinking Buddy: Gin and Tonic
MPAA Rating: PG-13: Graphic Violence, Adult Situations, Alcohol and Tobacco Use
Talky Talk: Strangely Familiar
Bonus Factors: Grand Hotel, Teen Marriage
Bromance Status: Time Will Tell

Cover Story: 80s Music Video

This looks like some video from the early days of MTV, maybe for ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ or ‘These Dreams.’ I like the cover of the German version better:

German cover of Remember Me by Chelsea Bobulsky. Eight pictures of the same young woman, in different time periods

The Deal:

In 1907, sixteen-year-old Lea and her family check into the Winslow Grand Hotel to spend the summer with Lea’s wealthy fiance, Lon. Lon is a bit of an acquired taste. Okay, maybe he’s loutish, domineering, prone to anger, sexist, alcoholic, and a little violent at times, but…he’s rich. And Lea’s formerly wealthy family has fallen on hard times. Marriage to Lon will allow her family back into the upper crust and insure her a life of ease. All she has to do is conquer the shuddering revulsion she feels every time Lon kisses her. Or talks to her. Or is in the same room with her. Not like Alec Petrov, the hotel errand boy who makes Lea feel more alive than she ever has.

In the present day, sixteen-year-old Nell has moved into the Winslow Grand Hotel. Smarting from the tragic death of Lea’s mother, her father has accepted a management position at the hotel in hopes of getting their lives back on track. Lea is assigned to work with Max, a cute film nerd, in archiving artifacts from the hotel’s nearly 150 year history. Geez, seems there was a nasty murder/suicide there around the turn of the century. Some socialite was shot by her fiance.

For some reason, Nell can’t stop thinking about this murder. No one seems to know any specific details. Maybe she should ask Alec Petrov, the young hotel janitor, but he gets weird and surly every time Nell tries to talk to him.

Drinking Buddy: Gin and Tonic

Two pints of beer cheersing

That’s what everyone drank back in the gilded age, right?

So Lea dreads her upcoming marriage so much that she starts to envy the dead. But her brutish father has promised her to this rich guy, and marry him she will. She considers running off to Wyoming, but she has a beloved little brother who she worries will become homeless if she doesn’t marry into wealth. Meanwhile Nell, still hurting over the loss of her mother, is plagued by strange dreams and visions of a bloody murder at this hotel. She has to find out what’s going on, even though everyone is strangely closed-mouthed.

Two very likeable, similar heroines. Very similar, if you catch my drift.

MPAA Rating: PG-13: Graphic Violence, Adult Situations, Alcohol and Tobacco Use

So Lea’s father has basically sold her to Lon. She’s to be a dutiful wife, never contradict him, and to do whatever he tells her, both in the household and in the bedroom. Not like Alec, the carefree son of Russian immigrants who’s as charming as he is sexy. God, Lon would kill her if he knew…Seriously, he would.

And in Nell’s world, she has to think of a way to tell her friend Max that she’s not interested in more than friendship. Hell, Max is a big boy, he can take it. It’s not like he’ll become possessed by some malevolent entity that lives in the hotel and attack her. And then there’s Alec, that hot boy who’s worked at the hotel longer than anyone can remember. But how can that be? He’s Lea’s age.

Yeah, things are about to get real for the girls, especially when you live in a society where men feel they can do anything they want to a woman. And I don’t just mean 1907.

Talky Talk: Strangely Familiar

Everything here seems strangely familiar, and I’m not just talking about Nell’s flashbacks. C’mon, the haunted hotel, the employee who’s been around in the past, the feeling that she’s always lived here, the evil spirits in the walls. This book it about 40% The Shining.

But Remember Me is a nice take on the old plot, and there were some real nail biting moments that kept me page turning until the end.

Bonus Factor: Grand Hotel

hand ringing bell at hotel front desk

The Winslow Grand Hotel of South Carolina is no Motel 6. In its heyday, it was one of those fantastic palatial inns, with fancy dining, ballrooms, and servants there to cater to the rich clientele’s ever whim. No less a personage than Mark Twain has stayed there. Even in modern times, the place is still fantastic. Nell, an aspiring ballet dancer, practices in the hotel’s disused ballroom. But what’s that mysterious, haunting tune only she can hear?

Bonus Factor: Teen Marriage

Wedding cake

So in 1907, it wasn’t uncommon for girls in their teens to get married. Hell, my great-grandparents got married at 14, and were married 74 years (of course, they were born into a kind of a cult, but that’s another story). And because women didn’t usually work, they’d often marry older, established men who could take care of them while they raised a family. But Lea has her life to live, and if she were to get married, it wouldn’t be to a controlling monster like Lon. Can she put her own happiness and safety before that of her family?

Bromance Status: Time Will Tell

I like you now. We’ll see where we stand in the year 2119.

Literary Matchmaking

Asylum (Asylum #1)

In Madeleine Roux’s Asylum, we have creepy building and another kid suffering from flashbacks to events from before he was born.

Bitter End

Bitter End, by Jennifer Brown, also deals with the seemingly nice, privately violent, boyfriend.

The House

If you like reading about malevolent buildings, pick up The House by Christina Lauren.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money or a sloe gin fizz for writing this review.

Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.