Readers often tell me they’d like to see more fiction set during World War II, so I like to highlight novels featuring this dramatic period in history. I e-met Kristina McMorris through a mutual writing friend, and we’ve enjoyed sharing research tidbits. I was thrilled at the chance to read her debut novel, Letters from Home, which released this month.
In Letters from Home, literature student Liz Stephens meets Private Morgan McClain at a USO dance. Although she senses a connection and attraction to Morgan, she believes he’s interested in her perky roommate, Betty. Besides, Liz is practically engaged to her childhood sweetheart. When Betty, who is not particularly articulate, begs Liz to write a letter to Morgan for her, Liz reluctantly agrees, not knowing that the correspondence between Morgan and “Betty” will change both of their lives.
The novel follows Morgan through Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, Liz as she balances her father’s expectations with her own dreams, Liz’s roommate Julia as she juggles dual dreams of a career in fashion design and a home with her sailor fiance after the war, and Betty as she joins the Women’s Army Corps and finds herself a hospital attendant in the jungles of New Guinea.
McMorris has written a romantic novel with compelling characters. The writing is lovely and the research is meticulous. I was completely drawn in to each of the subplots.
Warning for my more sensitive readers: there are quite a few cuss words, especially among the military men, and two steamy scenes on a “PG-13” level. However, there is a hopeful spirit rare in mainstream literature, and the characters actually pray!
I highly recommend this novel if you love to lose yourself in this time period, and I’m looking forward to McMorris’s next book, also set during World War II.