Monday, July 14, 2014

Got Mail?

"I've made a friend through paper and pens and envelopes and postage. 
A true friend!"

I love epistolary fiction. There's something about handwritten letters and the conversations you can have when you put pen to paper, seal it in an envelope, and send it off with a stamp. I'll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan is a lovely and heartwarming epistolary novel set during World War II.

Glory and Rita, the two correspondents, couldn't be more different: Glory is a young bride with two small children living in Rockport, Massachusetts; her husband, Robert, is serving somewhere in Europe. When she gets lonely, she turns to her childhood friend, Levi, and to Rita.

Rita is in her forties and lives in Iowa City, Iowa. Her worries and fears are on two fronts because both her husband, Sal, and her son, Toby, are overseas; Sal is a medic in North Africa and Toby is somewhere in the Pacific. How can they both survive?

Through their letters, Glory and Rita become more than friends. They support and encourage one another, share stories and recipes, and help each other to hold on to hope when all seems hopeless.
"Loneliness is built into the fabric of this war, isn't it? When it gets bad I say a little prayer before I stick my hand in the mailbox, hoping against hope for something glorious. The 'Rockport, Massachusetts' stamp on the front of an envelope means the clouds will part, revealing a brilliant sun. The funny thing is, I don't really need the letters anymore to talk to you--we have whole conversations in my head. Do you hear me there by the sea? Someday after this crazy war is over, we will meet. I look forward to that day..."

Such beautiful writing! Such beautiful letters! The friendship between these two women made me laugh, and cry. It also made me want to open my mailbox and find a letter from Rita or Glory inside addressed to me. The most amazing thing of all about this book? The two authors have never met. They wrote this enitre book through email, one writing Rita's letters, one Glory's. Which makes this a true epistolary novel! I hope they write many more.

Happy Reading!

10 comments:

  1. This sounds so wonderful! I'll have to search it out, as I also love epistolary fiction, as you know :)

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    1. I thought of you when I picked this book up and wondered if you'd read it yet. I hope you can find a copy to read!

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  2. What a perfect (and really cool) way to write an epistolary story! This sounds like a really lovely read.

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    1. It is...and it's such a great friendship between these two women. It leaves you smiling through your tears.

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  3. Just checked this one out of the library and am looking forward to starting it. So interesting that the authors never met. What a great way to write this type of novel. Thanks for your review!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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  4. Have you read The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society? That was one of my favorite epistolary novels, which your post reminded me of a bit. Thanks for visiting me today.

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    1. I have read it. Like you, it's one of my favorite epistolary novels, too. This one is good, but not quite as good as that one.

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  5. I love epistolary fiction - this one will go on my list. thanks!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Thanks for stopping by.

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