Guest Author: Kristina McMorris & Letters From Home


I’m featuring someone a bit different on the blog today, and something very cool:  author Kristina McMorris and her moving historical fiction novel, Letters From Home.

This is Kristina’s debut novel, set during World War II.  It’s the story of a lonely serviceman stationed overseas, who falls in love over the course of a year through the exchange of letters with a young woman back Stateside.  That’s the main thread of the novel, but it’s so much more than that:  it’s also the story of three young women, friends who must all face challenges and make difficult choices during a time of sweeping change and upheaval.

One of the things that fascinates me about Letters From Home is that it does take place during WW II.  The most popular historical fiction these days is usually set much earlier, often in the Elizabethan, Tudor, or Georgian periods.  Just as interesting is Kristina’s inspiration for this book.  In 2000, she began gathering hundreds of her grandmother’s favorite recipes to compile in a cookbook, which she indie published as Grandma Jean’s Rainy Day Recipes (all proceeds benefiting the Food Bank).  While gathering information for the biographical section of the cookbook, Kristina came across a letter from her grandfather to a girlfriend during his wartime naval service.  It was this letter that later served as inspiration for Letters From Home.

Kristina’s novel has received fantastic reviews and garnered significant critical acclaim.  It was a 2007 Golden Heart Finalist, and to date has won a dozen national literary awards.  The book got wonderful reviews from both Publishers Weekly and RT Book Reviews, and authors have been quick to rave about it too.  New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs called it:  “wholly original…and tender and heartfelt.”  And Jill Barnett, also a NY Times bestselling author, called the novel an “intimate, touching, and romantic story of the Greatest Generation.”

But my favorite accolade comes from Buck Compton, author and one of the famed Band of Brothers WW II veterans:  “Skillfully written…sweeps the reader away.  The research and attention to detail commendably honors veterans of WWII.”

You can read all about Kristina’s reviews and awards on her website.

Here’s the blurb for Letters From Home:

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.

Just reading the blurb makes me want to choke up!  For readers who love historical and women’s fiction, and just an all around great story, I think you’ll love Letters From Home.  To find out more about this truly lovely novel, visit Kristina’s website for more details and to read an excerpt.

And to those who stop by the blog today, Kristina has very graciously donated a copy of Letters From Home for a giveaway.  Just tell me what your favorite period of history is to study or read about.  If you’re so inclined, tell us why!  One person who comments will win the book.

47 thoughts on “Guest Author: Kristina McMorris & Letters From Home”

  1. I love to read historicals ! I struggled in History in school..but love it as an adult 🙂

    All the best with your debut novel..I am looking forward to reading it !


  2. My mom recently passed away and in cleaning out her things, we came across all of my dad’s letters [organized by date/year in several folders] to her during the Second World War – My dad’s been gone over 35 years, but none of us want to invade their privacy. However, we are keeping them… maybe someday… one of us or our kids will . At least we’re all old enough to realize that they just didn’t ‘do it’ three times to get the three of us girls!! lol!!!
    I love historical novels.. Loved the James Mitchner, Winds of War by Wouk…

  3. I am so glad you featured LETTERS FROM HOME. It caught my attention awhile back and is currently on my wishlist. I have always loved reading stories set back in history and specifically those revolving around World War II. In times of war, everything is chaos, and it is a time that brings out the worst and the best in people. People do unimaginable things to save themselves and the people they love. It is a dark period, but people don’t stop living. They live, they love and they lose. The beauty is in the light, the re-building and re-living. When I read a book, I invest emotions and care deeply for the characters and I find some of the most invoking ones are those from the World War II period. At a time when a piece of the world was losing its humanity, love was blossoming and that part should be celebrated as well.

    • I’ve had an advance copy of The Soldier’s Wife for some time now, and have been eager to dive in. Unfortunately, research texts took priority. I’m so glad you reminded me of this one, Jodi. I feel the same as you about WWII fiction!

      If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY. Amazing, amazing novel. Will haunt me for years to come.

  4. I love books set in the 50’s and 60’s. So much was going on in our country at that time and I love to read about it.

  5. I too love historicals set in any period; but admit a preference for those set in the Regency period in Britain. All that fascination with British royalty & peerage! *blush*

  6. I love history, but Celtic medieval and ancient Egyptian or Greek get me all fired up. My absolute favorite is anything Atlantis related.
    Celtic is so magical and romantic
    Egyptian/Greek is filled with mythology and mystery.
    Atlantian is shrouded with mysticism. Since there isn’t much documentation one can let their imagination roam with possibilities of what life could have been then.

  7. Oh, and Kristina’s book is absolute sweetness. I am now a WW2 history romance fan, because of Letters from Home.

  8. Wow, what a flattering blog post! Thanks so much for the generous spotlight, Vanessa. I’ve been neck-deep in copy edits for my second book all day (Fed Ex’ing tomorrow), so these lovely comments were extremely welcome. 🙂

  9. How to describe the time in history known as the 60’s. Just that ten year span covered so much writing material for authors to put into great reading. The Hippies, Viet Nam, JFK, Mini skirts, Teased hair, Leisure
    suits, Woodstock, Going to the Moon., Dr Zhivago. It’s a time I know well and love to read the stories built around that era. We all have stories that we could tell and don’t even realize it.

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