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Say Goodbye to Yesterday by Shirley Kiger…
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Say Goodbye to Yesterday

by Shirley Kiger Connolly

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Posted on Romancing the Book's blog
Reivewed by Amie Lou
Review Copy Provided by the Author

There were times when that I felt like the author was keeping secrets. I would turn the page and not know what was going on and was never able to determine how the characters got where they were. But I decided to just go with it and keep reading, mainly because I liked Carlton so much. He is the bright spot in this book. A man treated horribly by his wife and doing his best to live according to God’s instructions.

I’m sorry to say that I had trouble relating to Annabelle and wished for more insight into her motivations. Maybe then I could have been sympathetic. Here’s a woman who gave herself to a terrible man–not once but twice and years apart. Did she not learn anything? And it seemed to be that her hardships were minimal if she could have lived for 15 years without her secret being known and all the while having a nanny to care for her children. But again, Carlton to the rescue. For me anyway.

However, I’m completely up to reading the next in the series to see if perhaps the author found her stride with the next set of characters. Given the development of Carlton and the adorable Geraldine (Annabelle’s youngest) I may find a jewel after all. ( )
  RtB | Jun 11, 2012 |
I have to give author, Shirley Kiger Connolly credit for attempting to tackle the topical issue of single motherhood out of wedlock in her new inspirational romance, Say Goodbye to Yesterday. This is a problem that would have been dicey at best in a contemporary, but especially eyebrow raising for a historical. However, because of that historical context, I felt that she left two big questions unanswered. The first would be how Annabelle managed to get pregnant not once, but twice, without being married. In spite of being an orphan, she was a proper lady from a well-off family, and as such, would probably have been chaperoned everywhere she went, making it very difficult to be alone with a man. Not to mention, ladies in that era simply tended to be more cautious about such things as their reputation being ruined. The author never elaborated on how Annabelle even met her girls' father, much less her state of mind the two times she got pregnant. When we meet her in the story, she doesn't even really like the guy, much less love him, and what little we see of him, he's not a nice person. Now, in spite of the lack of details, I'm willing accept that occasionally, even a gently bred lady could make a mistake and find herself pregnant out of wedlock, but then that brings me to my next big question: In those days, when this happened, the woman's family would typically insist upon a shotgun wedding to save the lady's reputation, but in this case, Annabelle's family did the exact opposite, which was to forbid her from ever seeing him again. If more explanation of these things had been given, I probably could have bought into the premise, but as is, I felt like there were a couple of really big holes.

Unfortunately, these weren't the only details that were missing. Throughout most of the story, I couldn't seem to shake the strong sense of wanting to know more, and sometimes felt outright lost. It was like the author kept jumping ahead of herself and then not coming back to fill in the blanks. I just didn't feel like I had the complete picture of what was going on which could be very frustrating at times. I got the sense that she could see what was happening in her mind's eye, but just didn't express it in the written word as clearly as she could have. The editing could have been much better too. As I already mentioned, there were some passages that needed to be bulked up with more details, while there were others that needed to be pared down to make them cleaner, more concise and less repetitive (the characters were doing so much "swinging,” “spinning,” “curving,” and “twisting” I was starting to get dizzy;-)). The characters also had an annoying habit of not finishing their sentences. Additionally, I found several anachronistic words and phrases, such as “invading your space” and a character using the term “viral illness” when at that time, the idea of germs causing illnesses was nothing more than a theory and viruses weren't even discovered until twenty years later.

Even though I was left with a lot of questions about them and thought their characterizations could have been much deeper, I did like Carlton and Annabelle pretty well. Carlton was a career soldier who had earned a great deal of respect and worked his way up through the ranks to teach at West Point. He was very kind and chivalrous, always ready to lend a hand when Annabelle was in trouble. Carlton obviously adored children. He is completely taken with little Geraldine and interacts with her wonderfully right from the start, and he loved his own unborn child enough to go after him when it was clear that the mother didn't want him. Carlton was just an all-around nice guy who certainly didn't deserve what his wife did to him. I have to admire Annabelle on some level for weathering through single motherhood, and the stigma attached to it, fairly well. I could relate to her crisis of faith, but in my opinion, it was overcome too easily. As with other things in the story, I would have loved to know more about this aspect of her life. In my opinion, it would have made her a more real and vibrant character. The only thing about Annabelle that kind of irritated me was that she, in my mind, kept getting unjustifiably annoyed, if not outright angry with Carlton for helping her which I simply didn't get. I thought that Carlton and Annabelle's romance could have used a little more pizazz too. They're apart for large swaths of time, and during the first ¾ or so of the book, when they are together, what passes for romance is merely a strong physical attraction and a few lustful looks here and there. Later in the story, they shared a couple of tender moments which I enjoyed, but then a silly misunderstanding about Carlton's marital status kept them apart longer than necessary to my way of thinking.

That brings me to what, in my opinion, was the very best part of the book, Annabelle's little daughter, Geraldine. I've noticed that it can be difficult for authors to get child characters just right, and I can say without reservation that Ms. Connolly has the knack with getting them to “behave.” Geraldine definitely acts like the six-year-old she is rather than a miniature adult, and her breezy innocence and sunny personality is positively infectious. I really enjoyed reading her scenes.

Overall, I would say that Say Goodbye to Yesterday was a reasonably good read that could have been great. It was kind of like eating a soup that is agreeable to the palate, but there just wasn't quite enough substance to it to it fill me up. All the base ingredients were there to make a good story, but it simply needed more depth and dimension to both the plot and characterizations. More of those things would have made it the hearty and satisfying stew I crave in my reading material. Say Goodbye to Yesterday is the first in a planned series titled, Decisions. Even though it didn't quite wow me, I can't help being a bit curious as to whom the next book will be about. I'm thinking that Annabelle's cousin, Phillip, who already has an admirer, would make a good hero, or perhaps her older daughter, Suzanna, could be aged to make a good heroine. Either way (or if the author's choose to go a completely different direction), I might be open to trying the next book when it comes out.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  mom2lnb | Oct 5, 2011 |
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Epigraph
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Galatians 6:7-9
Dedication
To Boson, You became part of the inspiration to this story.

To Delia Lathan and my wonderful CPs from Scribes. Your helpful insights made the difference.

Mostly to God. You gave me the strength each day to write even when my brain wasn't working. Only You, Lord, know how often that was.
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Every time she turned around, she saw trouble -- always of her own doing.
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Scorned with disgrace, Annabelle Jordan and her daughters are no longer welcome in her reverend uncle's community. In need of a fresh touch of grace, Annabelle's in no mood to seek mercy yet. Not after carrying on a youthful affair with that scoundrel of a boyfriend long enough to produce two daughters before she finally sent him away.

Now without a home, Annabelle's convinced her answer is to find the man again and force that marriage he pledged but never kept. Annabelle knows he can provide her daughters the name, home, security, and future they need. Who else would show interest in a soiled, aging woman over thirty with two growing children?

Clearly, that was before Major Carlton Radcliffe entered her life. How was Annabelle to know she'd fall for someone beyond her reach, loyal to the faith she's been fleeing and nobly pledged to a wife and family of his own?
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