STARRED REVIEW
June 13, 2013

Letters from Skye

By Jessica Brockmole
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What could be more divine than spending a summer day devouring the elegantly written WWI-era correspondence between a plucky Scottish heroine and an American ambulance driver risking his life on the frontlines?

Jessica Brockmole’s debut novel, Letters from Skye, is a charming vintage love story about Elspeth, a lonely poet living on the remote Isle of Skye, and her American pen pal, Davey, a student at the University of Illinois. Elspeth and Davey are the quintessential star-crossed lovers, facing formidable obstacles as their friendship blossoms into a love affair. While epistolary novels are a popular storytelling style of late, Brockmole’s use of this device is essential to her tale, allowing her to blend the voices of the enigmatic Elspeth and the irrepressible Davey.

Avoiding a chronological narrative, the novel fast-forwards to World War II, when Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, discovers a box of old letters addressed to “Sue”—Davey’s secret nickname for his Scottish lover. When Elspeth disappears, Margaret is compelled to unravel this riddle from her stoic mother’s past.

While Letters from Skye is at its heart a love story, Brockmole’s graceful writing never succumbs to the sensational or the maudlin. Instead, she wisely lets the letters carry readers back to a time when war raged and life itself was writ large.

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Letters from Skye

Letters from Skye

By Jessica Brockmole
Ballantine
ISBN 9780345542601

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