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100
3.7 out of 5 stars
Yesterday's Sun
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 14 January 2012
This is a lovely story, beautifully written, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It is about a young woman named Holly who moves to a new village with her husband Tom. Tom is a tv journalist who works away a lot, leaving Holly alone in their new home. She discovers an old moondial in the garden but has no idea of the heartbreak it will bring.
The moondial brings visions of the future, and for Holly it is a terrible one. She finds a future with Tom widowed and struggling to bring up his baby daughter alone following her own death in childbirth.
For Holly this means dreadful choices ahead, does she stop herself from conceiving the beautiful baby she has already seen and fallen in love with, or go ahead and face the fact that she will more than likely die?
A totally original idea I thought, I have never read any other book like it, and what a terrible situation to find yourself in. The characters are warmly and lovingly portrayed, Holly is tremendously likeable, as is her husband Tom, her new friend, elderly Jocelyn, and even the delightful baby inb her visions. It is a story in which to lose yourself, and emerge later regretfully as it is a lovely warm place to be, in spite of the harrowing situation Holly finds herself in. Do not be put off this book by thinking it will be too sad, although it is based around potentially heartbreaking choices, it is a lovely almost uplifting book just by the way it is written and the warmth of the characters. Very enjoyable.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2012
This book caught my attention as it was being recommended by Richard and Judy's Book Club, which has provided me with some brilliant reads in the past. This was no exception. I warmed to the characters very quickly and in doing so, couldn't wait to find out all about them and to see where the story would take me. I love books with an element of magic in them, eg The Time Travellers Wife and obviously Yesterday's Sun has this element in with the moon dial, as Holly can see into the future.......a future which is heartbreaking, to her and to us readers!
Looking forward to Amanda Brooke's next novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I had really been looking forward to reading this book, so it pains me to say that actually I found it to be a real disappointment after what I felt was a fairly strong start. Things were going pretty well until about a quarter of the way into the book and then it all went a bit downhill, grew overly repetitive and I really lost interest in what was going on and struggled to finish the damn thing. I'm sorry to say that I wouldn't be in a hurry to pick up another book by this author in future. Also: the comparisons to Jodi Picoult? This book is nothing like a Picoult novel- so please don't be swayed into reading this thinking that's what you're going to get, because you most certainly aren't!

The concept of this novel was interesting (on the surface at least) and is what encouraged me to pick it up in the first place; being based around an ancient moon dial that can show its user the future so having a somewhat magical quality. Indeed, for unsuspecting Holly, when she and her husband uncover the dial in the rambling back garden of their new home, she never dreams quite what it will show her: her husband grieving her loss after she has died in childbirth. But is this future set in stone, or can it be changed? And if it *can* be altered, then what will the consequences be?

Like I said, a pretty decent premise for a story, but unfortunately one that just fell short at the final hurdle and was utterly ruined by the flimsy, one dimensional lead characters that had absolutely no personality or gumption and apparently spent all their time rolling around in bed together, giggling. Sickeningly sweet and smug- not appealing in the slightest! Another thing: pronouns. The complete lack of them in this story was utterly distracting and left me scratching my head a bit. I found the speed at which Holly bonded with her unborn child to be a teeny bit unbelievable, particularly given how in the previous chapter she had been completely averse to ever having a child. Also, for risk of spoiling anything, I will also say that I think the author copped out on the ending- I saw it coming but valiantly hoped that it wouldn't be the case and that this novel would have some redeeming quality, but instead it just became a predictable cliché. Such a shame.

Overall, this book had promise, but it failed to deliver the goods. I wouldn't recommend it and this will be going straight in the charity shop bag.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 18 February 2012
I love time travel stories. I love real life settings with a magical twist. I thought I was onto a winner with this one, it contained both elements and sounded incredibly emotional too. Unfortunatly this one fell short and left me disappointed.

I encounted problems very early on in the book. Amanda Brookes writing is very readable, but personally I didn't find it at all convincing. Holly and Tom are in their early thirties, yet I've never met anyone of this age who talks the way they do. They just weren't believable at all. Secondly, it's a bit of cliche overload to the point of being cringeworthy at times. Finally it's so sickly sweet, the scenes between Tom and Holly left me wanting to gag. If the writing wasn't so easy going I would have given up very early on. Besides, I really wanted to know what the deal with the moondial was.

I actually thought the premise was a really good one. Imagine being offered a glimpse into a future which didn't include you and the only way to save yourself was to sacrifice someone else? The workings and history of the moondial are what kept me going and were at times fascinating. But as Holly wasn't interested in having children in the first place I wondered what message Amanda Brookes was sending out here. Tom is very persuasive and pressurising towards Holly in the early pages regarding her having children and Holly's emotional attachment to the child she glimpses in the future is immediate. Is she saying that a womans role is purely motherhood? I'm not sure. I didn't get it.

Maybe the book lacked a little emotional involvement for me. It's written in a third person narraitive from Holly and tells rather than shows Holly's turmoil. Again I thought the over sentimentalaity and outdated character speach distanced me. It felt like I was supposed to find this story heartrendingly sad but the truth is I didn't. And I'm the biggest wuss going and cry at anything usually.

