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Read Yesterday, Forgotten Tomorrow
Yesterday's Sun - Amanda Brooke
Member Name: jo1976
Yesterday's Sun - Amanda Brooke
Date: 17/12/12, updated on 15/08/13 (58 review reads)
Advantages: Interesting and unusual premise
Disadvantages: Lack of tension, implausible characters
I picked up 'Yesterday's Sun' from my local library, attracted by a rather intriguing cover and the strapline 'How can she choose between her child and herself?' This novel is the debut from Amanda Brooke and has been included as one of the Richard and Judy Book Club recommendations, which has been a source of many great reads for me.
I found the prologue was a really good start to this story - revealing a heavily pregnant Holly and alluding to her impending death. This grabbed my interest from the outset as I was intrigued to discover just how Holly was so sure that she was going to die and why she had chosen to conceal this information from her own husband. The novel then jumps back to eighteen months previously where we get to meet Holly and her husband, Tom, as they move into a new home together in the countryside.
Despite the attention-grabbing prologue, the story itself was quite slow going to begin with. I have to admit that I didn't particularly warm to Holly and find her relationship with Tom a little over-egged, with the author constantly emphasising how much in love the newly-wed young couple are and how they have planned out their futures together to the nth degree. I didn't really empathise a great deal with Holly and found there was far too much needless description and padding within the early chapters.
The story takes a more interesting turn when Holly discovers a 'moondial' (rather than a sundial) hidden at the bottom of her new garden and experiences a strange kind of vision of her own future, one in which she actually witnessed her husband grieving following her own death during childbirth. This was an unusual slant on the concept of time travel and should have been quite exciting and tense but, somehow, I felt this was lacking.
I find it difficult to pinpoint why exactly I wasn't totally in love with this story. The premise is unusual and intriguing but it didn't really captivate me in the way that I had anticipated. I struggled to empathise completely with Holly, even when she begins to question her long-term plans for her future. I suspect this might be because Holly was initially pretty ambivalent about the idea of becoming a parent in the beginning and only seems to begin to want children at the point she believes that she is likely to die in childbirth.
There are other peripheral characters around the story but I'm not sure why the author felt the need for these to be so much older than Holly. We have a kindly old gardener and a motherly lady in her eighties. I wasn't entirely convinced by the character of Jocelyn, particularly as she fails to share pretty crucial information with Holly early on in the novel. I felt the author missed the opportunity to really build up tension and intrigue with the introduction of Jocelyn, as Holly could quite easily have been suspicion of the (much) older woman's intentions and motivation. Instead, Holly instantly seems to accept Jocelyn and her version of events whereas I think most people would be a little more cynical.
In all, this fell slightly short of the mark. This is a debut novel and I would certainly consider reading more by the same author as she progresses but just don't feel this is entirely worthy of all of the praise it has received thus far.
Summary: Not as good as I'd anticipated