BLURB: “Elspeth is fond of saying to her daughter that ‘the first volume of my life is out of print’. But when a bomb hits an Edinburgh street and Margaret finds her mother crouched in the ruins of her bedroom pulling armfuls of yellow letters onto her lap, the past Elspeth has kept so carefully locked away is out in the open. The next day, Elspeth disappears. Left alone with the letters, Margaret discovers a mother she never knew existed; a poet living on the Isle of Skye who in 1912 answered a fan letter from a mysterious young man in Illinois. Without having to worry about appearances or expectations, Elspeth and Davey confess their dreams and their worries, things they’ve never told another soul. Even without meeting, they know one another.”
REVIEW: This epistolary novel spans both the First- and Second- World Wars, and takes us on a journey of romance and discovery as we flit between the two wars through the use of Elspeth and Davey’s letters during the First World War, and through Margaret’s letters during the Second. Elspeth and Davey’s story begins with a fan letter, written by Davey, praising the beautiful poetry Elspeth right; and this becomes a deep connection between the two of them, leading to a deep love and understanding as well as passion, longing and hope for the future – despite the fact that Elspeth is already married and the two live on different continents. Margaret’s story, however, begins upon her finding Elspeth with a pile of letters, after quizzing her mother about her father, whom she has never known. When Elspeth runs away with the letters, Margaret begins a desperate attempt, through her own letter-writing, to contact those who might be able to find Elspeth – and help her find out more about the mysterious American from the letters. Margaret’s letters are also punctuated by her updates of events to her fiance Paul, who is off fighting in the war, and the two become caught up in Elspeth and David’s love story. I do not want to ruin the ending of this delightful book which is romantic, easy to read and often bittersweet, but I will say that I thoroughly recommend it as a light read with a heartwarming message.