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Letters From Home Paperback – March 1, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This sweeping debut novel, told through letters and alternating points of view, is ambitious and compelling. During the turmoil of WWII, three Chicago roommates discover that matters of the heart cannot be controlled or planned. Betty Cordell hopes to avoid her mother's mistakes by marrying well. Julia Renard rejects a prestigious fashion internship in order to be waiting for her fiancé when he comes home from the war. Liz Stephens begins to question her future as a professor and a politician's wife as she corresponds with a soldier who thinks she's Betty. Deft description and solid research take readers to the trenches in Europe, a field hospital in Dutch New Guinea, and the glittering lights of Chicago society. Though McMorris's flowery prose sometimes teeters on the edge of hokey, this novel will appeal to historical fiction fans hungry for a romance of the "Greatest Generation." (Mar.)
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From Booklist

During WWII, three young women living together in Evanston, Illinois, are changed forever. Liz and Julie attend Northwestern University, and Betty works as a waitress and sings for the USO. While watching Betty perform, Liz meets Morgan McClain, who is on his way to the front. Having a boyfriend does not diminish the connection she feels with Morgan, until she sees him dancing with Betty. Without saying good-bye, she leaves the dance. Days later, Betty asks Liz to pen a letter to Morgan as a favor, and she reluctantly agrees. Through their correspondence, Liz becomes more attached to Morgan, even though she is still using Betty�s name and now is engaged. Betty joins the WACs and is shipped to New Guinea. Julie is the one who has few doubts about life after the war with her fianc�. McMorris gives readers a poignant and resonant �Greatest Generation� story of love and loss during wartime. --Patty Engelmann

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; 1 edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758246846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758246844
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Set during World War II, from Chicago to the battles waging in Europe, from a USO club to a military field hospital, Kristina McMorris has created a moving story in LETTERS FROM HOME. This narrative was inspired by the true love story of her own grandparents' romance and how their correspondence during the war resulted in their eventual loving union. Revolving around three female characters, LETTERS FROM HOME will grab you from the first page and not let you go until you have finished by looking at the wonderful "war time" recipes McMorris has included in the back of the book.

Liz Stephens, Betty Cordell, and Julia Renard were roommates in Chicago back in 1944. Each with a different goal in mind, the story follows these women as their lives entwine and they strive to reach those goals. Along the way, they find that no matter what they planned, life happens and some of their journeys end in a much different place than originally intended. Liz starts out fully expecting to marry Dalton Harris, a friend since they were children who is now a young, local politician. Betty is set on marrying a man of means, unlike her mother, while Julia's dream is heading in the right direction now with a chance to intern for a very famous fashion design team. However, Julia is also engaged to Christian Downing, who is already overseas and while she waits for his return, knowing decisions will need to be made, his brother Ian returns from war, a changed man. Julia feels sorry for him but before she realizes it, those feelings begin to change to something more intense.

Enter the rest of the male characters with Morgan McClain, who with his brother Charlie, is enjoying a last hurrah at the Chicago USO Club before shipping out.
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Format: Paperback
There comes a time when we each must weigh our obligations and values against our heart's true yearning. For Liz, Julia, and Betty that time is 1944, and the world is at war.

Letters From Home takes us on a journey of the heart. A seamlessly woven timeline reveals the story of three young women struggling with their choices in love and personal expression. Will Julia abandon her heart's calling to marry her soldier? Will Betty overcome her self-judgments and rise to become something more? Will Liz marry her up and coming political beau or lose herself in a romance built on letters from a soldier she barely knows? Through lessons of choice and consequence our friends learn about trust, honesty, obligation, self-worth and sacrifice.

This book does have some heart wrenching scenes in the war trenches and the army hospital; although not graphic in nature they will stir up emotions for anyone who has lost a loved one in war. The romance is light and innocent. This is a good story to share and to open conversations.

Deftly written and rich with detail this story stirs the senses. McMorris tells a tale which will linger in your mind long after closing the cover.
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Format: Paperback
Author Kristina McMorris has a lovely concept in LETTERS FROM HOME, which she explains in her notes at the end of the novel.

Inspired by her grandparents' marriage, she has crafted a novel about three young American women during World War II, waiting out the War back in the States.

Two of the women are engaged to be married, while a third is hoping for success as a singer.

The story is structured around their lives as they wait for the War to end, wait for letters from their beaus in the military and, ultimately, deal with information that arrives in the mail.

All of this is wonderful and the book is easy to read.

The prose, however, falls flat, both the writing itself and the characterizations. The three heroines and their men never quite become real.

Nonetheless, author McMorris has done amazing research on the Pacific Theatre and its unique hardships, which often is overlooked in reports about World War II.

All in all, LETTERS FROM HOME is a lovely concept and worth the time spent reading it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
4.5 stars and favorite ★♥

I was surprised at how much I liked this. The beginning was a little slow. But once I got the feel of the 4 characters giving their points of view, it went faster. I really liked all the characters too. Morgan was my favorite.

This is a realistic historical fiction set in 1944. It focuses on Liz, Betty, Julia, and Morgan. It shows the realities they faded during the war. And this did have some romance too. And a little bit of a hint of some sex scenes. But it was all done tastefully and keeping with the characters and the story.

I really liked this book. And I'm looking forward to trying some more by this author.

"Please forgive me, Morgan pleaded, eyes raised upward. It was then, in the numbing silence, when he finally dared wonder: Were prayers of murderers, when fighting on the “right side” of the war, ever heard— let alone answered?
- Morgan


“I’m heading out, girls. Either one of you want to join me and Dot for a triple feature? The Tivoli’s playing Cover Girl again.”

Ah, yes. Hollywood’s cure-all for the perpetually glum. A perfect example of why talkies weren’t always better than the silent pictures. At least in Casablanca the tragic ending was scripted out of realism, and the stars didn’t belt out lines in melodramatic show tunes.

From: Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris
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