Yesterday’s Tomorrow, by Catherine West (OakTara, 2011)
It’s 1967. Journalist Kristin Taylor defies convention and flies to Vietnam to take up her father’s legacy of reporting from the war zone. She lands an assignment with a US-based paper and begins producing a string of high-quality articles. Her editor pairs her with Luke Maddox, a photographer with a painful past—and whom she suspects of working for the CIA.
Sparks fly between Kristin and Luke from their first meeting (he nearly shoots her) but so does an attraction that’s hard to ignore. Problem is, Luke’s still grieving for his wife and daughter. And Kristin’s on a mission that leaves no time for personal flings.
Luke’s driver and best friend is a Black soldier named Jonno, who developed asthma after he reached Vietnam but refuses to accept a discharge to go home. The banter between Luke, Kristin and Jonno is fast, funny and sometimes poignant. Jonno gives us a peek into the level of racial oppression going on in the US in the late 60’s.
Catherine West has written a strong debut novel, rich in the sights and sounds of the exotic Vietnam locales. She does a superb job of conveying Kristin and friends’ reaction to the horrors of the war without overloading the reader. And she provides places of respite, like the Saigon orphanage run by a missionary couple who befriend both Kristin and Luke.
The characters are real, and readers can feel their hurts. Yesterday’s Tomorrow is a compelling read that kept pulling me back when I needed to put it down. There’s a strong romantic element, but there’s also a lot of action. With point of view roles shared by Kristin and Luke, I think this is a novel both women and men will enjoy.
Bermuda-based Catherine West is a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers. You can learn more about her at her website, or check out her blog about writing and life. Click here for my interview with Catherine West.