Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review: Yesternight by Cat Winters

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Yesternight
Author: Cat Winters
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: Paperback; 400
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Source: Harper Collins Publishers and TLC Book Tours
Content Screening: Mild Violence and Sexual Situations

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy darker historical fiction, with a look at reincarnation.

From the author of The Uninvited comes a haunting historical novel with a compelling mystery at its core. A young child psychologist steps off a train, her destination a foggy seaside town. There, she begins a journey causing her to question everything she believes about life, death, memories, and reincarnation.

In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Seven-year-old Janie O’Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they’re no more than the product of the girl’s vast imagination. But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.

Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.

The items that drew me towards this book were two-fold. First off, I have a deep fascination with stories that center around children who glimpse things that adults don't. The possibilty that there are things I'm not privy to, hidden in the world I walk through every day, is intriguing. Cat Winters also wrapped the concept of reincarnation into this story, which fully sealed my need to read it. I sincerely hoped for something with gothic tones, and a deep simmering sense of tension.

Which is actually what I was given a fair amount of throughout the first half of this book. Alice's arrival, heralded by a storm of massive proportions, started things out excellently. As she began to navigate the small town of Gordon Bay, and meet the rather interesting inhabitants, I was enraptured. Small towns tend to hold interesting secrets, and when Alice met Janie I felt sure that I was correct in assuming that was coming around the bend. With characters that were generally not at all agreeable, I felt sure there was something hiding beneath it all.

Then, the second half of the book began. Let me just say, I spend the first two chapters of this part flipping back and forth with confusion. It was as if this was a whole new book, although I knew it wasn't because Alice was still present. In fact, Alice is the main focus of this portion of the book and, quite honestly, the reason things started to unravel. Suddenly I was reading a story focused on rage, and an uncomfortable discussion of sexual agression. I missed Janie's story, and wanted to go back to it.

From that point on, things just got weirder and weirder. Alice's story felt cobbled together, and spiraled toward an ending that had me shaking my head in disbelief. I'm definitely not one to turn away from a surprise twist, or unexpected ending. In this case, it felt more misplaced than anything. It's not that I expected a happy ending, not at all! It's more that I couldn't comprehend the reasoning behind the particular ending that Yesternight offered up to me.

I'm on the fence, regarding this book. Yesternight showed me a lot of the parts of Cat Winters' writing that I love, but it just didn't live up to what I hoped for. I think if the second half of the story had felt as polished as the first portion, I would have been head over heels in love. Winters has made me crave more about Janie, and her past lives. That, in itself, is impressive! So I'll offer up three stars for this book, and a warning that the ending might not be quite what you expect it to be.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


Related Posts with Thumbnails