Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review: Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris

  • Author:  Kristina McMorris
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; 1 edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758246846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758246844

    Product Description:


    Liz Stephen's life changes when she meets infantryman Morgan McClain at a Chicago USO club. Liz has long expected to marry her childhood friend, Dalton, yet her instant attraction to Morgan is mutual. But when she misinterprets Morgan's chivalrous rescue of her friend Betty, she flees without explanation. When Betty begins corresponding with Morgan, she asks for Liz's help. Soon, Morgan and Liz, under Betty's alias, are exchanging soul-baring letters. Betty, serving in the Woman's Army Corps, finds unexpected romance of her own, as does Liz's engaged best friend Julia. But as the war ends, each woman faces the repercussions of her choices. Inspired by the true story of her grandparents' epistolary courtship during World War II, Kristina McMorris captures the heartache and sacrifice of love and war in a story that is timeless, tender, and unforgettably moving.

    From the Author:


    It all started with a family Christmas gift. That was my sole intent, anyhow, when I self-published a cookbook several years ago featuring recipes my grandmother had collected and created over several decades. While interviewing Grandma Jean for the biographical chapter, I discovered an astounding fact: She and my late grandfather had dated merely twice during World War II before exchanging vows. She then retrieved from her closet a beautiful stack of courtship letters, a collection no one in the family knew existed. I needed to read only a few pages of his script, as elegant as his words despite the "plow jockey's" youth, to understand the reason she so readily said, "I do."

    Long after the cookbook was complete, I continued to ponder their era, one charged with romance, tragedy, uncertainty, and loss of innocence. A time of self-discovery, sacrifice, and female independence. Intrigued by this dramatic setting, and with my grandfather's correspondence lingering in my mind, I found myself wondering how different the couple's relationship would have been had their letters been woven with fibers of deception. Therein bloomed the idea for my first novel, Letters from Home. I hope the book touches your heart as much as my grandpa's letters have touched mine!

    My Review:

    What a joy to read!

    Wonderfully delightful book!  Gripping story right from the start!  The tears were flowing in many parts.  Kristina McMorris's style of writing is so graceful and so powerful and is such a pleasure to read.  I had not read an historical fiction novel in quite a while and I had forgotten how enjoyable they can be! 

    The main story revolves around letters that are exchanged between soldier Morgan McClain and Betty, a beautiful USO singer.  The main twist is that he is actually not writing to Betty but to her roommate Liz.  He had actually met Liz at the dance and there was a strong connection between them but fate intervened as you will see when you read the story.  It is Liz's words that he falls in love with while overseas and her opening up her heart to him through the letters that propel the story forward and provide the potential for disaster once he realizes that he is not writing to Betty.

    The three women, Liz, Betty and Julia, who inhabit these pages are all different yet incredibly interesting unique individuals.  While this book is a love story it is also a touching story about the friendships between women. Liz, Betty and Julia are all very different women following different paths.  All three women find joy and heartbreak in this novel and I felt every emotion right along with them!  I felt that McMorris' portrayal of a soldier's life on the western front and the Pacific front to be incredibly realistic and true to history.  I found the same for her portrayal of life on the home front. 

    This book is one of the must read books of the year that everyone will be talking about.  You'll laugh and you'll cry!   Highly recommend this book!

    Kristina provides recipes and a discussion guide for reading groups at the conclusion of the novel.

    You can find the reader's discussion guide here:  http://www.kristinamcmorris.com/home.php?pg=readers_guide

    I was provided with an Advance Uncorrected Proof of Letter From Home directly from the author.

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