Saturday, 6 October 2012

With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

Back Cover: They know everything about each other - except their real names.
     Lt. Mellie Blake is looking forward to beginning her training as a flight nurse. She is not looking forward to writing a letter to a man she's never met - even if it is anonymous and part of a morale-building program. Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an officer stationed in North Africa, welcomes the idea of an anonymous correspondence - he's been trying to escape his infamous name for years.
     As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, Tom and Mellie develop a unique friendship despite not knowing the other's true identity. When both are transferred to Algeria, the two are poised to meet face-to-face for the first time. Will they overcome their fears and reveal who they are, or will their future be held hostage by their pasts?
     Combining a flair for romance with excellent research and attention to detail, Sarah Sundin vividly brings to life the perilous challenges of WWII aviation, nursing, - and true love.

Review: I requested a copy of "With Every Letter" because the author, Sarah Sundin, shares my occupation. To be completely honest, I had never heard of her as an author, and it was my curiosity to see what kind of story a pharmacist would write that led me to read it. Perhaps I am a little biased, but I really did like this book. I couldn't sleep last night so I started it around 3 am and ended up taking it with me to work because I couldn't put it down.  Don't worry, I only read when I had no patients!

The aspect I loved most about this book was Tom and Mellie. They were so.... flawed! And real. I read a lot ... a lot ... of romance, and I get rather tired of the cookie-cutter, perfect, totally non-realistic characters. Mellie was raised in a jungle studying botany with her scientist father. Her friends growing up were animals, adults, and paper dolls. She is really odd. She says things that are true, yes, but totally socially unacceptable. She has no sense of fashion. She can't giggle or joke with the other girls, and she has no clue how to handle herself in any social situation. Mellie can not make friends - even to save her job. Tom, on the other-hand, is extremely popular - too popular, in fact. Compensating for the fact that his family has a murderous history, Tom will do and say anything to be accepted. As a ranking official, he is expected to lead his men, but while he can earn their comradeship with his stunts and easy-going manner he can't garner respect and more importantly, obedience. Hiding behind a fake facade of cheerfulness, Tom is consumed with terror over what he may possible become.

When the letter writing program is started, both Tom and Mellie reluctantly agree because of the promise of being able to stay anonymous. Both of them are just looking for someone they can be themselves with and not be judged. Almost without realizing it, the friendship turns into more and when Mellie ends up meeting Tom on the battle field, everything changes.

This was a great story and I loved the angle on how they got to know each other through the letters. I know the letter writing makes it sound like it would be a slow read, but the book was interesting and fast paced. With the backdrop of World War II the drama in this book is not just centered around Tom and Mellie. As I said, I really enjoyed this book!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group"


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