3 out of 4 stars
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Yesterday: A Novel of Reincarnation, by Samyann is a modern-day love story between two adults who believe their souls have been intertwined for centuries and generations. Amanda Parker is an antiques dealer who has lived a life of pain through the loss of loved one after loved one. She is afraid to open herself up to love for fear that it will end in heartbreak again. Mark Callahan is a Chicago mounted police officer who is captivated by the sapphire blue eyes of the brave woman who pulled him to safety after a freak train derailment within the city’s streets. Their chance meeting leaves them both with the nagging feeling that they have met before and an attraction that must be explored.
The character development of both Amanda and Mark is one of the greatest strengths of this novel. Amanda, at first glance, seems like a woman who is the victim of misfortune in the frequent and premature deaths of a multitude of loved ones through her life. While she plays the role of the victim through her emotional baggage, she proves to be unrelenting survivor in both this life and the past. While her current and past lives are vastly unique experiences, she handles both with an identical and consistent character. Her strength and determination through hardship is what makes both the reader and Mark love her. Mark is the stereotypical traditional man in his ideals of being in charge, the protector, and stubbornly indestructible. Whether you like that or not, as a reader you grow to love him for his humor and charm, and especially for his determination to have what he wants in this life and the past -- Amanda.
The book has a few details that might niggle their way under your skin, but none of them are worth putting the book down. The main problem is the plethora of extraordinary things that happen in the life of one woman. I understand the value of drama in a book, but slavery, civil war battles, a rape attempt, parent deaths at a young age, plane crashes, The Great Chicago Fire, sibling deaths, home raids, a unexplained train derailment, breech baby, a police shooting, attacks by murderous thugs, and a close relative who just happens to have expertise in past life regression -- it’s a little much for even two full lifetimes. Some of the incidents are necessary to the plot line, but life is just as mundane as it is extraordinary; the author needs to maintain a little better balance for the story to be entirely believable.
I rate this book a 3 out of 4. I didn’t give the book a 4 because of the fact that the author was trying to deliver a love story of historical fiction but tried to tackle too much unnecessary drama for it to feel very real. It certainly deserves the merit of the 3 rating though because of the development of the people and their relationships in the book. As a reader, you grow to like and respect the characters for their determination, strength, and capacity to love. Also, the author has a good attention to details. One example is the extensive knowledge of all things drink: from tea styles to alcohol. Another example of quality detail was found in the description of to how to give two horses mange in order to smuggle them through the civil war lines.
Yesterday would appeal most to women as young as their twenties and as old as love and history matters. It is an easy read in the fact that there is much to sort out in terms of characters and time periods, and it all comes out clearly for the reader. Additionally, there is a maturity in the language vocabulary and the necessity to have a running knowledge of historical events in order to truly enjoy the frequent and numerous references. I enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it to friends in search of a good read.
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