by Jessica Brockmole
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Format: Kindle, ARC
Published: July 9th, 2013 by Ballantine Books
Genre: Literature, historical fiction/romance
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"A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.
March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.
June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago." -Goodreads
“In a war, emotions can be confused, people can disappear, minds can change.” (loc. 1397)
You will not believe how heart wrenching and soul uplifting one novel can be! In a time of War and love, two people can find and lose each other over and over and yet still retain that bond that will remain everlasting. You can feel the running emotions throughout each letter as they display the sender’s point of view and ongoing life triumphs and troubles throughout the first World War.
“You can’t believe in anything said in wartime. Emotions are as fleeting as a quiet night.” (loc. 435)
Who would have guessed that one letter from an adoring fan could lead to a lifetime of memories, stress, love, and regret? David is moved by Elspeth’s poetry, and upon seeking out to tell her so, has set in motion a series of letters that go on through the years. It becomes such the family mystery as Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, sets off to find her mother’s “First Volume” to better understand both her mother and herself. I liked how this novel was told solely with letters, as it provides a more in-depth and private view into the lives of these characters. The letters allow the reader to delve into the many emotions that are felt in each character, as well as how their families and the war are affecting them.
“Envelopes. Always envelopes in my life.” (loc. 3504)
I recommend this book to you, Reader, because of the rounds of emotion that prattle throughout Letters from Skye, and because I know how much you love a good historical romance. In a time of despair and confusion, two souls from different nations and different backgrounds can find solace in each other. This novel is essentially the story of Elspeth and David and the life they created.
First Line: “Dear Madam, I hopw you won’t think me forward, but I wanted to write to express my admiration for your book, From an Eagle’s Aerie.” (loc. 78)
Last Line: “‘There you are.’” (loc. 3520)
“You should come home now. You should come home before this becomes anything serious. Please.” (loc. 422)
“I didn’t plan to fall in love with someone else. I also didn’t plan for my husband to leave me without so much as an explanation. I didn’t plan any of it, but it happened and I can’t say I am unhappy.” (loc. 1929)
Galley provided by NetGalley via Random House: Ballantine Books
*Quotes are from uncorrected advanced galleys and may change before going to press. Please refer to the final printed book for official quotes.