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Leaving Yesterday [Paperback]

Kathryn Cushman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2009
Alisa Stewart feels like she's lost two sons: her youngest to a terrible tragedy and her eldest, Kurt, to a life ruined by addiction. But now Kurt has checked himself into rehab and found a healing faith that seems real. It's like he's been raised from the dead. Then a detective arrives at Alisa's door asking questions about a murder--the death of a drug dealer before Kurt entered rehab. Alisa fears losing her son again, and when she finds evidence linking him to the killing, she destroys it. Her boy is different now. He's changed and deserves a second chance. But when another man is charged with the crime, Alisa finds herself facing an impossible choice: be silent and keep her son or give up everything for the truth.

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Her prodigal son has returned!
But has he truly left the past behind?

The police car outside triggers Alisa Stewart's worst fear--her son, Kurt, is dead, his life lost forever to addiction. Instead, the officer is just following a lead on a crime. And when Kurt calls to say he's checked himself into rehab and found a healing faith, Alisa feels a hope she'd given up on.

It's like her son has been brought back from the dead.

But then the cop returns, asking dark questions about the murder of someone Kurt once knew. Alisa is terrified. Her boy is different now. He's changed and deserves a second chance. But as his old life refuses to stay buried, Alisa finds herself facing an impossible choice:

keep silent and keep her son or risk everything in a quest for the truth.

About the Author

Kathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy. Her two previous novels were Waiting for Daybreak and A Promise to Remember, which was a finalist for ACFW Book of the Year in Women's Fiction. Kathryn and her family live in Santa Barbara, California.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! Dec 26 2009
By Shirley Rempel TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This was a fantastic!!! I read it in about a day!

I know as a mother I would never have to live through a child dealing with a drug addiction and other related situations but I know this is a reality to many mothers out there. Cushman delivers a very realistic portrayl of this family crisis and I love how Cushman showed that through faith in God, we can make it through whatever life crisis comes our way. We were never promised that when we believe in God, our life would be free from struggle, but we are told that God will bring us through the struggle. One thing that really resonated with me is that while there are consequences to sin, we know that there are also rewards for "doing the right thing". Leaving Yesterday is a perfect display of this. This book is very well written and reminiscent of Karen Kingsbury (if you are a Kingsbury fan, you will definitely enjoy Cushman).

I highly recommend this book to all lovers of Christian fiction. I have never read Kathryn Cushman's books before, but I will definitely be on the lookout for more of them to read!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great story about the power of the truth Nov. 10 2009
By Christina Banks TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
When Detective Thompson first showed up at her doorstep, Alisa Stewart feared the worst. The detective, instead of delivering the news of her son, Kurt's death, tells Alisa that he is looking for answers to a murder case. A drug dealer, who Kurt owed money to, was found dead, beaten with his own baseball bat. The bat is missing, and Kurt is wanted for questioning. Alisa knows her son, and is confident that he had nothing to do with the murder. When Kurt calls a while later, he has checked himself into a rehab center. Alisa hopes again, but the detective isn't done asking questions and Alisa is forced to decide how far she will go to protect her child.

I really enjoyed this book. It was the first that I had read by Kathryn Cushman, and it won't be the last. Alisa has to face the darkness of reality and still live a life that honors Christ. Her testimony has the opportunity to bring her house back together or drive it further apart. Cushman is not afraid to put her characters in hard situations, and then make the situation even worse. Her characters are believable, and though I didn't agree with all of their actions, the characters responded in a believable way. This is a story about family, faith, second chances and a truth that can set you free.

I recommend this book.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing.)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tug-of-war tale of a mother's love Oct. 26 2009
Format:Paperback
In Leaving Home Kathryn Cushman combines what Alisa Stewart finds in a box of her son Kurt's things with old frictions between Alisa and her estranged husband, the need to keep up appearances at her church and, above all, the determination that her son will have the new start he deserves, to give us the tug-of-war tale of a mother's love.

