I hope you’ll all forgive me for getting a little close to home with this week’s Forgotten Book. Actually, I sleep with the author, so you can’t get much closer than that. But I think YESTERDAY’S FLAME qualifies for this series. It’s an excellent book that didn’t draw much notice when it first appeared several years ago.
Livia wrote several romance novels for Berkley, of which YESTERDAY’S FLAME is the last and in my opinion the best. (They’re all good, of course.) This one is a time travel yarn in which a female firefighter from modern-day San Francisco is mysteriously transported back to San Francisco in 1906, a few weeks before the famous earthquake. There’s plenty of romance, of course, as the heroine meets and falls in love with a 1906 fireman, but Livia throws in some other good stuff, too, such as tong wars, secret passages, mysterious assassins, and a very neat little time travel paradox that’s a beautiful example of an author planting something early on in a book that doesn’t pay off until much later. And then of course, there’s the earthquake itself, which gives the whole book a nice epic feel, and another little twist at the end . . .
I’ve read quite a few romance novels over the years, since Livia was working in that field and I try to help out with the editing and plotting. I especially enjoyed the ones I’ve read by Marsha Canham, Teresa Medieros, and Amanda Quick (who’s really Jayne Krentz), because they usually include plenty of action, adventure, and mystery to go along with the mushy stuff, as we used to call it. I think Livia’s romances meet that same standard. She wrote four for Berkley: MENDING FENCES, under the name Livia Reasoner, a Western about the Fence-Cutting War in Brown County, Texas, in the 1880s; and three paranormals under the name Elizabeth Hallam: SPIRIT CATCHER, a contemporary Western mystery featuring an extended cameo appearance by a series Western character we both worked on years ago; ALURA’S WISH, a medieval novel featuring djinn, noble knights, and plenty of swordplay; and YESTERDAY’S FLAME, the subject of this post. All well worth reading, in my opinion . . . but of course, I’m biased. I wouldn’t steer you wrong, though. Trust me on this.