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Posted March 21, 2011
Beautifully written and very engaging book
The first thing I have to say about this book is the fact that it really felt like I was in the 1940s in the midst of WWII. Ms. McMorris does a fabulous job of setting the tone and setting of the book. I felt like she really did her research from the way the characters talked to the various settings, they just felt right. No accidental usage of current slang to take me out of the moment. The era is the book is wonderfully done. Next is the characters. I love Liz and Julia and Betty grew on me. Betty seemed a little stuck on herself at first but as I read more about her I started liking her more and more. Liz seems to be the star of this book while still having storylines involving Julia and Betty. I am in hopes that more books will follow and will tell the continuing stories of Julia and Betty. In this book Liz is engaged, but then she meets Morgan the night before he heads off to serve in the war. Then she sees him with Betty and gives up on the feelings she felt. Then the curveball is thrown when Betty asks Liz to write to Morgan for her since she doesn't know what to say. A relationship grows through the letters and leads to the main storyline of the book. I found the letters fascinating and a wonderful way to get to know the characters. The letters are interspersed with accounts from each of the characters lives and it's a great way to get to know all the main players in the book and also to see life on the home front and on the front lines. The focus is on the characters though and how they grow and change during the book because of the way they affect one another. The book is beautifully written and completely captivating. I hated putting it down to do other things and was anxious to pick it back up. I could read it in a busy room with no problem, that was how engrossed I would become in the book. The romance is sweet, the end is great, the tension building is wonderfully done and I just can't gush enough about this book. This is Ms. McMorris' debut and I can't wait to see what she writes next.
5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 17, 2011
Loved It- Great for readers from 18-108!
Letters From Home takes us back to 1944 where, amid the heartache of WWII, three young women explore issues of friendship, honesty, loss and the need to follow one's heart. Told with uncompromising attention to historical detail; McMorris successfully blurs the line between fact and fiction. Beautifully written with rich characters and a touch of romance; this timeless tale will touch readers from 18 to 108.
This book opened up discussions with my parents about their own postcard courtship! It is a good story for pulling generations together. Good to share with family or reading groups.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 10, 2011
Posted March 15, 2012
This was a wonderful love story and so much more, set during World War II. My parents were sweethearts during this time so I knew how important letters to each other while separated. I never really though about all of the ramafications the war caused. And most veterans that I have known never wanted to relive their experiences by talking about it. This novel kept my attention throughout and I couldn't put it down as I wanted to know what the ending would be. I was sad to see the novel come to a close. It kept me thinking long after what was to happen with Julia, Betty, Liz and Morgan. I highly recommend this.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 6, 2011
The Nostaligia of World War II
Kristina McMorris has hit a home run out of the ball park with this, her debut novel. Letters From Home centers around three female friends who are all out for the evening at a USO club in Chicago in 1944. Liz who is almost engaged to her childhood friend Dalton, has her life mapped out; Julia who is engaged to sailor Christian and who gives up a shot at being a fashion editor for Vogue; and Betty the blonde bombshell singer at the USO who is every guy's fantasy but who is searching for more to her life than slinging hash at a neighborhood diner. Enter the McLain brothers, Morgan and Charlie, who are shipping out the next morning. At first glance Morgan falls for the sedate brunette Liz but ends up 'saving' Betty by pretending to be her fiance. As a thank you, Betty gives him her photo with her address on it and invites him to write to her. Unbeknownst to anyone else, Liz deals with her strong instant attraction to Morgan but quashes it when she spots him in a clinch with Betty. That is where the story begins. Where it gets interesting is when Morgan, now in Europe, writes to Betty. Betty hasn't given him a second thought and is cajoles Liz into writing a return letter for her. Liz caves in, writes the letter, and signs Betty's name. An exchange of letters between Morgan and Betty/Liz ensues for the remainder of the war. The correspondents open their hearts to each other and in time fall in love; Liz with Morgan and Morgan with Betty. The author has woven a time-honored story with well developed characters that we learn to care about from the first page. Her descriptions of war-time events and military hospitals is spot-on. The reactions of the characters to their personal dilemmas makes the reader empathize with their choices and the consequences. Ms. McMorris shifts our attention from the European to the Pacific Theaters of War seamlessly. We are never lost or left hanging. While Ms. McMorris used the real-life correspondence between her own grandparents as inspiration for this story, I found myself comparing her characters to my own parents who were married shortly before my father was drafted. I was drawn into the story and couldn't put the book down - in fact I resented any intrusion on my reading. I heartily recommend Letters From Home to anyone who had relatives in WWII and to readers of historical fiction. I hope to read more from this promising author.
