- Title: Letters from Skye
- Author: Jessica Brockmole
- Genre: Historical Fiction; Epistolary
- Published: July 2013 – Ballantine Books
- Source: Publisher
Synopsis: March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.
June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago. (publisher)
My take: When a poet living on the Isle of Skye receives a letter from a fan in the US neither has a clue to what has begun – a friendship that will become much more. Letters from Skye is an epistolary novel about Scottish poet Elspeth Dunn and American David Graham. She’s in her mid-twenties and married and he’s a few years younger – still in college. But they are on equal ground in most other things. Their letters begin during WWI before the US enters the war. Elspeth’s husband soon enlists and leaves for the front. David and Elspeth continue to correspond sharing their secrets, hopes, and dreams.
I loved reading their letters that told everything from the goings on of their everyday lives to life-changing world events. Woven into the book are letters from Elspeth’s daughter Margaret (a young woman in her twenties) to her sweetheart Paul a (WWII) RAF pilot. So the eras have changed but some of the circumstances have not. The reason for the inclusion of their letters becomes clear as the novel progresses.
This is a very romantic novel – not romance in the modern sense (although there is that as well) but rather mostly in tone. There’s such longing in the letters. That longing was heightened by the lack of immediacy that comes from waiting weeks for another letter. For me that added to the enjoyment. I won’t say more about the novel because I think readers should find out what happens on their own.
If you like epistolary novels and this era I think you’ll like Letters from Skye. Highly recommended.
Note: A few pages in I decided to purchase the audiobook. I listened while I followed along with the print edition. If you like audiobooks I highly recommend you experience Letters from Skye that way. The narrators’ wonderful performances increased my enjoyment of the novel even more!
- Title: Letters from Skye: a novel
- Author: Jessica Brockmole
- Narrators: Elle Newlands, Katy Townsend, Lincoln Hoppe
- Published: July 2013 – Random House Audio
15 thoughts on “Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole”
This one I really want to read 😀
I’ll have to be happy with the book whenever I get it.
I thought this audio was terrific too. I could listen to those accents all day long.
I know I’ll like this one I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I have it in print but now I’m wondering if audio would be better.
Hmmm … I echo what Leslie said. I have it in print but maybe I should go ahead and get the audio.
Happy Tuesday, Mary!
Either way it’s a wonderful novel, Beth! I loved hearing the Scottish accents 🙂
Oh you make it sound splendid.
I know I have this one in my TBR list. Looks like I should move it up!
I’m glad you loved this book, too. I think it would be a great book to listen to and read at the same time.
This book is already on my wishlist and sounds like a fantastic debut novel. I have read a couple of epistolary books in the past and quite enjoy the format, I find it an excellent compromise between a traditional novel and poetry.
I am pleased that you enjoyed it so, and that you worked so hard at not giving away any spoilers in your review.
Thanks for sharing,
Eek your audio recommendations are killing my budget lol. I know I’ll love this one!
I love the romantic feel you gave to this one. Not my usual era but I think I might like this. Thanks for the recommendation.
[…] Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole […]
This was an ok read for me. I loved it because of the setting in The Isle of Skye.
THANKS for your review.
I loved this book as well. It’s one of my favorites this year and I loved the audio.
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