Yesterday, Mickie B. Ashling
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Cultural Differences, Historical, International Crisis, New Adult, Political, Religion, Romance
This review contains slight spoilers in regards to the epilogue. Keep that in mind before reading.
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.
For those like me who were around in the seventies, you likely remember well how things were in Iran during those days and the tensions between the U.S. and that country. The shah of Iran was in the midst of being overthrown and any peace Iranians might have had was on the verge of being toppled, along with everything they’d ever known in their homeland. Americans were ordered out of the country because simply the color of their skin could get them arrested or worse. I was pretty young during those days, but I remember it well. While I may not have foreseen how things would be over three decades later, I remember being a young girl following the goings on along with the rest of the world.
With that being said, Yesterday is set during those times, in 1978 to be exact. First, we have Grady. Grady is the eighteen-year-old son of a United States Ambassador, Peter Ormond. Peter has been transferred to Pakistan at the worst possible time. Things are getting bad in neighboring Iran and it’s part of his job to help diffuse the situation (if possible) with the help of other diplomats. I said “the worst possible time” because his son is forced to go with him when he’s only three months shy of starting film school in New York. Accustomed to traveling with his father, he’s been raised on how to act in different cultures and he manages to find a way to fit in wherever he goes. He’s very outspoken (not always a good thing) and he’s just comfortable enough in his own skin where he makes the most of the frequent moves. Sadly, Grady lost his mother a year and a half before to a freak accident so it’s just him and his father.
I have to say that I really liked Peter, Grady’s dad. If at times he didn’t have a lot of time to spend with his son, he still made the most of what they did have together. In 1978 things weren’t even remotely as they are now as far as acceptance. While things aren’t close to being perfect in the here and now, and actually getting worse in some countries, in those days things were much different. Peter and Grady’s late mother accepted their son and never made him feel less than because he was gay. Sure, they were concerned, especially considering what could happen in certain countries if his orientation was made known, but they were both very supportive. They loved him and only wanted their son to be happy. Peter really steps up to the plate later but I can’t say how without giving a big spoiler.
Then we have Prince Kamran Izadi, the twenty-three-year-old nephew of the shah of Iran. Kamran (Kam) is on holiday and makes a point in speaking to Grady at a cocktail party. It’s Grady’s first night in the new country and he’s thrilled that this handsome man (who turns out to be royalty) is kind enough to speak with him and make him feel less awkward in a room full of older dignitaries. Grady and Kam immediately click and become fast friends. Of course, Grady wants more, but even hinting that to Kam could get him killed. Because of the tensions in his country, Kamran has to go out of his way to not do anything that could call attention to himself that could ultimately cause a scandal or even possibly get him killed.
There are two sides of Kam. First we have the devout Muslim who is loyal to not only his religion and faith but to his country. This side of Kam was expected, especially considering the time period. This is the public Kam. Then we have the second side of Kam. This one, while still religious, is otherwise the complete opposite of the Kamran Grady gets to know over outings during the days after they meet. When the second side of Kam came out to play is when I started having issues with his character. Honestly, I’m thinking that this is when I should have embraced him more. Sadly that didn’t happen. Without going into details and spoiling it for other readers, I’ll say this… I get having a public persona, especially considering Kam’s upbringing. Then there’s the fact that there were always people around watching every move he made so it could possibly be reported back to Kam’s horrible military father. However, there were a few things that he did when he was alone with Grady before this that gave me pause. Sorry if that makes no sense, but you’d have to read it to see what I mean. I saw deception that went beyond the persona of the royal prince.
Then we get back to Grady. Grady is worldly because of his own upbringing. He’s traveled all over the place and has lived among various cultures. My issue with Grady is when things start coming to a head in the story. This eighteen-year-old boy seemed to have more power than was warranted. At times he came across as being mature beyond his years, but a majority of the time he came across as being quite immature.
Kamran has responsibilities in Iran that he’s somehow managed to avoid up to this point. When his father makes it known that there will be no more avoidance is when things take a major turn in the story. There are no words for how much I hated Kamran’s father. He’s a horrible human being. That hate also applies to Kam’s mother, though she’s only mentioned in passing. When Kam is forced (literally forced) to return home is when things really start moving along. This, sadly, is also when I began to really have problems with the story as a whole.
Overall, I enjoyed Yesterday. Unfortunately, I had issues with both of the main characters – Prince Kamran and Grady – and this took away from the story for me. I understand all the drama that led up to getting to the finale, but I felt that it was a bit unrealistic considering the ages of both men. Another slight issue I had was the epilogue. I’m all about seeing how things are down the road, especially considering the ages of these characters. In my opinion it hurt more than helped the story. It took a character – Kamran – who I had already decided I didn’t like and made that dislike even stronger. A lot of his issues were justified and I get that. What I don’t get is how he basically turned into a jealous and possessive jerk. Considering all that Grady and his father had done for him, I believe he should’ve been more appreciative and not quite so…. I don’t want to say anti-American because he’s not, but he didn’t exactly embrace his new country even after the danger involved in removing him from his homeland. The way he treated Grady was inexcusable, in my opinion, though others might not feel the same. He made up for it later, but I still couldn’t quite get beyond some of the things he did during those 7 years between the final chapter and the end.
The cover is beautiful. You’ll have to read the story to understand the significance of the bird, but it definitely conveys a very important part of the story.
This book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.