One of the things I look forward to in a time-travel romance is seeing how the author transports the character back or ahead in time. Sometimes they get pretty inventive. Sometimes they don’t. In Yesteryear’s Love Janet Quinn uses a stained glass window as the portal to the past/present, which I thought was a pretty original idea. Unfortunately, it was one of the only things I liked about the book.
The book begins with some premises that are hard to believe. Sarah Martin is recovering from a vicious attack by a stalker named Jack. Here’s where the trouble begins. Jack seems unnecessary to the plot, like he’s just thrown in to give some real evil to the story. Regardless, Sarah is at a club where her best friend is trying to find her a boyfriend, which is also difficult to believe. What kind of person tries to find a mate for her best friend in a bar? Especially when that best friend has just been brutally attacked? Sarah meets a nice guy named Josh, but Jack shows up and ruins things. Sarah flees to Moose Creek, Wyoming – her great-grandmother’s home town. She walks into a church and is sent back to 1870 by the stained-glass window. When she comes to her senses, she sees a man who looks just like the Josh she met in the bar. But this guy is Joshua Campbell, and he thinks Sarah is his mail order bride, Catherine.
Most of the story takes place in the old west. Sarah actually meets her great grandparents who think she is absolutely bizarre. This was one of the more believable plot elements. If she had instantly had a great relationship with them it would have been hard to credit, because she did act very strangely. Why, she seems to have been absent from most of her high school history classes. She can’t understand why Joshua blushes when she walks around in one of his shirts, or why women fall silent when she mentions “sex.” In fact, she’s a complete idiot when it comes to this stuff. She worries that they’ll have her locked up for being mad and then proceeds to act like she wants it to happen. Her total lack of common sense is consistently annoying.
Joshua is perhaps the best character in the book, but he is sometimes given the intellectual capacity of a slug. He doesn’t know where Sarah is from, and he thinks she’s pretty strange for a woman, but he wants to marry her anyway. He also insists on calling her “Cath” for the entire book, even though he knows her name is Sarah. Would a woman who has been victimized once be quick to fall in love with a man who insists upon calling her by another woman’s name? Apparently so. The two share a physical relationship, but it is never convincing. And what about the fact that Joshua looks exactly like the Josh she met in the bar? This amazing coincidence is never really explained.
More problems emerged when Sarah returned to the present. Joshua had gone missing and instead of looking for him, she ran to the church and begged to be brought back to the present. Of course when Joshua returned he went looking for her and was sent forward himself. Suddenly the church window was taking requests, which didn’t mesh with the way it had functioned earlier.
Perhaps this book might appeal to fans of the genre who like the hero or heroine to bumble through whatever time they’re sent to. It might even appeal to fans of western romance, but I found little in it to recommend. For me the humor became far too farcical, and the characters just plain annoying. I couldn’t even understand the motivation for their behavior. As a reader who prefers a character-driven plot, I felt like I was the one in the wrong place and time.