Sunday, May 1, 2016

Christie's review: Back to Yesterday by Pamela Sparkman

Title: Back to Yesterday
Series: Standalone
Author: Pamela Sparkman
Release date: May 2, 2016
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 5 stars


Everyone loves a good love story. The stories that make you feel warm all over. The kind that leaves you the slightest bit envious because the story belongs to someone else and not you. The stories that make your heart race and on the edge of pain and pleasure. Pain because your heart hurts and pleasure because your heart hurts. An unlikely combination, yet, that’s the stuff good love stories are made of.

Ours could have been like that. We could have made a beautiful love story.
But when he was ready for that epic love story, I was afraid to fall in love, too hurt by my past to trust anyone. Then, when I was ready for the epic love story, he was gone.
And I was alone.
And the only thing I got was the pain.
It was time I told him the things that were in my heart but too afraid to say out loud.

I wrote the letter I needed to write and prayed it wasn't too late.

Dear Charlie,

You were right. I was wrong. I've never been more wrong in my life.
There - I said it.
I’ll say it a million times if you just come back to me.
Come back to me. Please!

I was so wrong. I do love you.


I've been following this author since her first book Stolen Breaths. This is the first time where I've been lucky enough to beta read for her, and what an experience it was! To see this story grow from a vague idea to its polished, finished form was an eye-opening experience. I know first hand how important the author worked to breathe life into Charlie and Sophie.

The emotions she was able to wring out of me swung from anxiousness, elation, tension, to grief-stricken. Having met Sophie as Cooper's matchmaker grandmother in the Stolen Breaths series, I was excited to get Miss Sophie's history. Because you can't fully know the present until you understand the past. This is the story of what molded a family. And the struggles of a war torn couple that are more than most can comprehend. Sacrifices had to be made and lives were ravaged, all for the sake of freedom.

Sophie is a young woman who guards her heart closely. She's someone who's comfortable in her own skin, speaks her own mind, and holds the wounds of the past as a shield against false promises. But war is a time where there are no promises. No guarantees of a happy ending when putting yourself in enemy lines.

“I need someone who will care about me if I don’t come back. I need someone to care about me, Sophie.” My eyes skirted over her head and up towards the moon. I closed my eyes and quietly said again, “I don’t have anyone and I need someone. I desperately need that someone to be you.”

Charlie is an Army pilot on leave while his leg heals from an injury. From the first moment they collide, he starts to charm his way into her life. Not deterred by her resistance, he pursues her with an old-fashioned sweetness that sweeps you back to the 1940's. It's a time when Big Band music, swing dancing, classic American diners, and white picket fences were all the eye could see.

Pamela knows how to write the quintessential beta hero and Charlie is her best in my humble opinion. Her heroes are ones that cherish, worship, and treat their women to a kind of classic romance that has fallen away from the genre.

“I kissed him the way he kissed me and met each touch, each caress, with the same patience, the same reverence as he administered. He made me forget who I was and reminded me of the person I wanted to be.”

I've said it before, but it's such a refreshing thing to read, it's like cleansing your palate after reading so many dominating and abrasive heroes.

She slips Charlie and Sophie effortlessly into our hearts and minds through flashbacks in dual POV. We get pieces of "today" and moments of "yesterday" that come together in a way that she slowly allows us to see what the final fate of Charlie is to be. She really examines the desperation of the time, and how loved ones had to learn to survive their own emotional battles at home. The uncertainty of it all, the feeling that life was hanging on a thread, you feel all of it right along with Sophie.

This was a beautiful love story. A story of survival, faith, and trusting that love will triumph through the darkness. Though it has plenty of angst and sorrow, there are enough moments of laughter and hope to balance the scales. To be honest, historical romance is not one I read very often, this era in particular. But I never felt like I was outside my comfort zone, this story just feels natural and necessary. For me, it was the perfect conclusion to this wonderful family, I'm more than a little sad to see them go.

Back to Yesterday will sweep you in to another time. Simpler in some ways, but filled with complexities in others. I can't recommend this enough if you're looking for something a little different than what's out there. Just arm yourself with tissues, you're going to need them.

Book Trailer

Official Playlist

Unsteady-X Ambassadors
Dark- Breaking Benjamin
Smile- Nat King Cole
Ain't He Sweet- Annette Henshaw
On and On- The Sweeplings
She Used to Be Mine- Sara Bareilles
Strong- London Grammar
Love in the Dark- Adele
Chasing All the Stars- Fleurie
High Hopes- Kodaline
Come to This- Natalie Taylor
Til My Heart Stops- Too Far Moon
Journey(Ready to Fly)- Natasha Blume
Give Me a Sign- The Sweeplings
Shelter- Dash Berlin, Roxanne Emery
Oceans- Hillsong United


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