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Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole

Source: TLC Book Tours and Random House
Hardcover, 304 pages
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Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole, an epistolary novel that straddles two World Wars, is about falling in love, finding your soul mate, and poetry.  Elspeth Dunn, a Scottish poet on the Isle of Skye, lives a rather cloistered life on her island but one of her books makes its way across the Atlantic to a young man in Illinois, David Graham, who writes her a fan letter.  Over the course of several years beginning when WWI breaks out in Europe, Elspeth and David begin a correspondence that takes on a life of its own.

“It’s the war talking.  I know; I’ve seen it.  They head off, invincible, feeling as if the future is a golden pool before them, ready to dive into.  And then something happens — a bomb, a sprained wrist, a bullet that whizzes by too close for comfort — and suddenly they are grabbing for whatever they can hold on to.  That golden pool, it swirls around them, and they worry they might drown if they’re not careful.  They hold tight and make whatever promise comes to mind.  You can’t believe anything said in wartime.  Emotions are as fleeting as a quiet night.”  (page 33 ARC)

While David is in America struggling through college and hoping to subvert his father’s plans for medical school, Elspeth is busy writing poetry and becoming even more entrenched in the lines her muse is offering.  Her relationship with her brother Finlay is the closest she has, but war does change things.  The more her muse speaks, the more she’s pulled away from the life she’s always known and the more she is challenged to face her fears — including her fear of water.

Through Elspeth and David’s correspondence the wider impact of war is experienced, complete with the tension of the home front as wives and families wait for their loved ones.  But at the same time, the lives of women are broadening as they are able to enter into jobs once thought of as men’s work.  The feminist leanings of Elspeth are clearly front and center in some of her correspondence with David, but it never deters him in his pursuit of her.  The moral high ground has no place in this romantic jaunt across Scotland, London, and France as a young woman and man succumb to their emotional connection on the page.

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole weaves Elspeth and David’s story with that of Margaret, Elspeth’s daughter, and her search for the past.  Margaret has never met her father, and her mother remains close-lipped about her past and her daughter’s father.  But when WWII begins to break out, all of the old transgressions and emotional upheaval of Elspeth’s past resurfaces, threatening to leave her unmoored once again.  But Margaret’s life is far from pristine when it comes to the tentacles of war as her fiance flies for the RAF.  Brockmole’s letters are frank, honest, and engaging as these relationships unfold and enfold, creating a family history that will be hard to forget.  And yes, there is a poem included!

About the Author:

Jessica Brockmole spent several years living in Scotland, where she knew too well the challenges in maintaining relationships from a distance. She plotted her first novel on a long drive from the Isle of Skye to Edinburgh. She now lives in Indiana with her husband and two children.

To learn more about Jessica and her work, visit her Website.

To WIN a copy of this book, leave a comment by July 19, 2013, at 11:59 PM EST; You must be a U.S. resident 18 years and older.

This is my 44th book for the 2013 New Authors Challenge.

  • I’m glad we both loved this one!

  • I enjoyed the book but got lost a few times. 🙂

    Elizabeth
    Silver’s Reviews

  • Sounds like a really good book and I’ve read a lot of positive reviews! Thanks for the giveaway chance 🙂

  • Anita Yancey

    Sounds like a great book. I am glad they have a romance even if it is only through writing. Thanks for this chance.

  • Dawn

    Sounds like an interesting book.

  • This sounds interesting. I’ve gotten really into feminist writing lately, so I’m intrigued by the changing-roles-of-women aspect of this book.

    • It’s not a main theme in the book, but it’s there if you are paying attention.

  • “falling in love, finding your soul mate, and poetry” makes for a wonderful combination!

    Thanks for being on the tour Serena.

  • Pingback: Jessica Brockmole, author of Letters from Skye, on tour July 2013 | TLC Book Tours()

  • Ti

    No need to enter me. Epistolary novels tend to not work for me. Interesting concept though.

    • I think I was in the right mood for this one.

  • This sounds like a book I’d love.

  • karenk

    thanks for the chance to read this beautiful story 🙂