Publisher: Kensington Books
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Source of my copy: borrowed
Synopsis (from author's website)
In love and war, nothing is as it seems...
Chicago, 1944. Liz Stephens has little interest in attending a USO club dance with her friends Betty and Julia. She doesn't need a flirtation with a lonely serviceman when she's set to marry her childhood sweetheart. Yet something happens the moment Liz glimpses Morgan McClain. They share only a brief conversation - cut short by the soldier's evident interest in Betty - but Liz can't forget him. Thus, when Betty asks her to ghostwrite a letter to Morgan, stationed overseas, Liz reluctantly agrees.
Thousands of miles away, Morgan struggles to adjust to the brutality of war. His letters from "Betty" are a comfort, their soul-baring correspondence a revelation to them both. While Liz is torn by her feelings for a man who doesn't know her true identity, Betty and Julia each become immersed in their own romantic entanglements. And as the war draws to a close, all three will face heart-wrenching choices, painful losses, and the bittersweet joy of new beginnings.
I was excited to read this book because I thoroughly enjoyed (and cried when reading) McMorris' sophomore novel Bridge of Scarlet Leaves. Like Bridge, Letters from Home is also set in the middle WWII but it begins with a new recruit Morgan McClain meeting Liz Stephens in a USO club dance. They instantly connected, but with Morgan being shipped out (and found dancing with Betty, Liz's friend) and with Liz currently with her childhood sweetheart, they parted believing they would never see each other again. However, as fate would have it, they were in contact again with Liz writing letters to Morgan under Betty's name while he is out fighting in Europe.
This book truly exemplifies what it means to fall in love at first sight: an instantaneous connection and electricity between two people. Even though almost every love story I've read begins with love at first sight, few books describe the experience as beautiful as McMorris did. On the other hand, this book isn't just the story of Liz and Morgan. It also told the story of Liz's best friends - Betty and Julia - who each have their own unique love stories.
The only thing I didn't like about the book was the poor ending. After building up such a colorful story, the ending seemed rushed and incomplete. Julia and Betty didn't really have a proper resolution in their stories after all that had happened to them in the book. On the other hand, Liz and Morgan's first meeting fell flat of the anticipation that I felt in the book for their meeting. I don't mind if she extends the book to however many pages she needs, I just want a proper ending for these characters.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. McMorris is such a vivid writer. The way she writes is so picturesque that I had hard time writing this review because it's hard to describe the details and color she brings to her stories. So, I hope that this review encourages you to read Letters from Home and her book, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, despite my very minor issues I mentioned.