Yesterday, by Samyann, is a historical fiction book with a story that ranges across decades from the Chicago of today to the American Civil War of the 1800s and the most horrific conflagration of those times that we now know as the Great Chicago Fire.
This well-written novel tells us the story of Amanda Parker who saves the life of Mark Callahan—a mounted policeman—and drags his limp form through a litter of rubble and out of the path of a falling train. When Amanda gets hurt in the process, Mark manages to move her to safety and call for help. These events form a bond between the two of them and they end up seeing a lot of each other. They cannot shake off this feeling that they know the other from before. However, tragedy has always kept Amanda company. What’s more, death has always managed to claim all her loved ones without fail. That is why she strongly resists the pull she feels toward Mark. Amanda and Mark are sure of one thing though: they both want to uncover the mystery of how they were connected to each other in their past. The story introduces us to Bonnie, Jack, and Daniel, and we gradually learn the parts each of these characters played in the pasts of the main characters.
I loved how much research has gone into this story. There is a lot of history that we are educated on but never in a way that bores us. Every minute detail related to Amanda’s and Mark’s pasts has been woven seamlessly into the plot.
What’s really admirable about this book is how it is a healthy mix of romance and mystery. We get to learn much about the process of past life regression—something I have not seen dealt with in so much detail in any other book I have read to date. Modern day techniques of forensics also come into the picture and play their part in putting together the pieces of the puzzle involving the past of the main characters. The whole story is really enjoyable, and the storytelling itself is fast-paced.
The author focuses on generating some really warm, fuzzy feelings in the reader—and it really works! However, I feel that Amanda’s character could have been a little stronger. I know that she has had a difficult past, but she seems to use that as an excuse for her odd behavior at times. For example, when she knows she isn’t too good at handling regressions herself, she still attempts slipping into one of these sessions unassisted, gets hurt mentally by it, and runs out of the house to avoid the people she loves. At another time, she locks herself in a room for three whole days and goes on a drunken bender. I know I am being less sympathetic to the character, but I guess I have always preferred seeing stronger female leads in books. Note to Amanda: Stop wallowing in self-pity; you have a wonderful man (a soulmate at that) and a beautiful family!
I rate Yesterday 3 out of 4 stars. I am someone who likes to see mush levels at a minimum in romance novels, and this one was right up my alley. Unfortunately, the book contains a number of punctuation errors. This prevents me from giving it a higher rating. I recommend Yesterday to all those who enjoy historical fiction.