Tag Archive | romance

Yesterday’s Tomorrow

I read a review of Catherine West’s Yesterday’s Tomorrow quite a while back on God With Us: Finding Joy (http://janetsketchley.wordpress.com). I put it on my To Read Someday list.

A book set in Vietnam during the war wouldn’t normally have been my first choice, but the more I read, the more it drew me in. Of course, I want a story with a compelling plot, but I’m primarily drawn to characters that I grow to care about. And YT definitely fits the bill.

I love books. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I turn the last page. However, I don’t always look forward to that time of day when I can open a specific book and plunge into the story, but that’s exactly how I felt about reading YT.

It’s not an easy book to read, but anyone who is old enough to remember the Vietnam War knows it wasn’t an easy time. Emotions ran high. The author doesn’t pull her punches. Because of it, it is a compelling story. The characters are real. Their stories are real. Their joys are real. And so are their heartaches.

The author doesn’t create a sanitized version of reality, nor does she overwhelm readers with too much disturbing detail. To me, she strikes the delicate balance.  And it’s just plain believable – another element of fiction that truly matters to me.

The pages of YT overflow with action, suspense, drama, character interplay, and an overarching romance (minus the fluff). If this appeals to you, I highly recommend Yesterday’s Tomorrow.

A Vision of Lucy

“Prejudice is just a quick way to form an opinion about someone without going to all the bother of getting to know him.” So says a key character in Margaret Brownley’s newest book.

Evidence of prejudice has always caused my blood to boil. And while A Vision for Lucy is, in many ways, an Old West romance, it is also a story about the consequences of careless actions and lifelong secrets…all stemming from prejudice.

Although I don’t necessarily delve into a novel seeking to learn a lesson or see myself in the characters, I often do. In ways, I relate to Lucy, the independent, oft outspoken protagonist. For me, seeing similarities between myself and one or more characters always makes for a more enjoyable experience.

That and those sneaky hooks that authors throw in to keep us turning the pages. I knew I’d have a tough time setting aside A Vision… when I came to the unexpected cliffhanger at the end of Chapter One.

That said, I must admit, as an editor, I frequently spot errors in the books I read. One such “error” caught my attention: Harper’s Bazar. Knowing the current day publication is Harper’s Bazaar, I went online to check it out. Sure enough, in the 1800s, there was no second “a”. Now, that’s an author who does her homework!

The accuracy of this one detail assured me that the other historical references were, in fact, true to the time period. I, like Lucy, am a photographer. I found it extremely interesting how Brownley wove in details about the entire picture taking process of the 19th century. Who knew the chemicals used in developing photographs were so dangerous? Not to mention the risks in getting that exciting action shot.

I’m a visual learner, but do not like to get bogged down by endless descriptions. Brownley adds just enough details to paint the picture for me without losing my interest. In my mind, I can still see the out-of-control stagecoach, the roiling rapids and the burning church.

The only complaint I have is that Brownley often repeats her characters’ traits and behaviours. This, I’m sure, stood out to me because I read the book so quickly.

A Vision for Lucy will always be special to me. It’s the first book I’ve ever read that was not already available on the bookstore shelves, an Advanced Reader’s Copy. How cool is that!

If you enjoy an easy-to-read romance with a fair share of suspense thrown in, look for the story of Lucy and the mysterious “wild man” when it is released in June.