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The Pieces We Keep

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In this richly emotional novel, Kristina McMorris evokes the depth of a mother's bond with her child, and the power of personal histories to echo through generations . . .

Two years have done little to ease veterinarian Audra Hughes's grief over her husband's untimely death. Eager for a fresh start, Audra plans to leave Portland for a new job in Philadelphia. Her seven-year-old son, Jack, seems apprehensive about flying--but it's just the beginning of an anxiety that grows to consume him.

As Jack's fears continue to surface in recurring and violent nightmares, Audra hardly recognizes the introverted boy he has become. Desperate, she traces snippets of information unearthed in Jack's dreams, leading her to Sean Malloy, a struggling US Army veteran wounded in Afghanistan. Together they unravel a mystery dating back to World War II, and uncover old family secrets that still have the strength to wound--and perhaps, at last, to heal.

Intricate and beautifully written, The Pieces We Keep illuminates those moments when life asks us to reach beyond what we know and embrace what was once unthinkable. Deftly weaving together past and present, herein lies a story that is at once poignant and thought-provoking, and as unpredictable as the human heart.

"An expertly woven and richly satisfying work of historical fiction that will touch any reader who has experienced love, loss, tragedy, or the impact of family secrets."
--The Boston Globe

464 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2013

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About the author

Kristina McMorris

13 books2,234 followers
KRISTINA MCMORRIS is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of two novellas and six historical novels, including the runaway bestseller SOLD ON A MONDAY with over a million copies sold. The recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, she previously hosted weekly TV shows for Warner Bros. and an ABC affiliate, beginning at age nine with an Emmy Award-winning program, and owned a wedding-and-event-planning company until she had far surpassed her limit of "Y.M.C.A." and chicken dances. Kristina lives near Portland, Oregon, where she somehow manages to be fully deficient of a green thumb and not own a single umbrella. For more, visit www.KristinaMcMorris.com

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 562 reviews
Profile Image for Cathy.
807 reviews
December 26, 2013
Oh, this was very bad. Very bad. I downloaded this based on the rave reviews on Goodreads, and sadly, I was very disappointed. A few pages in I had to confirm that this wasn't a romance novel because it sure read like one. The kiss of death for me was coming across this line in Chapter 2: ".... necked passionately". I had to reread that .. necked passionately? And then, "she felt faint from the lavish aroma of his aftershave, ....blah, blah, blah." By then, I was laughing out loud. I tried to read more, but just couldn't abide the story of Vivian, the young American woman living in London and then England who has apparently fallen for a German spy (that's a guess but seems likely). The other main character, Audra, is more interesting but not enough to make up for the silly tone of Vivian and her pining for her boyfriend. On to find a better book.
Profile Image for Dee.
1,416 reviews
October 2, 2013
Review Copy Provided by Author

To say words have defied me once i finished reading Kristina McMorris’ latest book is an understatement. I was literally jumping with joy when it showed up in the mail but I forced myself to wait to read it on the metro the next week. And I devoured it – in fact, I realized about 20 seconds prior to the train leaving the station that I needed to get off if I wanted to make my connection…(and I totally tweeted that to Kristina). But I had to ponder my review – not because there were many negatives, but rather because I had so many strong emotions during the reading, that words can’t really describe how it made me feel. She made me laugh, she made me cry, she made me suffer from a severe book depression when I realized that it was over and I wouldn’t visit with the characters again.

While all of her previous books have been set in the past, Kristina took a different route with this story, using an alternating POV with one set in contemporary US and the other WW2 U.S. (which is the setting of her previous books). I will admit that sometimes I find this type of writing style hard to read because it doesn’t always flow well, and the voices of the POV’s sound the same. But that wasn’t the case. Both the voices of Audra (present) and Vivian (past) were unique. I think it also helped that the publisher used two different type-faces for the POV’s. So not only did they sound different, but they also looked different (to geek out a bit, it potentially got rid of the cognitive dissonance from the same format writing but different POV’s).

I could probably go on and continue gushing about the story and how it blew my mind, but I’ll save that for others. But before I close out this review, I wanted to tell a story that reading this reminded me off. When I was in high school, the Holocaust was a major subject of interest for me. In fact, if I had ever decided to pursue graduate education in history, the Holocaust probably would have been my main focus. Anyways, when I was doing my senior English project, I spent time interviewing survivors and talking about how their survival had impacted their lives. One of the survivors I had talked to, survived the Auschwitz Death Marches. In fact, the only reason he survived the initial arrival at Auschwitz was because he was wearing long pants and was put to work, the rest of his family died that day. Post war, he never really talked about his experiences until he started having nightmares several decades later. Then he talked about his experiences to his family and to others, he even started traveling and talking to school groups. When he did this, he found that his nightmares went away.

