Amanda Brooke (Adult Fiction)
Tom and Holly Corrigan had only been married for two years when they moved into the gatehouse that sat at the entrance of the once majestic Hardmonton Hall. Holly—an artist—instantly fell in love with the residence despite its many years of abandonment and neglect and finds that she has plenty of free time to make it a home since Tom’s job requires a lot of travel. Their lives, like the gatehouse, is full of possibility and promise. One day while renovating, Holly uncovers a wooden box that contains a beautiful glass ball and soon discovers that it is the missing top of the moondial that sits in their garden. When Holly places the orb on the pedestal on a full-moon night, she realizes that she has unwittingly activated a timepiece that shows her a future full of life and loss…a daughter and a death. When she shares her vision with Jocelyn, her new friend and the previous owner of the gatehouse, Holly soon learns the extensive truth behind the moondial’s power and realizes the terrible decision that she must now make that will not only affect her, but everyone she loves.
Give me a book that begins with a partial peek at the ending and I’m instantly invested in the characters and story. That is what Amanda Brooke does in her Prologue as we see Holly in bed, gently stroking her swollen belly, as she looks at her sleeping husband and whispers, “You’ll be angry with me for leaving you both, but eventually you’ll understand. One day, you’ll look at our daughter and you’ll know what I know. You’ll know that she was worth the sacrifice.” It’s a deeply emotional, intimate, and heartbreaking moment that immediately connects you with Holly and her story that’s just beginning to unfold for us. We know the journey with Holly won’t be easy given the fact that we most-likely know how her story will end, but we’re fully committed now and determined to see this through with her to the end…no matter how painful.
Holly is a fractured and imperfect protagonist. Yes, her waffling between questions of “Should I” or “Shouldn’t I” become a little tedious, but given her sudden and callous abandonment by her mother…HER MOTHER…you can understand the doubts and reservations she has about her own maternal abilities. If you lead by example, then Holly is doomed. Because Brooke takes her time in unpackaging Holly’s history, we clearly give her a pass when it comes to her indecisiveness and it’s why we stay loyal to her as she painfully struggles between self-preservation and self-sacrifice.
Without spoiling any of the story, I do want to comment on the verbiage written on the cover of the book: How can she choose between her child and herself? Oh, gentle reader. If only it were that easy, because as you start to discover and understand the power of the moondial, this goes so much deeper than “well…I just won’t do that and everything will be fine. Right?” When Jocelyn tells Holly that the moondial can be cruel, she isn’t joking.
Yesterday’s Sun is a suspenseful, thoughtful, and poignant read that will keep you engrossed, guessing, and second guessing until the end. It’s a satisfying story that reminds us how we shouldn’t take anything for granted and how important it is to live in the now. American actor James Dean, who was only 24-years old when he died suddenly and tragically, said, “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” Holly eventually understood this and hopefully all of us won’t need a moondial to realize this as well.
* Book cover image attributed to: www.amazon.com