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Posted December 13, 2013
I really enjoyed reading this one. It made me see what my grandparents may have gone through during WWII. It was a great book. Makes me want to read more stories on WWII. It did have the romance factor, but gave me an insight to what life was like during that time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 24, 2013
Posted April 18, 2013
Posted November 11, 2011
Amazing!! Simply Amazing!
This book was amazing!! Truly amazing!! Makes me wish I lived back in that time, it was nice to see Betty grow up and mature while in the WAS and it was nice to see Liz and Morgan fall in love, the simplicity of relationships back then, and how it did not take forever for someone to know true love, I have that with my husband but nowadays that is a very rare thing. Was sad to see Charlie pass on, but as with any good story someone must meet a tragic end. I wish that Julia and Ian would have maybe helped each other heal over Christians death, they had a very good chemistry. Loved this book, and I would recommend it to everyone!!!!
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Posted August 18, 2011
Posted April 16, 2011
Heartwarming and magical
This is a wonderful fascinating glimpse into the lives of three young ladies during WW2 and the men who they loved. Each girl had a different story, but all were tastefully weaved together to form a beautiful tapestry of romance, war, hardship, and adventure.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I found myself gripped from the first chapter and found it hard to put it down. I usually do not read WW2 novels, but I found myself completed immersed into the time period. Reaching the last page was a sad event, for I wasn't ready for the story to be over. I reread the last three pages at least five times before finally closing the book. With each reading of the last sentence came the "sigh."
Kristina McMorris has managed to turn me into a WW2 romance novel lover.
Posted April 11, 2011
Ever Know a WWII Vet?
Do you have any relations, living or deceased, who served in World War II? If you think not, are you sure? After all, over 16 million Americans served in uniform during the war. That's not to mention the millions who worked to arm, equip, transport, or otherwise support them. And this at a time when the population was less than half today's; about 139 million. Chances are you are recently descended from someone greatly affected by this monumental conflict.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Have you ever wondered about them, how living scenes we can only imagine when seeing them in the movies really felt? Well, Kristina McMorris, upon discovering a treasure trove of letters between her grandparents, did. And the rest of us are blessed by her curiosity, and the resultant labor of love she crafted in Letters From Home.
The book opens with a simple enough hook: a chance meeting before a soldier ships off to war, a couple feels a spark in one another's presence, in touching; the simple pangs of love at first sight. Through a simple misunderstanding they are separated before exploring their feelings, or even exchanging surnames, let alone contact information. McMorris's simplicity is deceptively entangling, for both the couple, Liz and Morgan, and for the reader. Fate intervenes, and Liz is offered a chance to continue her connection with Morgan (Mac), off fighting in Europe, via letters from home. The hitch, thereby the novel's true hook: to do so, Liz must assume another woman's identity to keep Mac's letters coming-and that woman is her friend and roommate.
Do you ever think society is worse off for the disappearance of letter-writing? I'm not talking emails or tweets-I refer to the composing of one's thoughts and emotions in writing, in ink, specifically to connect with another. If so, you have a second reason to read this book. The language McMorris uses in Liz's and Mac's letters is so powerful, so beautifully written, I found myself longing for the next one, just as do Liz and Mac in the story.
The novel is multi-layered, introducing a whole series of era-specific issues via the secondary characters and plots. Issues like women's changing roles, both in the armed services and on the home front, the shame of battle fatigue, and the dehumanizing and tragic impact of war and death on the psyche of its survivors. McMorris skillfully renders battle scenes, both gripping and heartrending. I consider myself well-read on the war and the era, and found her attention to detail impeccable. The dialog rings true and period-correct, but still relatable to a modern audience.