I did like the wise old neighbour Jocelyn however. She's a figure of strength and the little glimpses into her story were fascinating. In fact, this is whose story I wanted to hear full stop. Everyone else were charicatures, and old fashioned ones at that and I didn't like any of them. The other plus is that this is a pretty short book. It's only just over 300 pages and an easy quick read to pass a couple of hours. Overall though this book wasn't for me. Too syruppy, no emotional connection and the story was the wrong one, from the wrong person.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2012
I don't read much so when I do it has to be something special. Yesterday's Sun gripped me right from the start and (reluctantly using a cliche but in this case it's true) I couldn't put it down. It is a touching story with each chapter unravelling more and more of the mystery whilst you fall in love with all the characters even Billy the builder (my secret favourite). It is definitely a book that stays with you and I just loved it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book intrigued me before I’d even bought it and it’s description kept on pulling me back until eventually I did click buy. It promised the story of a moondial that would show you the future and this sparked in me a reminder of a book and tv show I’d loved many years before.

It is a very well crafted book, telling the story of Holly it begins on the day she is to give birth to her baby Libby and as she prepares to die in childbirth a future she had already seen thanks to a moondial in her garden. The book then spins back 18 months to the start of Holly’s story and the beginning of her experiences with the moondial struggles she goes through in reaching her decision to go ahead with a pregnancy she knows she will not survive.

I loved the whole concept of this book, perhaps because of my memories of a childhood book I can’t quite remember with a similar theme but this was a lovely concept for a book and very original. I couldn’t quite believe how quickly I was going through it and almost didn’t want it to be coming to an end. There is such lovely symbolism through the book in the ways the author draws in lots of symbols of motherhood in Holly’s life through her sculpture and her relationship with neighbour Jocelyn.

The ending is well written and will leave you feeling that the characters have reached their intended conclusion but it is a sad read. We know early on that Holly is destined to die or give up having a child forever so death is a certainty in the books ending. There were so many ways I tried to convince myself this could be avoided but the author follows through her story beautifully.

I haven’t read this authors work before but I loved her writing style, it pulled me in and made me want to keep reading and so I will be investigating her other work but I would thoroughly recommend this as a read and am now off to try and remember the name of that long forgotten book of my youth and the CBBC show that accompanied it….
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2012
I bought this book on the strength of the positive reviews and also because the subject matter sounded intriguing and unusual. What a mistake. leaving aside the ridiculous plot, the wooden and stereotyped characters, and the plodding dialogue, what really got me was the dreadful style. No character ever simply speaks - the writer employs a positive gallery of unlikely verbs to describe the way the characters communicate.'growl' 'smirk' 'concur' etc. Also, the writing should be able to convey the sense of the verb without the constant embellishment of adverbs. 'she declared hotly' 'she concurred flatly'.The pronoun appears to be a dead species in this book. Even when Holly (who I loathed) is alone in the house pondering the ridiculous moonstone the writer reminds us about every third line that she is talking about Holly. eg. 'Holly made a cup of tea and walked to the window. She was drawn by the moonstone outside. Holly put her cup down and made a decision.' Also it's full of clichés. There doesn't seem to be an original turn of phrase in the whole book. People jump out of their skin, collapse in fits of giggles, nurse their aching joints - even Holly who is barely thirty can't get out of bed without screaming in pain at her joints.The back story is tedious and impenetrable and could be reduced to couple of pages. Jocelyn is irritating beyond belief - kind old Miss Marple type but vile to the gent in the cafe. When Holly is not frolicking with Tom, she's wandering round the garden barely clad making suggestive remarks at Billy,the only other villager she appears to know despite the massive turnout at the party where everyone seems to know her. Could go on but no more space. Awful. Hated it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 2012
Packed to the rafters with every cliche imaginable, this absurd novel reads like a (relatively good) piece of GCSE level creative writing. If that's what you like, then treat yourself, you'll love it. If, however, you're expecting something that's actually readable, don't, as you'll want to gouge your eyes out with your bookmark by page 50. I'm sure Brooke has great potential as a writer, and I hope this book doesn't jeopardise her literary career. I'm really only reviewing this so I can bring the average star rating down a bit in the hope that others may avoid the pain I've endured this week.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2012
Having read the blurb I thought this might make for an interesting and unusual read, and indeed I found the beginning of this book to be just that. With the setting and characters comfortably established, I thought that the introduction of the moondial and its strange powers added an air of mystery and magic that was refreshing and held much potential.
The first journey in particular that Holly takes into the future made for compelling reading, and was conveyed with a powerful raw emotion; as was the effect that the baby Libby has on her as she seeps into her heart and as Holly slowly realises the terrible dilemma before her.
However, having initially been gripped by the storyline, I was disappointed to find that it became increasingly repetitive as the story went on and at times felt that it was merely treading in circles when I desperately wanted it to move forward. I was also disappointed by the ending as I saw it coming a long time beforehand, and felt personally that it was too easy an option.
The main characters also were a bit too cliche, and the relationship between Holly and Tom in particular a little too saccharine to believe.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2012
Thought provoking and moving, this debut novel by Amanda Brooke had me reaching for the tissues. It's difficult to say much about it without giving the story away, but if you've enjoyed reading Audrey Niffeneger or Jodi Picoult, you'll enjoy this. The characters are likeable and credible, whilst the plot twists in an intriguing way. Readers will find themselves wondering how they would react if they were in a similar quandary. I'm looking forwards to reading Amanda's second novel !
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