Customer Reviews for

The Last Letter

Average Rating 4
( 90 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(43)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

24 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

Don't you get it?

Why do you people keep writing these reviews which tell the whole story! Tell whether or not you like the book and why. I don't even read these long winded reviews as I don't want to spoil the story for myself.

posted by 1214323 on October 2, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Very Good

Good book, tragic story.

posted by TinaMarina on August 18, 2012

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  • Posted October 17, 2011

    Good book

    I really enjoyed this-couldn't put it down. The plot twists and at one point, I got so caught up in Jeanie's sorry husband, I found myself mad at my husband for not doing things around the house. That is a sign of a good read!

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    Must read!

    At first when this book was recommended for my reading group, I think we were all a little sceptical. However, by the last few chapters I was on edge waiting to see what happened next. Personally, the beginning was a little slow, but by the middle of the book I was wanting more. And I thought the ending was phenomenal!

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2012

    Great book!

    This was an unusual book with a couple of twists and turns. Great read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Unexpected twists

    This is a story about a mother and daughter's relationship at the cross roads. Jeanie Arthur is dying of cancer and she wants her daughter's forgiveness, not as much for herself but for her daughter, Katherine. Her daughter doesn't even want her dying mother in her home, let alone ready to forgive her. The Last Letter centers on Jeanie's pioneer life and what brought about her daughter's bitterness towards her. As the reader we are allowed to see (read) the whole story as it unfolds to understand a mother's plight. Jeanie finds herself and her family living in the Dakota Territory, after having lived the good life in Des Moines, Iowa. Her father and husband Frank and brought disgrace to their family and had lost the family fortune. She and Frank are running headlong into a new life.a life Frank has dreamt about. Jeanie having lived her entire life privilege is far from pleased about this new life. Between her discontentment, Frank's laziness and facing the elements, life is more difficult than any of them could have imagined. I had anticipated The Last Letter would mostly be written in the form of letters, but instead numerous letters were discussed during the book and in the end Katherine finds the last letter she'd not read before and finally is able to make sense of the things she didn't understand as a child. I had a hard time really getting into the beginning of the book. It's very well written, but it took some time before the story really gets moving. On the flip side, after completing the book I gained a stronger appreciation for the beginning of the book and Jeanie's dilemma and choices at the end of the book. I would add the last 100-150 pages moved very quickly where I didn't want to stop reading. There were so many shocking discoveries at the end of the book, all twists and turns were very impressive. I was disappointed with how little information we are given during Katherine's adolescent years, it just felt as if the story ended too swiftly. Overall, I enjoyed the book. I found myself reflecting how lucky we are as women it today's world. For so many years women had little to no rights and I think we sometimes take for granted. I would recommend this book.

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    Enjoyable reading

    I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction. It gives you a perspective on history and the early settlers and problems they faced, not only physical but emotional problems. I am, in fact, rereading it to better understand the character's actions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2011

    4 stars

    I really enjoyed this and could relate to her prairie life, listening to my mother talk about being born in a sod house in the mid west. The hardships and the joys were stories you hear from a generation that is fast passing. I defintely would recommend it for a Book Club discussion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2015

    Dream in Reverse

    Riveting story, despite inconstencies within the condensed time frame. The reversal of fortune bears psychological impact on all characters through one calamity after another. Love a good story even if somewhat unbelieveable.

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  • Posted July 23, 2014

    Emotional and Fascinating Read ! The Last Letter by Kathleen Sho

    Emotional and Fascinating Read !
    The Last Letter by Kathleen Shoop ignited my curiosity as I read the first chapter.  The reminiscing while duty calls and her children – the first chapter really had me going there hitting all of my senses.
    As the story pursues, we get to read some good revelations where Katherine who seemed strong to want to start a new life in the prairies was weak when it came to handling her mother.
    From the very beginning of the story, Katherine is not a happy person while her mother only wants to be forgiven for numerous reasons.  I didn’t know who to believe and what I would have done in Katherine’s shoes. 
    Katherine’s mother, Jeannie was perhaps well committed when it came to the survival of her family but the resentment was stronger than her. As I read; I wondered if by the end of the story, there would be some sort of reconciliation/forgiveness. That’s when the letters come in. Magnetism to my heart. 
    Very well written – I do recommend it.
    Adriana LG

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  • Posted July 11, 2014

    Kathleen Shoop does a wonderful job describing life on the prair

    Kathleen Shoop does a wonderful job describing life on the prairie in this story of historical fiction. Many authors romanticize the life that pioneers led, but actual history shows us the true hardships they endured on the prairie.
    The story pivots back and forth in time, from 1888 ~ Dakota Territory and 1905 ~ Des Moines, Iowa … from Jeanie’s point of view and Katherine’s … mother and daughter. The Arthur family led a high society, privileged life until a scandal sent them to head for the hills – literally. They found a small cooperative community of several homesteading families and moved into a nearby abandoned dugout. Life was extremely hard on this spoiled family. Jeanie and Frank had a hard time adjusting from high society to barely existing on the harsh prairie. They endured every hardship imaginable, fire, grasshoppers, blizzards, drug addiction, infidelity, and even death. Needless to say, relationships were strained to the breaking point.
    I don’t want to give away too much of the plot (or what’s in the last letter), so I highly recommend reading this book to learn for yourself how this family managed to survive.

