Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris
|Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: Based on a true story, this book is all about love and loss during the turbulent years of the second world war. Three Americans are thrown together by letters sent back and forth on a regular basis - but all is not what it seems.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: May 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
Liz Stephens accompanies a couple of friends to a GI social occasion. She's content and already 'spoken for' so she wouldn't normally be here where essentially most people are foot-loose and fancy-free. But she's promised her good friend Betty to come along. As the evening progresses with lots of singing and dancing, things become both interesting and just a little dangerous. But for whom? Who are we talking about here? Liz bumps into one of the many GIs present. His name's Morgan. An instant spark is there - or so someone believes. But they both end the evening on a less-than-satisfactory note. Liz returns to her life with her soon-to-be-fiance and Morgan goes off to war.
McMorris describes these three characters in depth. There's a reason for this which becomes clear later on in the book. Initial impressions I gained of Liz was that she was warm, friendly and intelligent. I wanted to call her Elizabeth all the time, it seemed more appropriate to me. Morgan comes across as sincere, if a little shy. I suppose you could say it's the classic of townie (Liz) meets country boy (Morgan). But you know what they say about opposites attracting ... Here in this story, it's all charming and subtle which is lovely and gives the book a certain tone, if you like. And Betty? Well, she could flirt and bat her eyelashes for America and somehow (I won't spoil it for you) she gets caught up in the whole Liz/Morgan situation. But it's of her own choosing and for completely selfish reasons. Flighty could be her middle name.
Then Betty receives a letter ... from Morgan. She can barely remember him now. She's moved on in the romance department. But she's intrigued and thinks it would be good to reply, well, once at least. Only thing is, she's dreadful with words .. and yes, perhaps you've guessed ... she enlists her kind and considerate friend Liz to help with this letter. And so the ball starts rolling.
For me, what really was charming was the fact that this work of fiction is based on true facts within the author's own family. Her Dear Reader page right at the start set the tone for her book beautifully, nice touch I thought. I also think that many of us can easily relate to parts of the story, particularly of innocent mistaken identity, whatever the circumstances. And here in the form of the written word, it works well. It's charming and I was charmed. The letters themselves - and there are many to savour - are a delight. Just try and picture a stressed and trying-not-to-be-frightened soldier fighting for his country in war-torn places and then spilling his innermost thoughts on paper to someone he barely knows. But often, that situation works because some of us can relate better to strangers rather than someone we know. But, as these letters increase in regularity and tone, it seems almost cathartic for Morgan. But what about Liz? How's she coping with this unusual situation? In my opinion, some of these letters are good enough to be framed. Liz has a sensitive, poetic and intelligent way with words - it's almost magical at times.
And with the safety of distance and with none of that awkward face-to-face business, let's just say they both can feel free to pour their hearts out. After all, they're never going to meet up again, are they? And he may not return from the war. Talk about seizing the day. But I also think that this book is saved from being mushy or overly-sentimental by the simple plot and also the tone. And those letters. Great stuff. Let me give you just a flavour of Liz's/Betty's letters ... all we can do is put our faith in the notion that the journey ... whether rocky or smooth, will be more significant than actually reaching the destination. But the destination is most definitely reached towards the end of the book. In essence this is a love story but beautifully told. Recommended.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If this book appeals, try Birdy by William Wharton.
You can read more book reviews or buy Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris at Amazon.com.
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