The story, told in first person by Alisa, has a rapidly thickening plot. Pressure on her to look good in her position of women's ministry leader mounts even as her relationship with her husband Rick deteriorates and questions about Kurt multiply. She finds she can be most herself with her neighbor Lacey, a retired lawyer who is canny, pragmatic and a mistress of rationalization. Cushman takes Alisa and the whole family through some tough situations and decisions in a book that is hard to put down.

Character-wise I found myself with mixed feelings about Alisa. Though I sympathized with her as a mom and understood her mother bear impulses, there was something Barbie-dollish and plastic about her too. She came off as shallow in her role as wife and women's pastor, and smug as a public speaker. My favorite character was her 10-year-old daughter Caroline who was completely believable with her bouncy ways and excitable, dramatic clinginess. Alisa's husband Rick rang true as well - even though he was a bit of a downer. Jodi and Monte were recognizable and fun as aging hippies. I wasn't sure what to make of Kurt. He was sweet and genuine on the surface but showed just enough deviousness to keep me wondering, through most of the book, just how genuine his reformation really was.

Cushman does a good job of bringing up some weighty themes even as she weaves this entertaining story.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  53 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! Dec 22 2009
By C. Fesler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Wow! This was a very interesting book! This is an example of how much a mother loves her children and how far she will go to protect them from themselves. Alisa Stewart is quite a mom! She has been through so much with the death of one son and the separation from her husband. Her remaining son, Kurt, has been walking the path of a drug addict. All of a sudden he calls and tells his mom that he is clean and in a drug rehab. In the same time frame a detective shows up with Kurt's name on a list of money owed to a drug dealer that has recently been beaten to death. There are many twists and turns in this story and in order to keep from giving something away I can't say more about the plot :) I enjoyed reading this book and found it hard to put down! I enjoyed the author's style of writing and I look forward to reading more from her. I would like to thank Bethany House for providing me the opportunity to review their books and the free copy that I received.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down. Nov. 8 2009
By Bonnie Leon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Once I started reading, I couldn't put down "Leaving Yesterday". What a wonderful book!

It's more than a prodigal story, though it is that. There's so much about faith and courage and God's sovereignty in this story. I grew to love and care about each of the characters and read late into the night because I had to know what happens to them.

Kathryn did a wonderful job of revealing who the characters are and intermingled the plot in such a way that our discoveries about the people in this tale felt natural. Great pacing.

I'm definitely going to read more of Kathryn's stories.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaving Yesterday will leave you satisfied! Oct. 30 2009
By Lynda Schab - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Recently, someone posted on a message board I regularly visit that they are tired of sappy Christian novels that always include the message of salvation. They wanted to see stories that deal with believing characters who that struggle with everyday choices and issues. Issues that aren't always able to be wrapped up in a pretty little bow.

Well, let me introduce you to Leaving Yesterday, by Kathryn Cushman.

This was the first novel I've read by this author and I have to say it definitely won't be my last.

Alisa Stewart has experienced more than her share of heartache. First, she lost a son to murder. Then, her other son, Kurt, left home for a life of drug use and addiction. On top of that, she and her husband are separated, leaving Alisa to deal with her pain alone while taking care of their 10-year-old daughter.

When a police officer appears at her door, Alisa fears the worst - that her prodigal son, whome she hasn't heard from in forever, is dead. But the officer is only there following a lead on a recent murder about which her son may have information.

When Kurt calls out of the blue, saying he's checked himself into rehab, Alisa is overcome with joy that God has finally answered her prayers. Then the cop returns and makes it clear that Kurt is a suspect in the murder. But Alisa refuses to believe it. Her son may have fallen into addiction, but murder? No way. When questions begin to arise, she reluctantly finds herself doubting her son. And those doubts are what prompt her to make a choice: "keep silent and keep her son...or risk everything in a quest for the truth."* (tag from the back cover)

This story is about just how far a mother is willing to go to protect her child. Alisa is a Bible believing Christian who is faced with tough choices. Choices that will ultimately bring her closer to or farther away from God. Choices we all face. This book makes the consequences of sin very clear. It also shows what happens when we do things God's way instead of our own.