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  • Posted July 9, 2014

    First of all, this is a realistic historical fiction book, and I

    First of all, this is a realistic historical fiction book, and I do wish to prepare anyone who tackles this book for plenty of tragedy. All too often, we glamorize the pioneer days. We think that every family somehow made it through the struggles with flying colors. Money may have been tight, but everything worked out like a "Little House on the Prairie" episode. History tells us that was not the case. Tragedy was always lurking closely to every family on the frontier just waiting to strike. Yes, there was infidelity, snakes, and even drug addictions. And this book depicts this through expertly-written prose. I highly recommend this book even though it is rather difficult to read at times. There are no bedroom scenes, and the profanity is minimal. I prefer books with some levity, but the reader will not find that in this book. Notwithstanding, I recommend this book to true lovers of historical fiction. 




    I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

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  • Posted July 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Through the letters,you will learn why Katherine made the decisi

    Through the letters,you will learn why Katherine made the decisions that she did with her family. This book will make you think about your relationships with your family.  All of the characters become as alive as each page is turned. It was almost like I was there on the Prairie right there with them. Kathleen told how hard it was to live life in the 1800's. I really liked this book and think that you will too! 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2014

    I enjoyed this book, from the first page to the last chapter. Ka

    I enjoyed this book, from the first page to the last chapter. Kathleen Shoop's storytelling transports the reader to another era. The last chapter, though, leaves me wanting more. I wish there was more to the story.

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  • Posted July 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review - beaut

    I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review - beautiful cover isn't it?

    I'm having a bit of an issue deciding whether I loved the book or hated it. Or both. The characters were excellently written with depth and likability, however both mother and daughter suffered so incredibly much it was almost TOO much. They didn't seem to enjoy any part of their life, especially Jeanie. It was heartbreaking! Yet on another plus side, the characters were likable as well as believable.

    The plot was also wonderfully devised and yet I completely hated the ending! Gah! Now this is what has me stuck in circles, wondering 'do I like this book or hate it?' The story was inspired by Kathleen Shoop's own great-great grandparents letters and the incredibly accurate portrayal of the time period by tons of research (and it shows) made this story great. Now if only the ending.... *sigh*

    I'm not sure here. However, I could not put the book down and it was excellently done, except that I felt that there could have been one or two more happy moments somewhere for them before the book just "wham - ending!"

    However, because of how well written, devised, and believable this book was - plus it actually made me cry - I'm giving it 4 stars. If you love historical fiction, I do recommend this book! Just be prepared to want to toss the book or ereader across the room.

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  • Posted June 25, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Have you ever wondered what the worst of the worst could be for

    Have you ever wondered what the worst of the worst could be for families that braved prairie life back in the 1800′s? Kathleen Shoop describes just that in a horrifying very real way. There were many things to be afraid of back then, drought, debilitating snowstorms, crop failure, etc, etc. But what happens when the fear of  being under your own roof is the worst of them all? What if you were the one desperately trying to hide these horrible secrets from everyone, including other in the home-just to try to keep them protected? And then what happens when these events have come to a point that they need to be told?




    That is exactly what you will encounter in The Last Letter. This novel will pull at your heart-strings and probably bring you to tears. You will feel as if you all you want to do is stop all the bad that happens. The characters are so strong, they will leave a very big impact on you-you will remember them for some time. You will also begin to realize what we take for granted and make you grateful.




    By the end of the book, you will be left wanting to continue the story. You will want to fill in the few blanks left behind. This book is amazing in so many ways, and I have already recommended it to most of my personal friends. I even lent out my own copy, that is how much I liked this book.

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  • Posted June 24, 2014

    A good read and worth while for those who like historical fictio

    A good read and worth while for those who like historical fiction. It has twists and turns. Some word choice I had to wonder (and then check) if a word was historically appropriate. Other than that I enjoyed the story.

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  • Posted April 26, 2013

    Entertaining

    Kept my interest up with the hardships of life on the prairie during the pioneering times of the late 1800's. When the end of the book came I found it too rapid and watery leaving me feel as though it was a big build up to anti-climatic ending.
    As a fair shake to the author I would try another of her books to see if this is an anomaly to her normal writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    Emotionally stimulating

    The characters are well developed and the story immerses the reader in a harsh world where pioneers must accept loss and pain. Characters are stripped down to their core and exposed not only to nature but their inner nature becomes exposed to society.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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