Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Fiction: Letters from Skye

This story unfolds as if the book were a suitcase of treasured letters.

Letters from Skye is organized around the letters of two women, mother and daughter -- and those they love. Elspeth, a poet, isolated on the Island of Skye, and perhaps not in love with her husband, begins to exchange letters with an American fan during World War I. As we read these letters from this time, we also are introduced to a mystery as the book shifts to letters written by Elspeth's daughter, Margaret, in Edinburgh during World War II, for Elspeth has disappeared.

The story is compelling, for these letters reveal the passion and uncertainty we rarely show outsiders.

The plot twists are delicious. Just when I think I've figured out what will inevitably happen next, the story turns, the characters behave unexpectedly (and are able to explain their actions later), and the question of how we honor commitments to those we love is answered. 

I was entranced by these characters, Elspeth and her Davey, and by how skillfully Jessica Brockmole creates the mood and settings of these two times, from the very rural and isolated Island of Skye, to Edinburgh and London.

When I spent two months in Scotland, doing research for Standing Stones, there wasn't enough time to visit Skye. Instead, I now remember the people and places of the Orkneys, Inverness, and Edinburgh, one of the key settings of Letters from Skye

Definitely a memorable read. 4.5 stars.

Read more about Jessica Brockmole here.