Luck should not be measured by the amount of times one avoids tragedy. That would make the world a very dark place, would it not? Shouldn’t luck be measured by the good things that happen out of the blue, with no strings attached?
(from “This Heart of Mine”)
“This Heart of Mine” is a prequel to the epistolary novel I’ll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan that brings together two women as pen pals while the men in their lives are off fighting in Europe and the Pacific during World War II and chronicles the friendship that develops through these letters. This short story is set up as a series of diary entries that introduce readers first to Rita, a 19-year-old waitress in 1921 Chicago, then to young socialite Glory in Rockport, Massachusetts, in 1940.
The story depicts Rita’s first uncertain meetings with Sal, the man she will one day marry, and Glory’s tough choice between her longtime boyfriend, Robert, and their best friend, Levi. Both women are making their way in the world alone, having lost their parents, and they must learn to be strong and follow their hearts.
I absolutely loved I’ll Be Seeing You, so when I discovered this free eBook, I couldn’t wait to see what events shaped them into the women I felt so close to in the novel. However, I wasn’t impressed by this story and didn’t feel like I learned anything new or insightful about Rita and Glory. To be honest, if I’d read “This Heart of Mine” first, I doubt I would have bothered to read the novel. I cared about Rita and Glory because I got to know them so well in I’ll Be Seeing You, and I think the novel provided enough back story to make this prequel unnecessary.
Most importantly, “This Heart of Mine” lacks the interaction between Rita and Glory, the friendship built through letters that is the real magic of their stories. I recommend that readers skip the prequel and read I’ll Be Seeing You, which is a beautifully written home-front novel and one of my favorite reads of 2013.
Disclosure: “This Heart of Mine” is from my personal library.
© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.