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.
I haven’t read a lot of historical romance, it’s generally a genre I shy away from. My mom picked this book up, read it, and told me that I needed to read it. It stayed on my to-be-read mountain for a long time, and I finally broke down and started to read it. Overall I liked it. The character were well written, and so real. I could picture them in my head, and the story-within-the story and the way that Elspeth’s and Margaret’s stories weave together and intertwine. This is a pretty heavy read, considering the time period and the character’s voices.
It’s a wonderful read, full of emotion, hope, love, loss and personal growth. The story is great, the settings and the letters transcending normal narrative. I enjoyed it a lot. I don’t think it’s the book that’s going to sway me into really loving historical romance, but it didn’t put me off of the genre at all. I’ll probably go scope out my library and see what else I can find.