The final weaving of the various far-flung characters and story elements is masterful. I confess myself the son of a WWII combat vet, which may have some bearing on my feelings. But I found Letters From Home to be a sweeping, romantic, and powerfully moving page-turner. A must read for anyone who ever knew or wondered about a relative who survived or died as a result of one the world's most arduous trials. They don't call them The Greatest Generation for nothing.
Posted March 16, 2011
Letters From Home
I am a huge fan of historical fiction and when I read that "Letters From Home"was inspired by the love letters of the authors grandparents I was totally hooked.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Set during WWII, the story revolves around three young ladies Liz, Betty and Julia,who have been best friends since they were thrown together as lab partners in freshman science.The three of them live in Elizabeth (Liz) Stephens grandparents home. Each have their own aspirations in life, Liz plans on marrying her childhood friend Dalton, and also becoming a literature professor. Julia is engaged to Christian, who is serving overseas, but she also is great with fashion, and has just been offered a chance at an impressive internship with Vogue. Betty works as a waitress and also sings at the USO, she decides that her life needs a change and makes a quick decision to join the Women's Army Corps.
Morgan McClain and his brother Charlie are getting ready to ship out and are spending their last night at the USO in Chicago. Charlie is anxious to get into battle, he would have enlisted early but his brother Morgan convinced him to wait until he was eighteen, and because Morgan has always looked out for his brother, he signed up as well.When Morgan and Liz meet at the USO they feel drawn to each other, but when Liz goes to the bathroom and comes back Morgan is dancing with Betty, making Liz think that she only imagined the spark she felt. Betty starts corresponding with Morgan but soon convinces Liz to write the letters for her, as the letters fly back and forth Morgan thinks he is falling for Betty, never realizing it is actually Liz he is corresponding with.
The author weaves together the stories of the characters perfectly, pulling you into their lives so completely that I really couldn't put the book down.There are some light humorous moments but also some heart wrenching ones as well. Because the author starts each chapter with the date and location she easily transistions the story between the States and the battlefield.
As we get the back stories of the characters, I found myself especially drawn to Liz, who felt abandoned by her father, and I really kept hoping that Julia wouldn't give up her chance with Vogue. I was so totally surprised when Betty joined the WAC. I kept wondering what Morgan would do when he found out the truth about who he was actually corresponding with. But most of all I found myself holding my breath, hoping that the men would make it back home alive.
If your looking for a well written story that will transport you back to a simpler time, where the characters stick in your heart and mind long after you have read the last page then you definitely want to read this book!
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Posted March 15, 2011
What A Joy to Read!!!
Wonderfully delightful book! Gripping story right from the start! The tears were flowing in many parts. Kristina McMorris's style of writing is so graceful and so powerful and is such a pleasure to read. I had not read an historical fiction novel in quite a while and I had forgotten how enjoyable they can be!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The main story revolves around letters that are exchanged between soldier Morgan McClain and Betty, a beautiful USO singer. The main twist is that he is actually not writing to Betty but to her roommate Liz. He had actually met Liz at the dance and there was a strong connection between them but fate intervened as you will see when you read the story. It is Liz's words that he falls in love with while overseas and her opening up her heart to him through the letters that propel the story forward and provide the potential for disaster once he realizes that he is not writing to Betty.
The three women, Liz, Betty and Julia, who inhabit these pages are all different yet incredibly interesting unique individuals. While this book is a love story it is also a touching story about the friendships between women. Liz, Betty and Julia are all very different women following different paths. All three women find joy and heartbreak in this novel and I felt every emotion right along with them! I felt that McMorris' portrayal of a soldier's life on the western front and the Pacific front to be incredibly realistic and true to history. I found the same for her portrayal of life on the home front.
This book is one of the must read books of the year that everyone will be talking about. You'll laugh and you'll cry! Highly recommend this book!
Posted March 12, 2011
A beautifully written book that will take you on a journey
My Synopsis:Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Liz Stephens is at a crossroad in her life. She has been in a relationship with her childhood friend, Dalton Harris. For the most part, Liz is content in this relationship. During a chance meeting at a USO dance, Liz meets Morgan McClain an enlisted soldier who will be shipped off to war the next morning. In that brief moment in time, Liz feels such a strong connection with Morgan that will shake her up and make her question her relationship and all that she knows. A misunderstanding leads her to believe that Morgan's affection lies elsewhere.
