2 out of 4 stars
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Yesterday by Samyann is the story of a young woman named Amanda. After she rescues the life of Mark, a Chicago police officer, they both become close. They can’t help the feeling that they’ve met before, that somehow they know each other. These thoughts lead Amanda to explore her past lives and go back to the time of the Civil War. With the help of her aunt Mary, a psychiatrist, she sees the life of Bonnie, a girl who lost everyone but her cousin Jack during the war, and how she learns to live with her loss.
Loss is a common theme in Amanda’s life. She has lost her parents, older brother, fiancée, and thinks she is cursed to lose everyone she loves. She is unwilling to start a relationship with Mark because she fears that she will lose him too. Exploring their past lives lets Amanda and Mark understand the ties that bind them, and eventually bring them together.
At its core, Yesterday is a love story. It’s the story of a man trying to convince a broken-hearted woman that she is not doomed to be alone all her life. Only secondly is it a historical novel. Not nearly enough time is devoted to Bonnie and her story. The story of how she eventually meets and falls in love with Daniel felt rushed and lacking the same feeling of realness as that of Amanda and Mark. Since Yesterday was advertised as a historical novel that fact kept me from really liking the book.
There are elements of fantasy in the book in the way that it treats past lives and people’s ability to remember them. At one point Mary says that past lives are nothing new to a practicing psychiatrist. Mark, who is supposed to be Catholic, sees no conflict between belief in reincarnation and his religion. Things like that really took away from the book’s realism. The supernatural parts were my least favorite aspect of the book.
However, leaving those problems behind, Yesterday was at times a very good story. I really empathized with Amanda and her pain. Hers is the type of story we would all love to have, where at our lowest point someone comes into our lives to love us and to rescue us from ourselves. I myself have never been a fan of love stories, but Yesterday felt really touching.
Overall, my rating for Yesterday is 2 out of 4 stars. If the book had fleshed out Bonnie’s story more and was more grounded in reality, then I think I would have liked it a lot more. Plus, I can’t shake the disappointment of being promised a historical novel and not getting one. If that’s what you’re looking for also, then I wouldn’t recommend Yesterday to you. It’s really a book for lovers of romantic stories.
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