Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
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.
Praise for Letters from Skye
" Letters from Skye is a captivating love story that celebrates the power of hope to triumph over time and circumstance."-- Vanessa Diffenbaugh, New York Times bestselling author of The Language of Flowers
"[A] remarkable story of two women, their loves, their secrets, and two world wars . . . [in which] the beauty of Scotland, the tragedy of war, the longings of the heart, and the struggles of a family torn apart by disloyalty are brilliantly drawn, leaving just enough blanks to be filled by the reader's imagination." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Tantalizing . . . sure to please readers who enjoyed other epistolary novels like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society ." --Stratford Gazette
"An absorbing and rewarding saga of loss and discovery." --Kate Alcott, New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker
"A sweeping and sweet (but not saccharine) love story." -- USA Today
"[A] dazzling little jewel." -- Richmond Times-Dispatch
"United by letters. Separated by an ocean. Devastated by war." --Cover. -A love story told in letters spans two world wars and follows the correspondence between a poet on the Scottish Isle of Skye and an American volunteer ambulance driver for the French Army, an affair that is discovered years later when the poet disappears.
A love story told in letters spans two world wars and follows the correspondence between a poet on the Scottish Isle of Skye and an American volunteer ambulance driver for the French Army, an affair that is discovered years later when the poet disappears.
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Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
In spring 1912, it was Elspeth Dunn's lyrical poetry about her home on the Isle of Skye that caught the eye of American David Graham and started a correspondence that would change both their lives. Though the relationship begins innocently as a single fan letter to a newly found favorite author, the pair slowly discover a true confidant and unconditional support in each other. But Elspeth is married. What can come of this? Already being compared to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this novel lacks the magical charm of its powerful predecessor. The isolation of island living and a world at war are used to accommodate some of the characters' heightened emotions, but the story begins to feel heavy-handed, and there are few surprises, good or bad. Told as an epistolary novel primarily from the perspective of the original couple, the narrative also includes a second story line set 20 years later that further reflects on the relationship. However, David and Elspeth never truly come to life. VERDICT Suggest to readers looking for a Nicholas Sparks-style novel but with a much happier ending. [See Prepub Alert, 1/25/13.]-Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Brockmole uses letters to tell a remarkable story of two women, their loves, their secrets, and two world wars, cutting to the important matters that letter writers struggle to put into just the right words. In 1912, young poet Mrs. Elspeth Dunn, who has never left Scotland's Isle of Skye because of her fear of boats, receives her first fan letter from David Graham, a college student in Urbana, Ill. They begin a long correspondence. After Elspeth's husband goes off to war, she overcomes her fear and crosses to London to meet briefly with David, who is on his way to France to serve in the American Ambulance Field Service. Interspersed with Elspeth and David's letters are 1940 missives from Margaret, Elspeth's daughter, to her uncle and her fiance as she tries to find out about her father, since Elspeth will not talk about her past. The beauty of Scotland, the tragedy of war, the longings of the heart, and the struggles of a family torn apart by disloyalty are brilliantly drawn, leaving just enough blanks to be filled by the reader's imagination. Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
It's 1912 and David, an American college student, sends a fan letter to Elspeth, a young Scottish poet on the Isle of Skye. What begins as cordial correspondence grows into friendship and soon love with WWI as a backdrop. Elspeth is married, however, and David eventually volunteers as an ambulance driver, leaving Elspeth alone to wait and wonder. Flash forward to 1940 Edinburgh, where Elspeth's daughter, Margaret, has fallen in love with a young man going off to war. Nothing Elspeth says can dissuade Margaret from marrying. After an air raid, Elspeth disappears, and Margaret discovers the letters from David, which launches her on a mission to find out just what happened those many years ago. Told exclusively via letters between lovers, mother and daughter, and husband and wife, Brockmole's novel will make readers feel that they're illicitly reading someone's diary. But the letter convention has its drawbacks. It's difficult to get a full sense of who these characters are beyond what is written in their letters, which leaves them, at times, flat and two-dimensional.--Kubisz, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
In 1912, a chance letter from a young student to a reclusive poet sparks a trans-Atlantic romance spanning two wars. A fear of water has kept Elspeth Dunn on the Isle of Skye for all of her 24 years. Yet her poetry has traveled far, even to the bedside of David Graham, an American college student whose spirited shenanigans have landed him in the hospital with a broken leg. He writes her a fan letter, she responds, and an epistolary affair ensues. Yet more than water keeps the couple apart. David is struggling to gain independence from his domineering father. His grades are woeful and his career prospects uncertain. Worse, Elspeth happens to be already married. Her husband, Iain, has abandoned her to fight in the Great War. When David spontaneously decides to enlist as an ambulance driver, Elspeth is both terrified for him and thrilled at the prospect of meeting him face to face. Complicating matters is the disappearance of Iain, who is soon presumed dead. Jumping ahead to 1940, Elspeth's daughter, Margaret, escorts evacuated children to safe homes in the Scottish Highlands. She, too, has a wartime pen pal: Paul, a childhood friendturnedRoyal Air Force pilot. Elspeth cryptically warns Margaret about wartime romances, but before she can explain, she disappears during an air raid. Left with only an old love letter, Margaret begins searching for her mother, piecing together clues to a family secret. The correspondence between Elspeth and David, as well as between Margaret and Paul, carefully traces the intertwining of lives. By turns lyrical and flirtatious, Brockmole's debut charms with its wistful evocation of a time when handwritten, eagerly awaited letters could bespell besotted lovers.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.