Book Review: Leaving Yesterday by Zoe Dawson

I’m conflicted about this book. Really conflicted. There were some things I really liked and want to know more about. Then there are things that drove me nuts. Small town romances are really hit and miss for me, but this one was both depending on the chapter.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A wealthy woman finds herself stranded in a small town where the residents help her discover what she truly wants in life. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Side Dishes
There’s a main story that’s happening here between Rafferty (the heroine) and Trace (the mechanic hero who’s fixing her car). But it wasn’t until the end that I felt connected to them and their relationship. I was way more interested in all the side characters and their stories, some of which started in this novel and others that were hinted at. Even though I was lukewarm on the book, I really want to know what happens with everyone else.

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Small Towns, Major Themes
There was a lot going on in this book, as if the author was laying a foundation and a feel for the town.  I really enjoyed the setting and the small town feel. I also enjoyed the focus on the different family dynamics and issues, especially the different forms of PTSD that were featured. Any time a novel highlights a form of mental illness, I have to give it a kudos because I think it’s an important topic that can be easily shied away from, especially in romance.

Miss Popular
Even though I thought Trace and Rafferty were a bit dull in the beginning, I got more involved in their romance and drama towards the end when their conflict surfaced. Trace was an okay character. He was doing his best to take care of his family and was the perfect blend of damaged hero and alpha male. Sadly, I really didn’t like Rafferty. I couldn’t connect with her and I was annoyed that she somehow seemed to fix everyone’s problems and everyone seemed to love her.  A few of the side characters that I liked otherwise made it a point in conversation to talk about how much they loved her and didn’t want her to leave. It didn’t resonate for me or feel realistic.

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The Romance Factor
If I was going to go by Rafferty and Trace for the romance, it would probably only be a 2 because I really wasn’t feeling it until the end. But I’m giving it a point boost because I liked the other romances, even those that were just hinted at, my favorite being the one that I think is going to develop with Trace’s brother and the young Asian daughter of the local doctor.  3/5

The Steam Factor
The sexy times were fairly tame, but we knew what was going on. 3/5

Final Thoughts
Though this didn’t quite hit all of my crack buttons, I think readers who enjoy small town romances will find it cute. Parts of it were charming and many of the characters were intriguing. I’ll be interested to see how those characters work as main characters in future novels of this series.

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