Letters From Skye, Jessica Brockmole

lettersI listened to the audio version of this book and found it extremely moving and engaging. There were several readers playing the part of individual characters. All were excellent.
The book takes place in two parallel time zones of war, one beginning in 1912 and the other in 1940. It is told through a series of letters between the characters.
In 1912, the poetess Elspeth Dunn, lives on the Isle of Skye, in Scotland. Once, she had secretly dreamed of being a geologist, but her fear of water has kept her trapped on the island. When she gets her first fan letter from a reader named David Graham who lives in Urbana, Illinois, whose secret dream is to be a ballet dancer, her life takes a turn in a completely different direction. She calls him Davey and he decides to call her Sue, in the frequent, but secret, touching correspondence that develops over the years.
Elspeth’s husband, Ian, a fisherman, had grown very distant and eventually left her to join the fight in Europe, during WWI. Her confused loneliness is abated, not by the rare correspondence from Ian, but by the letters that often arrive from Davey. After some time, Davey also joins the fight in Europe. He will drive an ambulance. She has a divided allegiance, but she misses them both.
Ian was best friends with Elspeth’s brother, Finlay, and when he discovers her secret letter writing and her secret feelings toward Davey, he is enraged because she has been betraying his friend, Ian, who is now MIA and presumed dead. The family is torn apart when Finlay packs up and leaves home. Will the problems ever be solved and families reunited or will many more cans of worms be opened? Will anything move Elspeth to conquer her fear of water to leave the island?
Now move to 1940, Margaret Dunn is meeting and writing to Paul. They believe they are in love. It is again a time of war and he, too, joins up to fight. Her mother warns her to be careful about love in wartime, because it is a time when hearts often make rash decisions. Margaret is confused by her mother’s odd behavior, especially in the coming days, after her mother’s secret cache of letters addressed to Sue, is accidentally discovered in their home. Sue is a person unknown to Margaret. Shortly afterward, her mom disappears, and Margaret sets out to solve the mystery.
Switching back to the 1912 era, the reader discovers that by a trick of fate, Davy and Ian wind up in the same prison camp and the story begins to twist and turn as more and more letters are revealed and more secrets disclosed.
Through the correspondence and interviews with people in 1940, who knew Margaret’s mother, the story is told and it is told with a good deal of humor in the back and forth letters, but the background love story is one of longing and tenderness, as well as secrets and deceptions. The eloquent correspondence of both couples exposes the actions of the characters that have changed their lives indelibly and have been carried with heavy hearts for decades.

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About omasvoice

Who am I? I am you. I am everyone out there who loves to read and discuss and voice an opinion!
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4 Responses to Letters From Skye, Jessica Brockmole

  1. JoAnn says:

    Loved this book. It is much lighter than what you usually read!

    • omasvoice says:

      I know, I am getting tired of the “heavy” stuff. Sometimes I have to read something I like, lol!

      • Joann Kirk says:

        Do you read the heavy stuff because you get copies of the books to review? I used to do that but it made reading seem like work….

      • omasvoice says:

        You hit the nail on the head. Some of the books I do feel an obligation to read. Others, I really do choose. Sometimes I really do learn something from a novel, especially historic fiction in which the characters may not be real but the background information is. I will check facts mentioned and be surprised, but lately, though, so many have the same hidden message, a political agenda, that they all seem the same to me. It seems to be a story written around their politics rather than the politics being an integral part of the story.
        Another reason is that I walk 3-5 miles everyday with my husband, depending on which state we are in, and we listen to audio books together on an itouch. I download them from the library. He prefers a lot of the non fiction books, too, so I choose a lot of books that I think will please him.
        And yes, it is beginning to seem like work. Sometimes, for that reason, I just put on the headset and listen to a book all day as I walk around the house, just to finally enjoy one! My kids say I look ridiculous with those “things” in my ears but I don’t care. The younger generation, (well, mine are not so young, lol), seems to think it is only ok to listen to phone messages or music on their devices, or even gossip, but that listening to books is for old people. Writing texts is for the young.

        On another note, I recently read The Almond Tree, by Michelle Corasanti, and my conversations with the author were very emotional and unsatisfactory. She wrote the most biased book about Israeli/Palestinian relations I have ever come across, and it frightens me because there are many people who would love to see Israel disappear. She has attracted that audience. As a novel, not based on fact, it really was an interesting and well written book, and I rated it based on that, not on the factual content since it was not non-fiction. Today, however, people get their information from inaccurate sources and soundbites, period, so her book may do great damage. I realized, after my correspondence with her, that her purpose was not to write a novel but to inspire people to believe the drivel she wrote about the “abused” Palestinians who are “freedom fighters”, not terrorists. The terrorists are the Israelis, in her opinion. Sadly, readers will believe it since most won’t check the facts in the novel and will just take it as truth. Many will simply want to believe it. It was completely false and inaccurate. Surely, Israel has committed some abuses, but, in her opinion, the Israelis basically started every war; the Jews brought the problems upon themselves by their own behavior, not the other way around.
        They took the land the UN gave them, and that was the problem! It belonged to the Arabs. In the ensuing years, she believes it wasn’t the Arabs who started the many conflicts, which resulted in the expansion of the size of the miniscule country Israel, she blames those on the Israelis. She never mentions that the Arabs rejected the two state solution, other than to say it was poorly designed. She never mentions their immediate attack and invasion. She never mentions the fact that when the Arabs controlled Jerusalem, Jews were forbidden to go to their holy sites, but now, with the Israelis in charge, all religions are given access. When the Arabs control a city, it is forbidden to Jews. But the Jews, in her opinion are the problem. Well, I am Jewish, so perhaps I have some bias, but who will take the time to find out the true facts, to find out that the Israelis were reacting to Arab instigation, not the other way around.
        She asked me to listen to some interviews and to read some statements made by Jews in Israel. In the interest of being fair and wanting to learn about the other side, I did. When the speaker sympathized with the suicide bombers while condemning the Jewish soldiers as terrorists, i.e. the bomber in jail was not the terrorist, but the soldier defending Israel was, she lost me and disgusted me further. That was a book I wish I had never read because it won’t leave me.

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