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Letters from Skye

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  14,327 ratings  ·  2,513 reviews
A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.
March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle o
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Ballantine Books
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  14,327 ratings  ·  2,513 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I thought this would be a lot better than it was. It's just one step above your standard WWII romance novel, not particularly deep or insightful. And adultery just isn't romantic to me, no matter how you package it. I read half and skimmed the rest.

Kim (in the comment thread) had a good suggestion: Forget this novel; just look at pictures of Skye instead:

Much better, I promise.
This was an unusual book. It took a little while to get into it and I found it to be a book which I didn't just read straight through. I would move on a little and quite enjoy pondering on the thoughts and feelings of the people involved in it. A quote on the book said..."Words on the page can drench the soul" and after reading I quite agree with parts of this book. The mention of the Isle of Skye first drew me to it as I have always wanted to visit there. I do believe that often with a friendsh ...more
Katherine Gypson
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Letters from Skye is a sweet and simple book that ultimately disappointed me because the author seemed to believe that the cliched plot twists and insubstantial characters and setting could be saved by a charming concept.

I love the idea of a novel told in letters or diaries and just last week read and reviewed a great example of this type of novel - Margaret Forster's Diary of an Ordinary Woman. But to make that kind of novel succeed you have to have a strong narrative voice, a sense of a real
I loved everything about this audio book. Loved, loved, loved.

At first I was worried I wouldn't understand the Scottish speakers, but it was no problem and simply lovely. It had a perfect calming effect on my currently frazzled nerves. World Wars one and two provide a background, but the growing love between a Scottish poet on the Isle of Skye and her American fan from Illinois, told in letters, is front and center.

Did I say I loved this?
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love an epistolary novel! It feels like I'm reading through the commentary of a relationship. The inner voyeur in me just a good mystery steeped in letters.

Elspeth Dunn is a poet living on the Isle of Skye when she receives a letter from a fan- David Graham from Urbana, IL. What's happens next is alternating timelines between WWI & WWII, men going to war, lyrical poems written, and secrets.

I found the back and forth created a tension that I appreciated, and made for a super quick read. I stru
I loved this beautiful, gentle love story spanning WWI and WW2.It all starts when Elspeth Dunn, a 24y old published poet living on Skye receives a fan letter from an American college boy, David Graham. She is so surprised she writes back and they establish a friendship by letter gradually flowering into a romance. However, there are complications. Elspeth is recently married to her childhood friend and her husband soon enlists to fight in WWI. The story is told not only through the letters of El ...more
Dale Harcombe
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
After the topic of depression and suicide in my last read I needed something lighter. This is unashamedly a love story. Elspeth, a published poet, receives a fan letter one day in 1912 that leads into correspondences with a young man that encompasses World War 1. Yes, you can see where it is heading from the start and that romance will develop, but it is about the letters and the journey that is the key, because this romance is not as simple as it first appears.
There are other letters in the na
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Some of the books and movies I love pull back the veil and reveal me to be a hopeless romantic, and this is going to be one of them. I sat and read this cover to cover without a break, except for when the emotions got too intense and I flipped over to check my e-mail. The entire book, set during both world wars, is written in letters. During the first world war, the letters are between a female poet living on the Isle of Skye and a slightly younger male fan of her work. The second world war lett ...more
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, 2021
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, a love story between a poet from the isle of Skye and a young man from Urbana, Illinois told in letters. There’s two timelines, the first from 1912-1917 and the second mostly 1940. The early part of the book when they begin their correspondence is sweet and as the story progresses I thought it was headed for major tragedy but it pulls back from that and the ending is possibly a more predictable one that felt just a little anticlimactic for me. But it’s a lovely read ...more
Diane S ☔
Jan 08, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a quick book to read and it was a nice book. Switches between 1912 and 1940, but this is not mainly a historical novel per say, though it does touch on the war, the ambulance drivers and the aircraft, it is without doubt a love story. Wished the letters would have included more information about the Isle of Skye because I felt that this novel lacked depth. When I first started there were times when I was bored and wished they would hurry up and write something half-way interesting. I gu ...more
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Elspeth is fond of saying to her daughter that 'the first volume of my life is out of print'. But when a bomb hits Edinburgh street and Margaret finds her mother crouched in the ruins of her bedroom pulling armfuls of yellowed letters onto her lap, the past Elspeth has kept so carefully locked away is now exposed and out in the open. The next day, Elspeth disappears.

I really enjoyed reading this novel, the format of reading the lives through letters and no actual narration as such was delightfu
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book with which to start the new year! I would recommend this to all fans of historical fiction with a dash of romance and a hint of mystery.

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Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Setting: 1912 & 1940 Western Europe
4 1/2 stars for this reader

Elspeth Dunn, a young poet on Scotland's Isle of Skye,is thrilled to receive her first fan letter from an American college student David Graham. Feeling lonely in her faltering marriage, Elspeth replies and the two strike up a correspondence that turns into a friendship and eventually a deep love. But when David becomes an ambulance driver during the Great War,and Elspeth's husband goes missing in battle, their love is put to the ulti
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Dear Future Reader,
Letters from Skye came to me as an advanced reader’s copy by way of First Reads via Good Reads. I am grateful to have had this opportunity.
Davey and Sue’s love story told through letters is wonderfully voyeuristic. Not as epic as Tristan & Isolde or Romeo & Juliet, non-the-less enduring and addicting. While another reviewer found the detail in the letters held too much detail, I fully believe and imagine friends, then lovers writing to one another in the way done by Jessica B
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
The last 'epistolary novel' I read was the truly wonderful The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, one of my favourite books of all time. So I went into Letters from Skye, another story told entirely in letters, with the bar set extremely high.

