Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole -287 pages
ARC from Ballantine Books
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.
My Review: 4 stars
This book is an ARC and I was so happy to receive it as I am quite fond of epistolary fiction. I was unfamiliar with the author which was another welcome surprise! This book takes on the power of the pen and the ability to fall in love purely through one’s thoughts and emotions. Both characters were likeable, flawed and full of personality. The mysteries/twists surrounding the main characters’ romance, the sub-characters and the letters going back and forth was well told and kept the story going at a good pace. Spanning over both World Wars, this book is a divine testament to love, the written word, family, mothers and daughters, and the perils of war. Reminiscent of 84 Charing Cross Road and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Quotes I liked:
- “Thinking is good. It’s what separates humans from cockroaches.”
- “I knew poetry rode in her soul but not that it had once flowed straight onto the page.”
...For, in her poetry, I see some of those ghosts.”
-You have to look behind you. The present and the future are built on the past. I know that you want to find where you came from from before you’ll know where to go.”
- “I should’ve told you, should’ve taught you to steel your heart. Taught you that a letter isn’t always just a letter. Words on the page can drench the soul. If only you knew.”
Tags: 2013, Fiction, Scotland, WW1, WW2, Romance, Epistolary, Historical Fiction
Labels: 2013, Epistolary, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Scotland, WW1, WW2