Forever and a Day - Delilah Marvelle I have no idea what happened to this book during the second half, but whatever it was needs to die in a fire. I know I'm being all President Grump-Ass right now, but you'd be disappointed too if the first half of a book was compelling and entertaining, only to devolve into a hurried-up plot mess with more loose ends than those ladies in the Bachelor house. Forever and a Day concluded with such a non-ending that I'm not even sure it meets narrative standards. I want to punch the second half of the book in the face SO BAD right now because my cold, nearly dead heart was actually enjoying itself until the bottom fell out from under the story. Blah. Blech. Belch. Brrr. Let's get to this, shall we?

Lord Roderick Gideon Tremayne meets cute with Georgia Milton on Broadway Street, and then disaster strikes. Roderick chases after a kid who lifts Georgia's purse and ends up getting pummeled by an omnibus. When he wakes up, he has no idea who he is. All he remembers are the numerous books he's read, and of course, how to be a gentleman. Roderick's mind is so totally freaked that he thinks his name is Robinson Crusoe, which he goes by ... until his memory sadly comes back. Hilariously, no one in the book seems to understand what "memory loss" means, leading to several awkward conversations of Georgia saying, "He's actin' funny in the head 'cause he can't remember anything." Guilty about the circumstances of his injury, Georgia takes "Robinson" back with her to the Five Points to live in squalor with her until he regains his memory. Georgia was born and raised in New York, but Marvelle makes a point of talking about how Irish she is. So when you think of Georgia, you get the image of this:

Viva Ireland!

instead of this:

As American as apple pie.

In absolutely no time, they're licking each other's tonsils and for-real humping in a public hallway. That's how true love works. But the age-old question eventually rears its ugly head. Can an aristocrat love a filthy poor commoner from AMERICA? As Roderick's memories slowly come back to him, he's torn between duty and his love for Georgia. Will they cross that great ocean together, or will Georgia end up alone and desperate, just one more victim of Robinson Crusoe?

I really enjoyed Georgia's character. She's practical, kind, and doesn't pout about her circumstances. Georgia is the straight-man in her relationship with Robinson. He keeps pledging his undying love and vowing to run away with her (all within the confines of his memory loss), and she keeps saying, "Oy, boy-o, you'll be forgettin' me the moment your memories come back. Now don't be pinin' after a dream!" (And that concludes the single-worst dialect-to-dialogue you will ever see.) Robinson's cool, too, in the beginning. He has a child-like innocence and a strong sense of honor. It was fun reading about him seeing the world through wide new eyes instead of the jaded perspective of a London gentleman.

But then Roderick's memories come crashing back, and the book stutters and dies. In less than 100 pages of text (SPOILERS COMING!):

1. We're gifted with 2 whole chapters dedicated to the story of Roderick's life before he meets Georgia. It's boring and tedious, and his emotional hang-ups aren't given any credibility. He did sleep with his late brother's fiance ONCE and then ran away to Paris when she wouldn't marry him. And his mom died at some point.
2. Roderick decides that the heir to a dukedom can't take a scrawny girl from the streets of NYC back to London with him, so he decides to break it off. However, he whines and pisses and moans about how much it hurts and how much he loves Georgia until I seriously wanted to reach into the book and smack the angst out of him.
3. Roderick's dad, the Duke, starts to play a prominent role in the book. He's in NYC with Roderick to track down his late wife's brother who was somehow disappeared by Roderick's grampy. None of this is given much context. Anyways, the duke tells Roderick that he can't take Georgia to England with him because he'll ruin the girl's life. Because people in London are really damn mean. And stuff.
4. Georgia hatches a plan to stay with Roderick in England. He comes to her to break things off, and she's like, "Shut your mouth right now, boy-o! You just sit on your arse and let me be explainin' things. I'm goin' to hatch a Master Plan to turn me into lady, and then we'll meet again. You just wait and see!" Then she runs out the door, and they don't see each other again for nearly a year.
5. Meanwhile, Georgia and the duke (who's totally in on the "My Fair Lady" scheme) team up with Mr. Astor to enlist people to teach Georgia how to stop being such a filthy commoner. You see, Georgia's just perfect the way she is, but she has to change. Let this be a lesson to all the ladies out there. You must expose yourselves to societal wrath and months of hard work learning to suppress everything that makes you YOU to get a man-child with amnesia to marry you.
6. Lady Something-or-Other is assigned to Georgia to basically taunt the poor out of her. She teaches Georgia to finish her words properly and ... Well, we don't get to see anything else because that part of the book abruptly stops.
7. Fast forward several months, and Georgia's in London being all lady-like and the talk of the Season. Yes. She is now the toast of the Ton.
8. Roderick finally encounters her at a ball, and they reunite in a bedroom. He apologizes a couple of times, and Georgia tells him he has to beg for her. But no sex is had. No sex at all. The only physical encounter these two share in the book is about 100 pages in when they have ravaging sex in a public hallway up against the wall. I don't read these books for the sex (well, not JUST the sex), but it struck me as odd that Marvelle didn't put in a tender, lovers reunited love scene. But nope. There was still another thing ...
9. Roderick's long-lost Uncle Atwood shows up at the ball intending to kill the father that did him wrong (never explained) long ago. So the duke asks Roderick to talk to his uncle, and they do. Roderick convinces the guy not to kill his grampy. Atwood acts very strange and proposes having a threesome with Georgia even though he doesn't know her. Then Atwood rejoins the party, and Roderick heads back to Georgia for ... NOTHING because it cuts right to the epilogue.
10. The epilogue takes place seven years later, and Roderick and Georgia have a daughter with a stupid name I've already forgotten who wants an elephant. With the help of Georgia, the little scamp convinces Roderick to take them to India in place of the elephant, and Georgia's all happy because ... uh ... I'm really not sure what the big deal was with India. They never even discussed it in the book. No scenes of them staring at the stars in the Five Points talking about how they've always wanted to see an elephant in India. Georgia used to dream about settling her own land in Ohio and growing apple trees, but that's never mentioned again when she abandons her entire life for her man.

And that was it. THE END. Oh, and Georgia's stepson who's older than her (from her short-lived marriage at 18 to an older guy) shows up in London, too. Georgia sees him in a park and wonders what he's doing there, but we never get an explanation. I think he may have been with Uncle Atwood, but once again, it's left a mystery. Is this book actually a magic trick? If I tap a magic wand on my Nook three times, will the real ending reveal itself? I'm going to assume that Marvelle's setting up for more books in a series, but that isn't an excuse. The ending was the strangest, most rushed thing I've read in a long time. Even worse, it's implied that Georgia can't stand London society. But then they just stay there. Just 'cause, apparently.

This book could have rated three stars or more if any attention and care had been given to the ending. Like Roderick, Forever and a Day must have been pummeled by an omnibus, hit its head, and forgot the entire first half of the book. Can a book get amnesia? I'm deciding it can.