You can’t believe anything said in wartime. Emotions are as fleeting as a quiet night.
(from Letters From Skye)
Letters From Skye is a sweet love story set during both the First and Second World Wars and told entirely through letters. The book centers on the correspondence between Elspeth Dunn, a poet who has never ventured beyond her home on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, and David Graham, a college student from Illinois. A fan letter from David sparks a friendship that blossoms into love, but there are roadblocks to their happiness, including David’s decision to serve as an ambulance driver in France during World War I.
The novel alternates between Elspeth and David’s letters and those sent by Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, in 1940. Her mother has always been tight-lipped about her past, but Margaret didn’t realize the extent of her secrets until Elspeth disappears following a bombing raid on their Edinburgh home and Margaret’s announcement that she is engaged to an RAF pilot. Elspeth knows the dangers of giving your heart away during the chaos of war, and the memories of the first war come flooding back. Margaret begins a correspondence with her long lost uncle, Finlay, in order to learn the truth about her mother.
Despite being overly sentimental at times, I couldn’t help but love this book. I loved the characters, from the conflicted and passionate Elspeth and the fearless and sweet Davey to the curious and feisty Margaret. Jessica Brockmole manages through letters to not only create believable characters, but she also paints a beautiful picture of the landscape of Skye and evokes the worry and desperation that become so commonplace during wartime. I was invested in the story from the first letter, and Brockmole’s pacing was so good, I was on the edge of my seat even when I was pretty sure how it would all play out.
I usually prefer a little more history and depth in wartime romances, but Letters From Skye made up for it with relatable, endearing characters, family secrets, and of course, the lost art of letter writing. Brockmole emphasizes the difficult choices made during wartime and shows how a simple letter can bind people together forever and turn someone’s world upside down in a single moment.
Disclosure: I received Letters From Skye from Ballantine Books for review.
© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.