I loved the pacing of this book, which kept me turning pages. But more than that, it was the characters who stole my heart. I couldn't help but be drawn to Alisa as her mind and heart battled over the right thing to do. A mother myself, how could I not understand the depths of desperation she felt?

The secondary characters were also well developed, especially neighbor-slash-lawyer, Lacey, who brought a bit of humor to the story.

Leaving Yesterday was honest, heart-wrenching, emotional, and real. I would not describe this novel as one ending as "happily-ever-after" with a neat and tidy bow on top. In essence, this is a story that not only leaves yesterday behind but also offers hope for tomorrow.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Left Yesterday.. Jan. 11 2010
By Patricia Barnard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The last few years in Alisa's family have been rough to say the least. So when a police car pulls up in her driveway, Alisa can only think the worst. Her remaining son Kurt has been addicted to drugs since the death of his older brother, and Alisa is sure this is news that she has lost another child. But when the detective tells her he is merely looking for Kurt for questioning about a recent murder, she is able to breathe a slight sigh of relief. She know her son would never hurt anyone, let alone kill someone. These thoughts are confirmed when Kurt calls her from a rehab center miles away and tells her he is finally getting clean and turning his life around. Alisa feels like she has gotten her son back, but when she finds an undeniable piece of evidence in Kurt's things, it changes everything she ever thought she would be capable of. How far should a mother go to protect her son?
I feel bad because my ratings for these types of novels are much lower than everyone else, but I feel it is much more important to be honest. So here we go - This novel brings up some interesting issues. Alisa is a grief counselor, but has failed to counsel herself or her family out of their own tragedy. The story moves along slowly giving information about what happened to her oldest son, Kurt's fall from grace, and ultimately to the night where it went horribly wrong. It shows the unimaginable lengths that a mother may go to protect her son, and leaves you reading to the end just to see what happens. From a religious fiction stand point it even address Alisa's position in her church and how her "church" friends will react to her choices (albeit in disappointingly predicable ways). Now, I get it, the novel is religious fiction, but I have certainly seen it pulled off better and I wish that this particular novel had had the chance. It introduces Alisa precocious 9 year old daughter and her feisty neighbor, but this is where the interesting characters begin and end. Even what seems like backslides and moments of conflict turn out to be exactly what they are said to be, leading to no real climax in the story. The most interesting debates are wrapped up in neat, boring bows, and the punishments simply don't fit the crimes for the sake of keeping the heroes safe. Alisa's inner dialogue and anguish never gets the chance to go to a dark place, and certainly don't reflect her choices. The rest of the characters are simply there to validate Alisa, and make a potential hit into a made for T.V. movie (and I think we know what channel I am talking about here). The nearly constant debate about whether an eye for an eye becomes repetitive quickly, and the end is simply predictable.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Like Watching a Lifetime Movie! Nov. 3 2009
By The Book Blogger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"I think if the police do find out who killed him, instead of pressing charges...they should give him the keys to Santa Barbara." (Leaving Yesterday, p.21).

So begins the tumultous journey of Alisa Stewart and the fight for her prodigal son Kurt. Kurt has been accused of killing a thug and Alisa could not find it in her heart to believe that. Despite her husband's advice on "being too soft on the boy", despite her losing Nick, her other son in a Mardi Gras incident, and also the split between her and her husband, Alisa has a tenacious spirit that would not let go of the Kurt she now knows.

Kurt has voluntarily checked himself into rehab right after the death of Rudy Prince, the drug dealer. Kurt is back, clean, and ready to go, and has a newfound faith. The problem is that his problems are still facing him and now evidence, plus more clues are all pointing to him.

The excitement I got out of this book, is knowing I could actually see this one being made into a lifetime movie. Ms. Cushman writes clearly and with believable characters who draw you into their world. I was on the edge of my seat when more clues crept up and Alisa had to make a choice: Follow God's voice or do your own thing and suffer the consequences.
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