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.