Morgan and his brother Charlie are shipping off to war the next morning. Morgan has been looking out for Charlie his whole life. Charlie wanted to enlist and go off to war. Morgan also enlists and finds a way for them to be in the same unit so he could keep an eye out for his younger brother. On their last night before they are shipped off, Morgan meets and feels a huge connection with Liz. Before he could get her last name and find out more about her, Liz departs to clean up after a drunk soldier spills a drink down the side of her dress. Morgan loses sight of her while helping a damsel in distress.
Betty Cordell is trying to find her way in this world. She is beautiful and has the curves in all the right places. She's not as book smart as her roommates, but she's a fighter. Betty is singing at this dance and has captivated many of the soldiers there that night. She is rescued by Morgan when a drunk soldier doesn't take no for an answer. Betty is searching for Mr. Right and thinks she might have found it in Morgan.
Julia Renard has a decision to make. She's been offered a prestigious internship at Vogue. She would love to jump at this chance but she loves her fiance Christian more. Julia decides her time would be better spent at home as a wife when Christian returns from the war. Julia is confident in her decision and continues to plan her wedding. An encounter with Christian's older brother Ian will leave her questioning her path.
Each friend will take her own path leading her on a journey that will change her life.
Where to start? Let me start by telling you how I discovered this book. I was stalking the Rhapsody Book Club site and saw this book in their coming soon section. I saw the cover and fell in love with it. Yes, it doesn't have any eye candy (my normally visually appealing senses can appreciate non eye candy covers every once in awhile it happens..lol) but the combination of the letters and flower evoked an emotion in me. What emotion I couldn't tell you, but I knew I needed to find out more about this book. I read the synopsis and was sold. I checked out Kristina's website and totally fell in love. It's like stepping back into days gone by. I found out Kristina was a new author and this was a debut book. Stalked Kristina and told her I wanted to pimp her book and get her on my blog. I took a chance with an author I've never read before and a genre (Women's Fiction) that I'm picky about and rarely read, but something in my gut told me that I was going to like this book. Let me tell you, that I love it when my gut is right! :)
Kristina has written a captivating novel that will take you on a journey from the home front of America during WWII to the middle of the battlefields fought across the seas! With her poetic writing and descriptive words you will feel as if you've stepped right into the 1940's during an era that was dominated by an ugl
Posted March 11, 2011
Hope In Time of War
This is a lovely story and one that is especially heart-warming. It's a story of hope, friendship, sacrifice and love. It's a story about events we encounter that change our lives forever, whether we want them to or not. I thoroughly enjoyed Letters from Home and I expect the author to do very well with this debut novel. Well-written, nicely developed characters, excellent use of research . what more could a reader ask for!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 11, 2011
Outstanding! A Must Read!
I've always been a huge fan of WWII stories. I truly love the romances between soldiers and the girls' back home. This one, however, was truly surprising. The story was new, fresh, and full of twists and turns that I wasn't expecting.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
We begin with Liz Stephens, riding in a Cadillac beside her boyfriend, Dalton Harris. She couldn't be more upset with him if she possibly tried. Dalton is a good man, but spends most of his time working on his father's political campaign; he rarely remembers when Liz asks him to accompany her to various events, and this is one night where she really wanted his company. As always, Dalton kisses her on the head, apologizes, and Liz rushes out of the car, determined to get away from him before she ends up slapping him across the face.
When she arrives at the USO dance that her roommate is making her singing debut at, she finds herself surrounded by the brave soldiers dressed in their clean, crisp uniforms. Betty Cordell, a slightly dumb blonde who wants nothing more than to sing in a USO band is up on stage; while Liz's other roommate, Julia Renard - a girl who's truly in love, has a talent for fashion design, and spends most of her time missing her beloved fiancée who is overseas - is sitting at a table. As Julia and Liz sit and listen to Betty belt out a gorgeous tune from the stage, two young men appear by their side.
