5 stars

Category Romance Review: Yesterday’s Love by Marsha Manning

Yesterday's Love
Yesterday’s Love, Marsha Manning, Magnum Books, 1969, cover artist unknown

#4286 Magnum Books Easy Eye

Spoiler-free review 🙂

5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnum Books

Yesterday’s Love is a moving romance with a rather mysterious background. It’s part of the Magnum Books imprint of Prestige Books, Inc., a small New York paperback publisher active during the mid to late 1970s. The novel was originally published as a hardcover by Mills & Boon in 1969, under the title Yesterday’s Lover. But the copyright page of this edition doesn’t say when it was published. Nor can I find this info anywhere else.

The author, Marsha Manning, was a pen name of Hettie Grimstead. Or was Hettie Grimstead a pen name of Marsha Manning? If you know, drop me a line.

An Impossible Situation

Here’s the setup. Kerry Talbot, a London office worker for a large corporation, is in love with Philip Ingram, her boss. And he’s in love with her. The situation presents an obvious problem. But wait, there’s more. He’s married. An issue that troubles her far more than him.

What other people think of her doesn’t matter to Kerry, but what she thinks of herself does. Philip says he’ll seek a divorce. But promises aren’t good enough. Until he’s actually free, she determines to distance herself from him. Thus she accepts a transfer to Stockholm.

And what a new life awaits her! Kerry works in big business but lives in an apartment house full of offbeat, creative Bohemian types. Including painter Len Sandeman, who does her portrait and falls in love with her. But the feeling isn’t mutual. Len is a skillful painter, but as a lover, he’s a lout. One with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

In contrast, there’s the refined Axel Von Fersen. Kind and considerate, he’s every inch a gentleman. But he’s also Kerry’s boss and has a fiancée. He tries to hide his feelings, but eventually, it becomes clear he loves Kerry. The situation largely parallels the one she left behind.

But not entirely. Axel isn’t Philip. For once, a man can and will put Kerry’s happiness above his own. Can he persuade her to love him and forget Philip?

My Reactions

There’s more, but in order to avoid spoilers, I’ll stop here. Yesterday’s Love presents the heroine’s dilemma with skill, grace, and depth. There’s plenty of romantic drama, and all of it seems natural and real, without exaggeration or contrivance. The story remains engaging from beginning to end.

The author conveys well the emotions of the characters. The point of view is strictly limited to Kerry, but we can tell what the others are thinking and feeling. Even the minor characters come to life convincingly and memorably.

Equally compelling are the exterior descriptions. The settings, mostly in Stockholm and the Swedish island of Gotland, seem vividly real.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone in the mood for an emo romance. It’s available at the major websites that sell used books.

Reviewed by: Mary Anne Landers

5 replies »

  1. Great review Mary Anne! I always enjoy different settings in romances, and one set in Sweden with a heroine fleeing from an impossible love sounds very intriguing.

    I found out that Magnum Books was part of Walter Zacharius’s (of Zebra/Kensington fame) Lancer Books publishing company, which lasted from 1961 through 1973 and mostly reprinted classic out-of-print works, science fiction, westerns, Gothics, & romance. Magnum must have merged with Prestige Books afterward because I’ve found numerous books published by them well into the 1980s at least.

    • Thanks, Jacqueline. I’ve noticed a link between Magnum Books, Prestige Books, and Walter Zacharias. But the history of small but significant publishers could be better documented. And made available on the Internet.

  2. Kenneth R. Johnson’s checklist of Airmont books has an introduction where he talks about Magnum and Valentine books that were made available in the late 1970s as “discounted” books: http://bookscans.com/Publishers/krjohnson/defunctpages/Airmont_Books.pdf

    “In the mid-1970’s the markets were swamped with copies of paperbacks that gave the appearance of
    having been published several years earlier (going by the cover prices), discovered in a warehouse and
    marked down to be disposed of as “remainders.” These were in fact newly printed books with deceptive
    cover prices (under which they had never been offered for sale) that were sold at a deep discount to
    department stores like Woolworth’s and K-Mart on a non-returnable basis. The stores then sold them
    at “bargain” prices, generally 25¢ or 3 for $1.00.

    “The most visible (and notorious) of these fake remainders was Magnum Books. In the wake of Lancer
    Books’ bankruptcy in 1973, hundreds of their titles were reissued as Magnum Books, by a company
    called Prestige Books Inc. Prestige also reissued most of the volumes in Lancer’s romance imprint,
    Valentine Books, all of which were reprints of hardcover books. In this instance the Valentine Books
    imprint was preserved on the reprints.”

    Later in the introduction, Johnson adds: ” All this is confusing enough, but in 1976 something even stranger happened. The Canadian romance publisher Harlequin Books had steadily increased their penetration into the US markets during the 1970s, which apparently fueled a growing demand for more “category” romances in paperback. One of the publishers that noticed this was Prestige Books. Their remaindered Valentine Books imprint suddenly began reprinting additional hardcover titles that had not been previously issued by Lancer or Valentine.”

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