In Yesterday’s Sun, Amanda Brooke tells the story of Holly Corrigan and her struggle to choose between her own life and that of her potential child. Holly is granted an image of the future, a future in which she dies giving birth. This, however, seems to be only a potential future, not something absolutely fated. Holly, then, must decide whether to conceive this child, knowing she will die giving birth, or to simply continue her relatively happy life without a child.
While Brooke is dealing with an interesting moral and ethical dilemma, the story is a bit forced and not terribly believable. The means by which Holly is given her vision of the future feels artificial and somehow doesn’t feel like it fits within the world that Brooke writes. This novel is neither fantasy nor magical realism, and it seems like it needs to be firmly one or the other of these genres to work. Brooke moves towards magical realism but doesn’t really “go there,” and this somehow undercuts the ability for this reader to fully engage in the story.
Holly’s ethical choice–between her own life and that of a possible child–seems timely, particularly in a society where women’s reproductive issues are often at the fore of political and cultural debate. Holly recognizes that not only is she affected but that her choice ultimately affects her husband, leaving him either a single father or childless. And yet, she does not allow her husband to have a say in the choice she makes, does not even apprise him of the situation. Rather, Holly looks to Jocelyn, a mother-figure in Holly’s adult life, for guidance. Something about Holly’s willingness to trust Jocelyn, a near stranger, rather than her own husband didn’t sit well with me and makes Holly a less-than sympathetic character in some ways. It would be easy to read Holly’s choice as being symbolic of abortion, but this doesn’t work in that the baby, Libby, is merely one possible future for Holly, not a fetus growing inside her. This notion, that Libby is only really an imaginary baby, robs the story of the seriousness that we might expect.
Certainly, Brooke knows how to write beautifully. And this novel should appeal to the world of female-dominated book clubs, with the moral dilemma allowing much opportunity for meaningful discussion. However, Brooke’s work just didn’t hold up for this reader.
A special thank you to TLC Book Tours for inviting me to host a stop on this tour. You can find a full tour schedule here.
NOTE: A review copy was provided by the publisher. No monetary or other compensation was received.