Sunday, August 18, 2013

Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole

5 Star

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.

Kathryn - 5 Star

I loved both Elspeth and Dave from the get-go, their pet names for each other were so touching and I actually didn’t realise where their relationship was going for ages. I thought I had the whole thing cleared up in my mind early on but it turns out I was wrong and it’s refreshing to be wrong sometimes!

My heart went out to them both and was entranced by their support for each other when they’d never met and were so far away. It was a different time then, waiting for a letter to come by post, the only communication available apart from the occasional telegram. Sometimes I forget the astonishing advances in technology that have been made in less than a hundred years. It made me content to read about those small things that made such a difference and reminded me that you could make someone’s day with a few thoughtful words, on paper, asking how you are in your world. The personal nature of a hand-written note is something I remember from childhood, it was something you held on to and treasured - as evidenced in my own letter box from my teens, my mother’s and grandmother’s and even my father’s missives. Will we save the emails between our loved ones for our children? Or will those thoughts, memories and love “letters” be forever lost once we’re gone?

Brockmole really develops all the relationships well. There’s no text apart from letters and telegrams and she manages to give us a sense of the warmth and love between the mother and daughter as well as the various lovers. I was entranced and in love with them.

Letters from Skye is descriptive enough to get a feel for the people but really easy to read and the flow is a testament to the writer’s ability. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

Thank you to Ballantine Books  for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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