Review: Yesterday by Mickie B. Ashling

In June of 1978 Grady Ormond, eighteen-year-old son of diplomat Peter Ormond, accompanies his father to his new posting as US Ambassador to Pakistan. Neighboring Iran is on the brink of a civil war, with the monarchy in danger of being overthrown.

Grady will be leaving for New York City in late August to study cinematography and has been warned to keep his homosexual orientation tightly under wraps while on vacation. Repercussions in the predominantly Islamic region could be severe.

On their first night in Karachi, his father hosts a cocktail party to meet the local dignitaries. Grady is introduced to His Highness Prince Kamran Izadi, nephew of the shah of Iran. Twenty-three-year-old Kamran has recently returned from the UK, where he spent eleven years, first as a student, and then as a financial analyst.

The attraction is immediate—unforeseen and dangerously powerful—but neither one dares to make a move. Odds are so stacked against them it's futile to even entertain a friendship, but they do, and their world tilts precariously.

With his country in turmoil and Grady about to leave for college, Kamran makes a decision that will change their lives forever.


I'm conflicted about this book. I liked a lot about it, but if I'm being honest with myself what I liked most were the historical references rather than the romance. For the past few years I've become increasingly convinced that this time period between Iran and the U.S. was the genesis of the current contentious state in which we find ourselves, and therefore, fascinated by it. That it is the setting for Yesterday is what piqued my interest.

It can be very didactic with some information dumps.

Kam, nephew to the Shah, is living in Karachi just prior to his ousting in favor of Ayatollah Khomeini. He's a prince and has ties to the imams. Due in large part to his sexual orientation as well as his pernicious father he's spent very little time in Iran. He was sent to boarding school in England very young then proceeded to make every excuse to stay until family obligations brought him back, namely making a good marriage. 

His time is running out when he meets Grady at a diplomatic dinner. Grady is 18 and reads 18. He's idealistic and earnest. Naturally, Grady is in love with Kam in the span of 2 days so instalove... 

Instalove and I are strange bedfellows.  Sometimes it works for me and sometimes I fear my eyeballs will get stuck like that. And sometimes I find myself with a book like Yesterday where I can believe an 18 yr old capable of falling instantly in love with a near stranger but I never truly felt it. 

Maybe that's because it's all told from Grady's perspective and Kam seems so reserved. Maybe it's because the bulk of the book happens over the span of about a week and a half. Nevertheless, the fact remains I didn't invest in them. I was told too much and not shown enough. I need to see the relationship develop through the innocuous-caresses, stolen moments, softly spoken words and, yes, I want to roll around in the sappy nectar of the can't live without you kind of love. I also need for that to continuously be woven throughout the story and it wasn't. 

I want to be made to believe it, to be taken on the ride and for words like the below to translate to the page.

"Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit."

The sex is medium hot with a winning buttsex deflowering. They spar pretty frequently, so there is passion. But I think the opportunity to show how possessive Kam can be was lost and that could've taken this book from 3 to 4 hearts. I also think these characters weren't fully developed; they're still two-dimensional to me. Maybe if things weren't so rushed and given time to breathe this book had the potential to be great, but it's just out of reach.

My only other quibble is sort of spoilerish so look away if you don't want to be spoiled.

As I previously mentioned Kam has ties to the imams. He's a devout Muslim who's loyal and loves his country. He hates that it's in such upheaval, but he's resigned himself to this sham marriage and doing what he can to stabilize Iran. Then he does a 180 and wants to defect to the U.S.? A country he fundamentally mistrusts? Why? Rhetorical question. I know why but it made me lose a tiny bit of respect for him. To my mind, he could've been instrumental in the transition and possibly avoided bloodshed. It wouldn't have been historically accurate nor would it have provided an HEA, but it seemed out of character and disingenuous. I sometimes wish authors would take the road less traveled, be bold and break our hearts instead of playing it safe and giving an HEA that's forced.

It's probably just me. *shrugs*

So, a mixed bag. I enjoyed the Italians, the turtles and the historical references but the romance was superficial and disappointing. The epilogue I found unnecessary and meandering.

An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads or Dreamspinner Press.

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