Yesterday and Forever
by Vickie Presley
(Jove, $5.99, PG) ISBN 0-515-12478-8
Yesterday and Forever is a fairly run of the mill time travel featuring a conveniently orphaned heroine and a hotheaded western hero finding love and adventure in the wilds of Wyoming. Set in a beautiful land during a fascinating period of history and with a good sized cast of characters including a trio of sisters named Faith, Hope and Charity , Yesterday and Forever nonetheless suffers from an excess of "plug 'n play" emotions that ultimately renders the book uninvolving. The main characters are stilted and play out their love affair with a decided lack of chemistry. The subordinate characters, while certainly lively, are thinly drawn. It all makes for a rather, well, boring bit of business.

Bailey Cooper (another of those "unique" romance names I'm learning to loathe), a 35-year-old lawyer recently appointed to the Memphis family court bench, is hiking in Wyoming when she happens upon an old Native American man praying at the site of an ancient Indian spiritual site. At his urging she says a prayer and asks the spirits for the faith, hope and charity she will need to do her job well. Shortly thereafter, she walks into a fog, falls into a ravine, and wakes up in 1878.

Rescued by ranch owner Zach Gooden and watched over by his three teenage sisters, Bailey is astounded to learn that their names coincide with virtues she prayed for. The similarity ends there. Faith, Hope and Charity are holy terrors who run rampant over the range and delight in playing pranks on anyone they can get to. That includes Zach, who has been so busy trying to keep his ranch afloat and ward off the advances of his neighboring enemy, that he has let his sisters turn into wildcats.

Naturally he disbelieves Bailey's claims to be from the future but thinks that she might make a good guardian for the girls…turn them into women…that sort of thing.

So do you see where this is headed? Bailey plays nicey-nice with the sisters who come to love and adore her and settle down because all they really needed was a little attention. Zach becomes Bailey's hero when he takes her back to the ravine in search of her backpack containing the 1900 Farmer's Almanac she purchased in modern times as a souvenir. Even when he sees the book he doesn't want to believe the truth. But then there is a murder and Bailey insists they get married in order to protect the girls and blah, blah, blah.

Frankly as a romance, Yesterday and Forever, is rather tepid. Bailey is a presumptuous "foreigner" who thinks nothing of putting Zach and his sisters in danger to meet her needs. And although she eventually recognizes this fault, it was a bothersome trait. Zach seems to fall for Bailey because she's the nearest, most convenient woman outside his immediate family.

Yesterday and Forever is another typical time travel where the heroine forsakes all modern conveniences for the sake of a man. Yes, I know it's a "magical" romance, but no one ever talks about toilet paper in these books!

--Ann McGuire

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