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Yesternight: A Novel by Cat Winters
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Yesternight: A Novel

by Cat Winters

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What's It About?
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.

What Did I Think?
It was a book that you just couldn't put down. Cat Winters weaves this story of a family with a seven year old daughter that is at times old beyond her years, and a school physiologist that struggles to believe that what she suspects isn't happening. Alice Lind tells herself that what she is doing is to help Janie O'Daire and her estranged mother and father but the deeper she digs the more her own troubled past seems to be catching up to her. You hoped that everything would turn out okay but you knew that at some point their world was going to collapse around their ears.

Even though there is a supernatural flavor throughout the story line it is also a story of how society viewed the roles of males and females during the flapper era and how thankful we should be that those times are past...but it seems that nothing may really remain in the past. Historical and paranormal fans will love the book. ( )
  Carol420 | Jul 30, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
DNF @ 10%

I’d say that I simply picked this up at the wrong time, mood-wise, except I tried to read this book a handful of times on different occasions and never got past 10%. The pacing was the hardest for me because from the very beginning it’s a slow-build and simply didn’t grab my attention in that 10% enough that I felt the need to keep going. The main character, Alice, was also strangely distant and she never quite captured my interest. Cat Winters is typically a favorite of mine but this one just didn’t do it for me.
  bonniemarjorie | Jun 2, 2017 |
After reading The Uninvited a while back, was I eager to read more from Cat Winters and getting a chance to read Yesternight her new novel made me very happy. So, happy that I moved it up quickly in my TBR mountain. The idea of the book sounded fantastic, with a young woman, Alice Lind, arriving on a little coastal hamlet to test children's IQ. And, there she finds a mystery, a child that may be a reincarnation of a woman that dead some years before. But, could this really be the truth? And, why does this spark a feeling of familiarity in Alice Lind?

I think this book started off great, I loved the idea of a little girl that could be the reincarnation of a woman that dead years ago. And, I was curious to see how it all would turn out. Would Alice find out the truth, and also would she herself find out what really sparked an event from when she was a child and hurt some other children?

As much as I enjoyed reading this book did it not engross me as much as The Uninvited had done. Somewhere along the way the story just turned in a direction I was not nearly interested in reading about as the mystery with the little girl, Janie O'Daire,and the question of reincarnation. One can say that when the story took the turn and I found out what Yesternight meant was the turning point to where I found the book didn't interest me as much as it had before. However, it was still good, it just felt like the whole Janie O'Daire story was dropped and suddenly it was all about Alice Lind and her memories. And, I just didn't find that as intriguing to rad about. The ending was interesting, but I can't help feeling that it was a bit obvious in a way, and I also felt that I never really got a good closer to the Janie O'Daire mystery. I mean, what happened next with her? I was more curious to find out about her and what would happen next for her than Alice Lind's problem. But, I guess that's just me.

So, this was not as good as the Uninvited. But, still a pretty interesting book!

I want to thank William Morrow for providing me with a free copy for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
While I mostly enjoyed this story, the ending was disappointing. ( )
  mmreed | Feb 4, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
** spoiler alert **

It has taken me awhile thinking about this before writing a review. Usually I can just write one when I finish. There's a lot to think about. It's 1925. Alice Lind is a school psychologist who goes from school to school testing students. In Gordon Bay, Oregon, she meets Janie, a seven-year-old girl who has been claiming since she was two that she is Violet Sunday, from Friendly, Kansas, and she died at the age of nineteen by drowning. She is also a math prodigy. Janie's father Michael says he believes that Janie has been reincarnated.

This flies in the face of everything that Alice has been taught as a psychologist--trauma or abuse causes flights of fantasy like this; there is no such thing as reincarnation. Janie's parents are divorced, and that complicated situation leads to Alice getting stuck in the middle of what each parent thinks is best for Janie as Alice begins to believe, eventually, that maybe Janie really is the reincarnation of Violet Sunday.

Alice identifies and can work with the "difficult" children because she was a "difficult" child herself. There was an incident in her childhood when she suddenly attacked a group of children with a branch, violently beating them, something she can't explain. With Janie's story of reincarnation, Alice begins to wonder if maybe she herself was reincarnated from someone who was a murderer. When she presents Janie with a list of towns from around Kansas, including one she made up, 'Yesternight," Janie identifies Kansas City and Yesternight.

Alice writes to the postmaster of Friendly, and receives a letter back from Eleanor Sunday Rook, confirming that she had a sister Violet Sunday who drowned. In a rare situation of camaraderie, Rebecca, Janie's mother, Janie's Aunt, Michael, and Alice go to Friendly and meet Eleanor and her husband, and it's confirmed that Janie really is Violet Sunday reincarnated. All the dots are connected.

Alice also learns of the Hotel Yesternight, where the owner was a woman who murdered numerous guests, and is convinced that she is the reincarnation of the owner. Rebecca tells Michael she is divorcing him and leaving him to take Janie where she can receive a real education for her mathematical abilities.

This is the one part of the story that started to break down a little for me. Michael goes with Alice to the Hotel Yesternight. The husband and wife caretakers of the Hotel Yesternight are very accommodating; the husband is truly into his role of "spooky hotel man." Alice doesn't recognize the hotel. But she does recognize the picture of Cornelia, the woman who murdered hotel guests. I'm not sure why she decides to tell them that she thinks she is the reincarnation of Cornelia. They show her a trunk of Cornelia's belongings, and she thinks she recognizes them.

A quick backtrack here. It is 1925, and there are no real methods of birth control available to women. Alice had a terrible experience with the last man she went to bed with--he said he would pull out and didn't, and she got pregnant. That's a very big deal in the story, but I won't go into it in detail, it's important, though, because that's what has kept her, from sleeping with anyone else--that betrayal. Michael convinces her to sleep with him, and promises her the same thing. The same thing happens. This puzzled me a little. It didn't seem in character for Michael, because he is generally a caring character, BUT his wife has just left him and taken their daughter away. I don't know if it's a subconscious way of getting back at Rebecca by failing on his promise, if he genuinely forgot, or what happened, but it just seemed like an odd thing for him to do after Alice has really gone over it with him, and it's basically the only reason while she'll go to bed with him. I don't want to say he's just a guy and doesn't care, but that's almost what it seemed like. Alice, understandably, is very angry and attacks him with her shoe (this is 1925, when shoes were actually solid and well made). He throws a glass vase at her, hits her, and then breaks a window and disappears into the blizzard outside. They find him frozen to death later.

The wife of the couple running the hotel remembers to give Alice a telegram that had arrived for her before she had even decided to go to the hotel. It's from her sister Bea, telling her that the reason she remembers the Yesternight is because Bea read to her from a book about the hotel when Alice was little--too young for her to have been read such things. It's not a case of reincarnation for her, just memories from when she was little.

Flash forward five years. Alice is living with her sister Bea and her lover Pearl in Portland with Alice's five year-old son John. John is eating breakfast and tells Alice that he froze to death...and that his name is Michael...

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. ( )
  waclements7 | Jan 16, 2017 |
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Epigraph
Dreamt I to-day the dream of yesternight,

Sleep ever feigning one evolving theme, --

Of my two lives which should I call the dream?

- George Santayana, "Sonnet V," 1896
Dedication
For Betsy Martin and Kathie Deily, two teachers from my past who encouraged me to make writing your future
First words
I disembarked a train at the little log depot at Gordon Bay, Oregon, and a sudden force -- a charging bull -- immediately slammed me to the ground.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062440861, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 06 Jun 2016 18:35:16 -0400)

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