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August 12, 2013 by kristin

Letters From Skye cover

Full disclosure: I hung out with Jessica Brockmole, the author of Letters From Skye, at the Historical Novel Society conference in June. She was fun, stylish, and super helpful when I was in a panic over pitching agents in the morning. So obviously, I wanted to like her book and want her to do well. But the key thing is this: I DO like her book, very much. And, hey, the fact that she’s a great person is just another reason to give her book a try!

So now the review …

I’m an epistolary novel hater from way back, ever since I despised Dear Mr. Henshaw in elementary school. But the setting of Letters From Skye (WWI and WWII Scotland, England and France) intrigued me, and I couldn’t wait to crack open the book on the plane ride home from the conference.

Right away the letters and their writers won me over. The two main characters are Elspeth, a published poet who lives on a secluded Scottish island, and David, an American college student who writes her a fan letter. She is moved to respond, and they develop a friendly correspondence that gradually turns into more.

The slow build of Elspeth and David’s romance through letters is so realistic – playfulness that turns to flirtation that turns to more. I say “slow,” but the story itself speeds along, and there is a mystery interwoven in the story that propels the reader onward. I read the book quickly in large chunks, not wanting to put it down to go to sleep at night! Elspeth and David face so many obstacles to their happiness – distance, then the first World War, then others I won’t spoil here – and I wanted to find out what happened to them!

When I was nearing the end of the book, I had to go hide away from my husband and children so I could finish it without interruption, standing up in the bedroom, reading breathlessly and then crying – NAY, sobbing!

I ask you, is there anything better than a book that makes you cry?

I would highly recommend Letters From Skye to anyone who is interested in the early 20th century, or WWI, or enjoys a romantic story (especially one that prompts a few tears!). I also recommend keeping an eye on Jessica Brockmole. I, for one, can’t wait to read her next novel!

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About Kristin

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Writing and reading historical fiction, while learning to sew my own clothes, because I have a black belt in procrastination. Current work-in-progress is a novel set in the fabulously seedy underbelly of Prohibition-era New Orleans.


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