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Letters from Skye

July 2013

Remember when letter writing was an everyday occurrence, not a lost art? I am not talking about emails that bounce around, often with one-word answers, but rather the kinds of letters where just seeing the writing on an envelope found at the mailbox by the curb could mean a nice extended read, a thoughtful reply, and then weeks for another part of the conversation to unfold. LETTERS FROM SKYE by Jessica Brockmole takes us back to a time like that as it spans two continents and takes place over the course of two world wars, capturing the way that love builds and the way words can make a heart beat faster. I enjoy sagas, and the way this one plays out in the characters’ own words makes it so charming!

At the start, we meet Elspeth Dunn, a Scottish poet who lives on the island of Skye. A young American man, David, who has read her poems, writes her a fan letter glowing with admiration for her work. A long-distance friendship ensues. But Elspeth has not revealed that she is married, and as she and David communicate, they find themselves falling for each other emotionally, which grows into love. To meet, they each must move out of their own comfort zones. World War I ensues, flinging both of their lives in new directions.

The parallel story is set during World War II when young Margaret  wants to marry her soldier beau, Paul. Her mother, a secretive and reserved woman, cautions her against calling for a wartime romance, but will not explain why she feels this way. Curious, Margaret looks to learn more about her mother and what drove her to be the way she is. A box of letters she finds fills in a lot of the pieces, but have her searching for more.

I noted the dates on the letters, with often a month between them instead of the minutes we are used to today. The book had a leisurely pace to me, one that I enjoyed during a very busy time in my life since I could read a few letters, savor them, and then pick up the story later as I had time. A nice way to read when busy! 

Letters from Skye
by Jessica Brockmole