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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Review and Giveaway of Yesterday's Tomorrow

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you take some time today to remember the veterans who gave their lives for our freedom. I've saved my review of Catherine West's debut novel, Yesterday's Tomorrow, to post today, in honor of those who have gone on before us.

From the author's website:

It’s 1967 and Kristin Taylor wants to go to Vietnam to report on the war, and honor her father’s memory by becoming an award-winning journalist like he was. But no editor will send her. So she strikes out on her own and steps into a world more terrifying than she’d imagined. As she encounters the horrors of war, Kristin struggles to report the truth while desperately trying to keep tabs on her only brother who enlisted some time ago, but both tasks seem impossible.

When she meets photographer Luke Maddox, Kristin knows she’s found a story. The mystery beneath his brooding eyes triggers her curiosity. She’s convinced he’s hiding something and determines to discover his secrets. The only trouble is, he won’t let her within three feet of him.

In an unexpected twist, Kristin and Luke are forced to work together. With war raging all around them, they engage in their own tumultuous battle of emotions. Headstrong and willing to risk it all for what they believe in, they’ll do whatever it takes to fulfill their own private agendas. Kristin is after a story that might get her the Pulitzer. Luke wants retribution from the enemy that took away his family. In the face of death, Kristin and Luke must decide if they’re willing to set aside selfish ambition for the love that seems to have ambushed them and captured their hearts.

This book literally had me holding my breath. It whetted my appetite for a good suspense and balanced it with just the right amount of romance and intrigue. Cathy West obviously did a lot of research (I'm sure much more than the sites she references at the end of her book) and the end result is a powerful, moving tale of love, redemption, and overcoming obstacles.

Since this book is set in the Vietnam War time period, I think one of the most prevalent themes running throughout it is that of the reaction of soldiers and media personnel to the war. In short, many people in the book have post-traumatic stress disorder. It was called battle fatigue or shell shock back then, but Cathy obviously did her research about this and explains that to the reader.

Cathy's portrayals of the gruesome aftereffects of war are dead on accurate. For a person to have this disorder, two things have to be present:

(1) the person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others
(2) the person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

Check and check! The things the men and women see in war change them. I liked how Cathy had Kristen come to the realization that she wasn't ready for everything she was seeing. Her push to write award-winning material came with an emotional and psychological price that haunted her far past the time when he plane touched down on US soil.

Cathy has people experiencing flashbacks, exaggerated startle responses, auditory hallucinations, difficulty sleeping, irritability and anger...reading this book is almost like having a PTSD manual at your fingertips. Very well done, informative, and realistic.

(Thought this sketch was oh-so-appropriate, considering today and Cathy's book. Click on it to enlarge.)

To be entered in the giveaway for Cathy's book, click on "Follow" to the right (because I want this to be a reward to my readers!) and leave your name and email address in a non-spam format in the comment section below. I'll run the giveaway through Sunday. Good luck!

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Catherine West said...

Thanks for featuring Yesterday's Tomorrow, Jeannie. Your new site is awesome!

karenk said...

Hi Cathy & Jeannie,

Thanks for the opportunity to read this fabulous novel...I have read many excellent reviews!

Jeannie, I love your new blog design :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

faith hope cherrytea said...

wonderful! thank you for the intro and hosting the giveaway ~ happy to follow :)
tea's on at FHC ~ Welcome!

faith hope cherrytea said...

blstef1 at mts dot net
so sorry - forgot the email tho' it is in blog profile...

Andrea Boeshaar said...

I'd love a copy!!

rose mccauley said...

I have heard so much good about this book, that I would love to read it. Hope I win! crmcc at setel dot com ps. yes, I did follow you!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Catherine! I am very excited for you! I can't wait to read it! God bless!

srstormo (at) yahoo (dot) com

Ann Lee Miller said...

I signed up to follow. :)

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

this post is for bonnie, who had a hard time signing up.

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.