3 out of 4 stars
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The seemingly unfortunate life of Amanda Parker turns topsy-turvy after she saves the life of Mark Callahan, a handsome police officer. The same day, a grandfather clock at an antique shop intrigues her so much that she buys it. Amanda and Mark, both, admit the fact that they feel like they know each other but have never met before. Not in this life, at least. Amanda’s déjà vu feeling with Mark and her fascination with the grandfather clock leads her to explore the things she had never before believed. Advised and guided by Mary, her godmother, Amanda ventures into her past life. She discovers that previously she was a girl named Bonnie, who has suffered her fair share of tragedies. Finding a strong personal connection with Bonnie, Amanda’s belief that people around her are doomed to die is strengthened. She tries to push Mark away while he tries to convince her that he loves her now, just as he loved her yesterday.
To begin with, I didn’t have much expectations from this novel. I love reading romantic stories; but lately, they have turned out to be a disappointment. Yesterday surprised me. Any qualms and misconceptions that I had about it, all disappeared after the first chapter, itself. The story was engaging and fast paced. It didn’t take time to bring you right in the middle of action from the very beginning. The writing style was beautifully descriptive and created detailed and vivid picture of every scene. It was pretty easy for me to imagine the appearance of Amanda, Mark and any other character in the story. Sometimes, authors go into so much detail that it becomes weary, and even the main plot seems clouded by it. Such is not the case here. The author has smartly maintained a balance between descriptions and the flow of the story. The historical accuracy is spot-on. History lovers will appreciate that.
Written in the third person, we see this story through the point of view of Amanda, Bonnie and, occasionally, Mark. The timeline keeps flipping from past to present and vice versa. In the past, the Civil War and the Great Chicago Fire are the main focus of the plot. We gain an insight into the sufferings and losses of the people who lived in those tumultuous times. The steady development of characters was one of the strong suits of this novel. They were all quite distinct and, at times, relatable. Amanda’s thought process because of all the losses she has suffered seems justified. I have seen in many romantic novels that the authors create the idea of ‘love at first sight’, where the protagonists are instantly attracted to each other. While it may seem romantic, it mostly becomes absurd. The connection between Amanda and Mark, however, doesn’t seem cheesy, or illogical, at any point. The writing plays its part well and brings out the incredible chemistry between the characters.
There were a few things that I wanted more in the novel. The ending, to me, seemed too abrupt. There was a thing (not to give any spoilers) that just came out of the blue, in the end. It would have been justifiable had the author given a better insight into the story of characters other than Amanda. But, the author seemed in a hurry to tie loose ends. There was no proper development of Mark’s side of the story. Not even once do his parents, or his family, appear in the whole novel. There was no exploration of his family history and how it relates to his relationship with Amanda. To sum it up, there was too much of Amanda and not enough of Mark.
The mystery of the clock is another thing that disappointed me. In the beginning, it was mystifying. I was intrigued, just like Amanda, regarding its history and the meaning it held. However, it didn’t turn out as meaningful. Also, I wasn’t satisfied with the love story of Bonnie. While I found myself rooting for Amanda and Mark, my feelings weren’t as strong for Bonnie and her beau. The author could have taken some time and eased into their story rather than making everything too sudden. For all these reasons, my rating for Yesterday is 3 out of 4 stars. It is not often that I wish a book to be a bit longer, but with this one, I do. As compared to other novels that I have read lately, this one felt like a breath of fresh air. It was subtle and balanced, and I felt connected to the characters. It captivated me into reading it quickly. I just wish it had been a tad bit more elaborate to put everything perfectly into place.
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