Review by Kansas City Teacher -- Yesterday by Samyann

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Review by Kansas City Teacher -- Yesterday by Samyann

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[Following is a volunteer review of "Yesterday" by Samyann.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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After Amanda saves his life in Chicago, Mark is determined to find out who she is. He finds that the beautiful young woman with striking blue eyes works in an antique shop, and he cannot shake the feeling that he knows her. Amanda, still grieving the loss of her husband, is reluctant to start a relationship. Mark pursues her and they both feel an undeniable connection and pull towards each other. Through hypnotic regression therapy, they both discover their past lives during the Civil War and The Great Chicago Fire, and they seek clues as to how they may have crossed paths in earlier lives.

I chose this book because I enjoy historical fiction; this genre provides readers with a human connection to influential events that have shaped our world. With most historical fiction novels, there is typically an element of familiarity, making the characters seem more intriguing. I was a little reserved about the reincarnation aspect, but after reading this novel, I felt this element added another dimension of puissance to the underlying themes in the story.

In Yesterday, by Samyann, the themes of loss and survival permeate the chapters of the book with consistency and power. In the opening scenes, Amanda can hardly look at a plane, the object that took the life of her husband. During the regressions, she learns that she lived in Charleston during the Civil War and like many people of the time, found herself directly affected by the violence. The Great Chicago Fire is also a part of her history, and further peril awaits her there. Each memory seems to sketch a scar on her soul; each one stored in the depths of her subconscious. Mark is less intuitive but does discover, through his own regression therapy, that there is also more to his life story.

What I liked most about this book were the descriptions and the characterization. The author expertly uses imagery and metaphors to bring the setting and characters to life. The unique and mystifying smells of the antique shop were described in such detail that I felt I was there. From the very beginning, I was drawn to Amanda and felt her pain through the author’s descriptive and emotion-evoking words. I could picture in my mind Amanda as “fragile as a soap bubble hovering over a cactus.” The book shifts from past to present frequently, leaving the reader to ponder who is who and where the connection between Amanda and Mark truly lies. Both of the main characters were well-developed and provided quite a bit of introspect that made them realistic and lovable. Many secondary characters enriched the story’s plot - beloved slaves risked their lives and freedom to transport children to safety; a stranger took in starving orphans; a selfless aunt shared a gift. For the characterization and crafty use of writing techniques described above, I gladly rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.

Yesterday is very well-edited and I only noticed two errors in grammar. There is nothing I disliked about the book, and I recommend it for all readers who are old enough to appreciate the historical context and the adult themes of love and loss. The concept of reincarnation may be controversial for those who are conservative or religious. My approach to this book was that it was a love story, and within this context I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a testimony to the power of resilience and love after loss.

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