Letters from Skye is Jessica Brockmole's first novel. It contains two threads: the World War I story of Elspeth Dunn, a poet living on Skye, and Davey, the American college student who sends her a fan letter
Emily Crowe
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
The last 50 or so pages would earn the book an extra half-star, I should say.

I read this book because it was pitched to me as a good companion to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: epistolary novel, wartime secrets, crossing the generations, a remote island setting. On the surface, it's an apt comparison. But where Guernsey is a charming and old-fashioned story, Letters from Skye feels rushed and largely unbelievable. More to the point, the language in the letters, particularly
Jessica Brockmole’s debut novel, Letters from Skye, was a fascinating read! She easily captures the essence of bygone days as well as the beautiful craft of letter writing with her distinctive prose. Her words manipulate your emotions and beginning with the first letter this reader became a prisoner of her pen.

This impressive debut gives an unforgettable love story all told through letters. Spanning two generations, two continents as well as two World Wars, Brockmole expertly brings to life a r
Diane Barnes
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you want to read a great love story filled with wonderful fleshed out characters, beautiful locations, history and lots of surprises, get yourself a copy of this book. ChickLit, yes, undoubtably. But really really GOOD ChickLit. Never trite or predictable.
I read this book in almost one sitting because I just had to read one more letter, then just one more, then......and so forth til the end. The technique of telling the story through the letters between Davey and "Sue" worked so well here. Le
Angela M
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cgca-2013-14
A beautiful love story comprised of letters . In this day of texts and tweets , it was wonderful to learn about these people solely through their letters. I had forgotten what it was like to write or receive one of those letters that told it all . While the ending was somewhat predictable, I loved it none the less.
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It made my week and I loved every minute reading through every letter.
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is akin to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society in that letters tell the story. Jumping between the two World Wars, 1912 and 1940, love letters sent between star crossed lovers in WWI, are found by their daughter in adulthood.
Historically the wars have a place as the catalyst in the relationships, and the details as seen by one actually in WWI and the other living through the bombings of Great Britain are dramatic. But the focus is really the love of David and Elspeth and la
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I remember that, when I was a very small child, my godmother used to travel from her home in Plymouth to the Isle of Skye for her summer holidays every year. And I remember telling her that it was a very, very long way, and her telling me that it was worth it, because there was something magical about Skye.

Maybe it was that memory that drew me towards this book. I’d like to think so, because I think that there is something of that same magic that my godmother found between these pages.

This a sto
This one, for me, was puketastic, and gag-me unrealistic. The author is a woman, and writes men just like women. I have never met or even heard of a man who would behave like David. And thank God, because no one would be able to stomach him.

Just predictable and syrupy sweet. The saving grace is it was a very fast read. Mostly, I listened to the audio, and the narrators definitely contributed to the sickening sweetness. It was all I could do not to vomit onto the pages at times. I don't advise e
Colleen Turner
I reviewed this book for

In March 1912, an American college student named David Graham writes a fan letter to a Scottish poet living in Skye named Elspeth Dunn. As their correspondence continues over the next five years a tender yet persistent love grows. Through their letters they confess all: that David feels like a failure and adrift in a world that he doesn’t quite fit into; that Elspeth is married yet extremely lonely on her loved yet isolated island. They push each ot
Letters from Skye is in a format not often utilized by writers, an epistolary form. There's a good reason that this format isn't overused. It might seem that a whole novel consisting of letters would be easily produced, but to do it well and give a complete story is a work of superb creativity. There are no opportunities to fill in about events or other characters or settings. It must all be achieved in the correspondence, the back and forth between just a few major players. In this particularly ...more
Mar 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I wasn't sure a story told through letters would work for me, but reading Jessica Brockmole's Letters from Skye made me realize I get a perverse sense of joy reading other people's mail. Granted we're talking fictional characters so it isn't a crime or anything, but even so. That's not wrong is it?

All joking aside, I was both pleased and disappointed with this piece. See, I'd picked it up hoping for a wartime romance, but w
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
This book is what I call a "comfort read". It is a love story written in letters and I could not put it down.

Quote from the book I liked "a book is like a garden carried in the pocket."

I truly enjoyed this.

Isle of Skye, in 1912: the young author Elspeth Dunn gets her first fan letter from the roguish American, called David Graham. The two immediately became fast pen friends, getting into deep conversations about their lives and the world in general. A while later, they're falling in love with each other.

Isle of Skye, in 1940: Margaret, the daughter of Elspeth, finds a letter by accident. The intimated written letter was directed to a woman, called Sue, addressee of the writing is David Graham. Mar
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I put this book on my wishlist the minute I found out about it. It promised everything I love in a novel: two stories from two different times that come together in the end, a bit of England, historical fiction and a touch of romance. I was so happy to win a review copy from Goodreads, and I started it the minute it arrived at my house.

I had forgotten that the whole book is written as a series of letters, and when I first started I was a bit apprehensive. Would that epistolary style distract me
From Random House UK, Cornerstone, Hutchinson; many thanks. This ebook has 187 pages.

Dedication: My breath
my light
the one my heart flies toward.


From the front of the book: Played out across oceans in peacetime and wartime but most of all in paper and ink, Letters from Skye is about the transformative power of a letter - the letter that shouldn't have been sent, the letter that is never sent and the letter the reader will keep forever.

After a wartime bomb in Edinburgh, and Elspeth's nextday
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I have been enamored with historical fiction since I was old enough to sit still for bedtime readings of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Now, I write stories of my own (and am much better at sitting still). I am the author of LETTERS FROM SKYE, a novel of love, family, and the letters holding both together, and AT THE EDGE OF SUMMER, set in WWI France, and the upcoming WOMAN ENTERS LEFT. I also ha ...more

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