Thursday, May 8, 2014

"Yesterday Mourning" by Renita Bryant

Yesterday Mourning
by Renita Bryant

Yesterday Mourning is currently on tour with Reading Addiction Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Yvette is a forty-one year old woman struggling to cope with losing both parents during her twenties—one to terminal disease and the other to life’s complications. Over the years, she learned to repress the pain of watching her mother die and the resentment of having her father casually walk out of her life. Now as she packs her bags to return to her Georgia hometown and the house where final goodbyes were never spoken, a growing sense of uneasiness intensifies.
Vera is the kind-hearted stepsister Yvette never imagined nor wanted. She was an innocent teenager in search of answers when Yvette’s father, the Pastor, entered her life. Although broken from the loss of his beloved wife and daughters, he gave Vera the love and affection she so desperately needed. However, a childhood secret threatens to compromise everything Vera holds dear.
When the Pastor’s health takes a turn for the worse, both daughters must decide if they have the strength and courage to no longer be confined to burdens of the past. Will Yvette overcome feelings of abandonment and forgive her father before it’s too late? Does Vera’s childhood secret hold the key to mending this family’s broken relationship?
Yesterday Mourning is a heartfelt and poignant novella about two women learning invaluable lessons of forgiveness, love, loss and ultimately—peace. It is an impressive debut from an author with an authentic voice and a love for storytelling.

Understand I love my child with everything in me. I'm certain my mother loved me with everything she had. But even as my heart registered the beauty of that truth, it also knew her love for me wasn’t enough to protect me from her death. It wasn’t enough to still the tears or hush the cries. Not until I gave birth could I fully comprehend how difficult it must be to leave this world before your child, how heavy the burden must be to look her in the eyes while knowing your life is nearing its end, to grasp the reality that you won’t be able to provide any comfort because her very suffering is the effect of your causing. I couldn’t fathom how intense the internal struggle of wanting to spend your last moments with the being that you birthed and nursed and reared while also wanting to push her away because the very notion of your death is hurting her. My mother had to watch me walk in and out of her hospital room every day. She was forced to come face to face with her own feelings of failure. A parent is supposed to always be there for her children. How could she feel fulfilled in her final moments, when she knew Zoe and I were about to plan her funeral? Internally, I always struggled through this revelation. I fought back tears when considering that our presence denied her the ability to find peace in the end.

Some of My Favorite Lines
"The sting of tears on wishful cheeks was no less painful for either of us. Our tears just fell in two different states and for two very different reasons."
"Here he was electing to raise someone else's child but disregarding the two that housed his genes."
"By twenty-six, I'd suffered the loss of two parents, on to terminal disease and the other to life's complications."
"... accepting my mortality meant accepting that one day I'd cause my child the greatest hurt a daughter could know. One day, I would leave her."
"I used books to escape for as long as I could but eventually I needed the fantasy to become my reality."
"I lost so many things sixteen years ago, an hope was one of the first on the list."
"It was always easy to recognize the things in my life I'd be forced to experience without her, but not until I reached those years did I consider the life she wouldn't get to live."
"Sometimes a touch far exceeds the words of a broken heart."
"Don't reject the possibilities of your future because of the hurdles of your past."
"Wisdom is not given; it's earned, sometimes by making mistakes and having regret."

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Yvette and her sister Zoe lost their mother sixteen years ago when she died of cancer, aged 42. They lost their father, the Pastor, at the same time, as circumstances and misunderstandings resulted in them not speaking to each other. He married Mary only seven months after their mother died, and they feel like Mary's daughter Vera has taken their place. Now, sixteen years later, Vera has a husband (Damien) and a seven year old daughter (Annie). But what secret from the past is she hiding?
Yvette also has a husband (Christopher) and a twelve year old daughter (Kayla). As her 42nd birthday approaches, Yvette feels her own mortality and regrets that one day she will leave her daughter, just as her own mother left her. Being abandoned by her father has affected all aspects of her life. After their mother's death, he promised never to leave them, so what happened? When Yvette finds out that her father has cancer, she is forced into making a decision. Will Yvette forgive him while she still has the chance? Will she finally find the peace she's been looking for?
The narration switches between Yvette and Vera, giving the author the opportunity to show us both sides of the story. Vera gives us a different insight into the Pastor, blaming Yvette for their falling-out: "... his wife had died and his daughters had abandoned him during his time of need." She herself thinks he's been an amazing father: "When I was younger, I doubted the need for a father. But now that I'd been fortunate to have an amazing one, I couldn't imagine my life without him."
On the downside, Yvette and Vera both have the same voice and a husband and young daughter so, at times, I forgot who was narrating. The story is extremely well-written, maybe even too much so, as Yvette, Zoe, Vera, and Aunt Sandy all "sound" the same, whether they are narrating or speaking. There are some minor errors, and at times the author mixes the past and present tenses. However, I did learn a new word ("adumbrated" - forshadowed), and the numerous beautiful passages and touching story made this a worthwhile and moving experience.

About the Author
Renita Bryant, a native of Fort Valley, Georgia, had visions of being a writer from an early age. "There's something magical about using words on a page to emotionally propel someone into another time and place."
Since obtaining her BS & MBA, Renita has worked for some of the world's largest companies on many of their most recognizable household brands. Although she finds the work rewarding, her passion for writing pushed her to complete and publish her first novella, Yesterday Mourning, in May 2013.
Renita currently resides in Ohio and stays actively involved in social media with her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. She recently published Remember Me Not (FREE), a poetry collection, and is working on the second book in the Mourning series.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.