Synopsis (from the author’s website):
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.
Sparkling with charm and full of captivating period detail, Letters from Skye is a testament to the power of love to overcome great adversity, and marks Jessica Brockmole as a stunning new literary voice.
|Photo by Sarah Lyn Acevedo - exposure41|
I have been enamored with historical fiction since I was old enough to sit still for bedtime readings of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Now, I write stories of my own (and am much better at sitting still). When not writing, I can be found reviewing historical fiction as part of the Historical Novels Review's editorial team. I enjoy getting lost in secondhand book stores and sifting through odd bits of ephemera and calling it "research".
I saw this novel mentioned several times on Facebook and preordered it as soon as I watched the book trailer. (Yes, some people watch them.) The purchase was a no-brainer for me. Unusual love story? Check. WWI/WWII era? Check. Scotland? Check. I’ve also read and loved a few epistolary novels.
I devoured this lush novel during every spare moment of my recent vacation, hating to look up and remember I was in Missouri, not on Skye. On several occasions I wondered how Elspeth and Dave could possibly meet, let alone have a happy ending. I read on with bated breath. Every time I thought I had things figured out, I’d find out I was wrong.
This is a beautiful debut, and a must read for all romantics. Letters From Skye is available at bookstores everywhere.