Charlie and Morgan McClain are brothers. Like most siblings, they are completely different from each other. Charlie is the "fun" guy with the incredible sense of humor who makes women swoon; while his older brother Morgan is incredibly handsome and extremely shy - especially around Liz who he spotted from across the crowded dance floor and, literally, fell in love with on site. Although Liz is already angry about her boyfriend and snaps at the young soldiers, she also discovers - after a very short conversation - that Morgan McClain is the most genuine and attractive man she's ever met.
Because of a miscommunication of sorts, Liz sees Morgan in Betty's arms during the dance and she can feel her heart break; she actually has no idea why that is, considering they've only just met. But she rushes from the USO dance, never to see Morgan again. Through an even stranger circumstance, Liz becomes a pen-pal to the handsome man, writing him letters overseas - their words bringing them closer and closer.
In the midst of Liz and Morgan having the most amazing relationship through the written word, the author also adds amazingly interesting storylines that deal with Betty and her overwhelming urge to serve overseas; Julia's exciting offer of a life working at Vogue in NYC; and, Morgan and his "unit" who have to go through horrific battles and extreme emotional upheaval in order to get home to the women and families they truly love. There's not one story "thread" that's even remotely boring - every single page of this is a must read.
This new author was inspired to write this heartfelt tale after reading her grandma and Papa's love letters. I can't think of a more beautiful way to get inspiration. My grandparents had the most amazing romance I've ever witnessed. Perhaps that generation knew how to truly find loyalty, love, friendship, and happiness in another person - as well as reciprocate those hard-to-find emotions. This story will have you praying for the author to hurry up and write more!
Posted March 11, 2011
Great Historical Fiction
This book was a great smooth read, you felt yourself being dragged into the trenches with the characters. I felt like I was along side Morgan and what he was facing in the war zone. Also felt like I was right along side Liz and her choices she was making. This is a great fresh read into our history. Really showed how the war affected so many and how women survived with so much turmoil.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Definitely will be looking for more books by this author she has really hit on something great and wonderful. Her ability at story telling was amazing. I was actually surprised how engrossed in this story I got so quickly. Which is something most books are lacking. Most of them have dead areas, and this story didn't I was captivated wanting to see how it played out.
It definitely showed how the War grew young adults up in a rather quick motion. And how what we plan isn't always what transpires things happen, choices are made and not the ones we plan. I can only imagine her parents love story was as great as Liz and Morgan's. Kristina McMorris has definitely turned me onto reading this period type work. As generally I surpass it as too much blood shed and horror, but she has given it a romantic spin, of how kids were and how they dealt with life challenges.
I rate this book as 5 stars as never has a novel grabbed me like this one. It grabbed me sucked me in, held my emotions and gave me tons of insight. I will be checking out any and all work by this Author. Way to go your story rocks. I couldn't even put it into words how great it was!
Posted March 10, 2011
Posted March 9, 2011
Enchanting and authentic
Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris follows four unsung WWII heroes during their personal transformations while the second war to-end-all-wars shaped the history of our world. I'm familiar with many WWII movies from The Bridge over the River Kwai to Saving Private Ryan, and the Band of Brothers miniseries.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Ms. McMorris brings an additional WWII flavor to Letters with the focus on three women whose lives were forever changed by the war. I personally feel the mastery behind this novel is the romance between Liz and Morgan through letters. Without her letters with Morgan, Liz would have not been transformed by the war. Instead, she may have taught the history of WWII as a professor instead of the potential life to unfold at the end of the novel.
Julia has a fiancé solider and Betty becomes a WAC and they make their choices and change specifically because WWII events affected their lives and this adds great depth and flavor to the story. But Liz doesn't even know she's fighting a war within until her contact with Morgan as he is living the war in the trenches.
I personally found the letters as presented to be compelling and very true to the art and craft of letter writing as it existed in the 1940's. The censorship on personal communication that also existed during WWII meant that both writer and reader needed to truly read-between-the-lines. Bits of poetry and childhood memories shared with the ever present horror of war hanging over their heads truly does reveal a lot about the soul of the person, and love can bloom there.
This novel is enchanting, well paced, and strongly written. Readers will be avidly turning the pages and willing to discuss it for many years to come. There's even intriguing recipes at the end.
Ms. McMorris also has a wonderful website with additional stories, real WWII letters, and more information about the United Through Reading organization.