Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

Publication Date: July 9, 2013
ISBN 9780345542601
Category: Historical
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Print Length: 304 Pages

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My source: NetGalley
Format: ARC 
Book Description:
A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, This 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.

I loved this book! Read it in 2 days. I enjoyed the letter format. It bounced back and forth between the letters written during the first world war between lovers and the letters written during the second world war between daughter and several people as she looked for her missing mom and tried to figure out what secret the past held. 

At the same time I was angry with Elspeth for cheating and admired her courage to go after what she wanted. You can’t just hurt other people like that and get a charmed life or did she get a charmed life? Just when you thought you had the end figured out a surprise turns up! Now just who’s daughter is Margaret anyway? 

The descriptions of Skye made me feel like I was there and the descriptions of the war raining down on them were very real too. It’s a book that makes you feel wistful afterwards and leaves you feeling like you know these people, after all you read their intimate letters.

A sample of a short letter, from Elspeth’s brother Finlay to her daughter Margaret…

22 August

Dear Margaret,
  It was no impulsive war marriage. Elspeth was married to my best mate, Iain. The three of us had grown up on the hills of Skye. We ran bare-legged down the braes, splashed along the shingle in search of stones. Truth be told, Iain was always a little afraid of Elspeth. Her hair wild, she’d shout poems into the ocean spray. She was as fey as the island. One day we were dangling over the Fairy Bridge and he asked for her hand. She looked at me, then smiled and said yes. I thought the three of us would always be together. I never thought Elspeth would betray him.
  As much as I’d like to help, I don’t have the answers. I left Skye about a year before you were born. But my mathair, she was there. Write to her on Skye. Your grandmother will know more than I do.

If you love Scotland, romance and a bit of mystery this book is for you! I will be looking forward to more from this author! 

Peggy Ann