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.
Yesterday by Mickie Ashling brings home the dangers of being homosexual in a culture where it is not accepted. But it is not just about that. Kamran lives in a country which is on the brink of civil war, and given his status, is being groomed to take over once the monarchy is overthrown. Deciding to take his own path in life is not an option, and going against the wishes of those with power is just as dangerous as being true to himself in regard to his sexuality.
I liked the way the author portrayed Kamran’s culture. It was very obvious that she had done her research, and the background and setting also came across as very realistic. It was easy to imagine and vividly described. Kamran and Grady are two very different people with different backgrounds. Grady is naive, probably more so than someone of his age and education in today’s world, but it is important to remember that this is set in the late 1970s. There is no internet, and it was harder to find information then than it is now.
The friendship and relationship between the two was sweet, although fraught with danger. I thought the two men worked well together as characters, and the supporting case was well written and three dimensional too. I particularly liked Leyla, who is like a mother to Kamran, and Jon and Gus, the two men who risk their lives to keep the secret safe.
I thought the ending worked well and was realistic. The decision Kamran needs to make is not an easy one and I thought the consequences of it were portrayed well. Sometimes a HEA is not walking off into the sunset, and in a story like this I would have been disappointed if it had been. The last few chapters had me on the edge of my seat, needing to keep reading as I wasn’t sure how it would turn out.
I’d recommend Yesterday to readers who like historical stories which are set in the 1970s, have diverse characters and cultures, and a realistic ending. 5 out of 5 stars.