Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Tour and Review: Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris

Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris
Publish Date: March 1, 2011
Paperback, 352 pages 
Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-0758246844

My Review:
Why I read this: After reading several books based around World War II, I am fascinated by the era.  Add in romance and the stories of three roommates and I was intrigued.

My thoughts:  The first thing I have to say about this book is the fact that it really felt like I was in the 1940s in the midst of WWII.  Ms. McMorris does a fabulous job of setting the tone and setting of the book.  I felt like she really did her research from the way the characters talked to the various settings, they just felt right.  No accidental usage of current slang to take me out of the moment.  The era is the book is wonderfully done.

Next is the characters.  I love Liz and Julia and Betty grew on me.  Betty seemed a little stuck on herself at first but as I read more about her I started liking her more and more.  Liz seems to be the star of this book while still having storylines involving Julia and Betty.  I am in hopes that more books will follow and will tell the continuing stories of Julia and Betty.  In this book Liz is engaged, but then she meets Morgan the night before he heads off to serve in the war.  Then she sees him with Betty and gives up on the feelings she felt.  Then the curveball is thrown when  Betty asks Liz to write to Morgan for her since she doesn't know what to say.  A relationship grows through the letters and leads to the main storyline of the book.

I found the letters fascinating and a wonderful way to get to know the characters.  The letters are interspersed with accounts from each of the characters lives and it's a great way to get to know all the main players in the book and also to see life on the home front and on the front lines.  The focus is on the characters though and how they grow and change during the book because of the way they affect one another.

The book is beautifully written and completely captivating.  I hated putting it down to do other things and was anxious to pick it back up.  I could read it in a busy room with no problem, that was how engrossed I would become in the book.  The romance is sweet, the end is great, the tension building is wonderfully done and I just can't gush enough about this book.  This is Ms. McMorris' debut and I can't wait to see what she writes next.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

About Kristina McMorris

Kristina McMorrisKristina McMorris lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Her foray into fiction began in the fall of 2006 as a result of interviewing her grandmother for the biographical section of a self-published cookbook intended as a holiday gift for the family. Inspired by her grandparents’ wartime courtship, Kristina penned her first novel, a WWII love story titled Letters from Home. This award-winning debut is scheduled for release in trade paperback from Kensington Books (2-22-11; U.S.) and Avon/HarperCollins (5-5-11; U.K.). The condensed book rights have been sold to Reader’s Digest, and the film rights are represented by the prestigious Creative Artists Agency of Los Angeles.
Prior to her literary career, Kristina acted in numerous independent films and major motion pictures. She began hosting an Emmy-award winning television show at age nine, and most recently served as the six-year host of the WB’s weekly program Weddings Portland Style. Adding to her diverse résumé, McMorris is a professional emcee, literary workshop presenter, and former owner of a wedding/event planning business. Her previous writing background includes being a contributing writer for Portland Bride & Groom magazine and ten years of directing public relations for an international conglomerate. A portion of Kristina’s sales proceeds from Letters from Home will benefit United Through Reading®, a nonprofit organization that video records deployed U.S. military personnel reading bedtime stories for their children. She is currently working on her next novel.
You can visit her website at

About Letters From Home

Letters From HomeIn the midst of World War II, a Midwestern infantryman falls deeply in love through a yearlong letter exchange, unaware that the girl he’s writing to is not the one replying. Woven around this tenuous thread are three female friends whose journeys toward independence take unexpected turns as a result of romance, tragedy, and deception, their repercussions heightened by an era of the unknown.
Inspired by a true account, LETTERS FROM HOME is a story of hope and connection, of sacrifices made in love and war – and the chance encounters that change us forever.


Read the Excerpt!

July 4, 1944
Chicago, Illinois Silence in the idling Cadillac grew as suffocating as the city’s humidity. Hands clenched on her lap, Liz Stephens averted her narrowed eyes toward the open passenger window. Chattering ladies and servicemen flocked by in the shadows; up and down they traveled over the concrete accordion of entrance steps. The sting of laughter and music drifted through the swinging glass doors, bounced off the colorless sky. Another holiday without gunpowder for celebration. No boom of metallic streamers, no sunbursts awakening the night. Only the fading memory of a simpler time.
A time when Liz knew whom she could trust.
“You know the Rotary doesn’t invite just anyone to speak,” Dalton Harris said finally. The same argument, same lack of apology in his voice. “What was I supposed to do? Tell my father I couldn’t be there because of some dance?”
At the condescension, she snapped her gaze to his slate gray eyes. “That,” she said, “is exactly what you should’ve done.”
“Honey. You’re being unreasonable.”
“So it’s unreasonable wanting us to spend time together?”
“That’s not what I meant.” A scratch to the back of his neck punctuated his frustration, a habit that had lost the amusing charm it held when they were kids. Long before the expensive suits, the perfect ties, the Vitalis-slickening of his dark brown hair.
“Listen.” His square jaw slackened as he angled toward her, a debater shifting his approach. “When I was asked to run my dad’s campaign, we talked about this. I warned you my schedule would be crazy until the election. And you were the one who said I should do it, that between classes and work, you’d be -”
“As busy as ever,” she finished sharply. “Yes. I know what I said.” With Dalton in law school and she a sophomore at Northwestern, leading independent but complementary lives was nothing new; in fact, that had always been among the strengths of their relationship. Which is why he should know their separate activities weren’t the issue tonight.
“Then what’s the problem?” he pressed.
“The problem is, anything else pops up, campaign or otherwise, and you don’t think twice about canceling on me.”
“I am not canceling. I’m asking you to come with me.”
Liz had attended enough political fundraisers with him to know that whispers behind plastered smiles and greedy glad-handing would be highlights of the night. A night she could do without, even if not for her prior commitment.
“I already told you,” she said, “I promised the girls weeks ago I’d be here.” The main reason she’d agreed, given her condensed workload from summer school, was to repay Betty for accompanying her to that droning version of Henry V last week – just so Dalton’s ticket hadn’t gone to waste. “Why can’t you make an exception? Just this once?”
He dropped back in his seat, drew out a sigh. “Lizzy, it’s just a dance.”
No, it’s not. It’s more than that. I have to know I can depend on you! Her throat fastened around her retort. Explosions of words, she knew all too well, could bring irreversible consequences.
She grabbed the door handle. “I have to go.” Before he could exit and circle around to open her side, she let herself out.
“Wait,” he called out as she shut the door. “Sweetheart, hold on.”
The plea in his voice tugged at her like strings, halting her. Could it be that he’d changed his mind? That he was still the same guy she could count on?
She slid her hand into the pocket of her ivory wraparound dress, a shred of hope cupped in her palm, before pivoting to face him.
Dalton leaned across the seat toward her. “We’ll talk about this later, all right?”
Disappointment throbbed inside, a recurrent bruise. Bridling her reaction, she replied with a nod, fully aware her agreement would translate into a truce.
“Have a good time,” he said, then gripped the steering wheel and drove away.
As she turned for the stairs, she pulled her hand from her pocket, and discovered she’d been holding but a stray thread. The first sign of a seam unraveling.

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FTC Information: I received this book through Pump Up Your Book Online Publicity Tours for a honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.