Reading The Pieces We Keep reminded me of his story and the idea of how dreams and nightmares can tell the story of our experiences, or if you believe in the idea of reincarnation, others. Gushing aside, a solid 5 stars for this book and now begins the torture of waiting for her next book (and its going to be a very long wait)…
Profile Image for Caren ~ the misfit geek.
185 reviews32 followers
December 6, 2013
I loved this book. It is lovely, poignant, and masterfully crafted. Past and present are intricately woven into a beautiful whole. It flows nicely and her writing is phenomenal. I didn’t want it to end. It has been days since I finished and the story and characters are still in my thoughts. To my thinking, that alone is worth 5 stars.

The characters and their stories are compelling and memorable. I didn’t connect with Audra immediately but as she changed and opened up, I grew very fond of her. It was Vivian’s story that truly captivated me. I found myself anxious to get back to this part of the story often but it did not take away from my enjoyment of the story as a whole. I am partial to historical fiction, after all. The link between the two stories was evident but I was surprised by the ending and that impresses me.

This is a must read book. I am so glad that I had the chance to read it. This is the first Kristina McMorris book I have read but I am now a fan. I plan to read everything this lady writes. I think it will be worth my time.
Profile Image for Pam.
547 reviews14 followers
January 2, 2014
Friends: Listen to me. Stop whatever you are doing and RUN to your closest bookstore pronto! You HAVE to read this book- it is simply stunning!

Kristina McMorris has done it again! With a style that is very unique in its richness and fluidity, the author tackles a theme I'm positive you've never read about in any other historical fiction novel! Not only do you get the romance, and war setting you expect, but TPWK delivers a huge lesson in American history that you'll be reliving long after the last page is turned. What's better than a kick- ass story line, ( yep, you heard me. This girl doesn't swear, but it was THAT GOOD!) combined with a history lesson, then the addition of melt your heart family ties on top of it all? The Pieces We Keep, that's what!

Another real perk to this book- often times, novels with dual time settings can tend to drag when reading the present times part. (I confess. I've skimmed a few times in my day.) But not this time! I devoured the present story with as much ferocity as I did the past 1940's parts. What a gift to the reader, two stories that are so completely full of life they both shine and compliment each other beautifully!

There's one thing I would change though. I wish I would not have picked this book as my first read of 2014, because let me tell you, it will be a tremendously hard act to follow. 5+++ stars!
4 reviews
August 20, 2020
This is my first Kristina McMorris novel and while I found it compelling enough to finish I’m not sure I would read more from her. I agree with other reviewers that Vivian’s love scenes were a bit overdone and cliché. I also found Audra hard to relate to because she seemed so clumsy and stupid with her words and actions. Lastly I found the whole ending to be trite and at the same time unresolved-even though the characters’ stories conveniently merge and the book had a nice happy ending, I don’t understand how Jack’s problem just went away and so much was left open-ended regarding the reincarnation theme. It’s like the author didn’t know how to resolve that so she just kind of dismissed it after making such a big deal about it in the first half of the story.

Maybe I am too pragmatic but after such an interesting war story (can’t say the same for present story) I was looking for a little more than an “everyone finds out the truth through some random third party and then everyone loves everyone and becomes BFFs and all of our problems magically go away” ending. I know it’s fiction but really???
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,112 reviews185 followers
September 18, 2013

Audra Hughes has been trying to hold on to her life after losing her husband. Their son, Jack has been having terrible nightmares and Audra is at her wits end trying to figure it why this is happening. THE PIECES WE KEEP brings the past smack right into the present with Jacks nightmares.

One day, while getting ready to fly to a job interview in Philadelphia, Jack seems very upset about having to get on the plane. Once on the plane, Jack has a major meltdown and the pilots decide to turn back and get Jack and Audra off the plane. Jack's nightmares get worse after that and while trying to calm him down Audra picks up bit and pieces of a mystery that goes way back to World War II.

THE PIECES WE KEEP alternates between the 30's and 40's and the present with each chapter. A stunning story that you can't help but getting wrapped up in. I can easily see this being made into a movie! I loved all the characters and while my heart was breaking for some of them, I was cheering them on at the same time. Kristina is one of my favorite authors and THE PIECES WE KEEP proves exactly why. I couldn't stop flipping the pages and couldn't wait until the mystery was solved. I had no idea it would end the way it did but I absolutely loved the ending. Five stars all the way! READ THIS BOOK!!!

I will be doing a full review on Fresh Fiction!
Profile Image for Therese Walsh.
Author 6 books490 followers
July 10, 2013
I had the privilege of an early read-through of The Pieces We Keep. It is a stunning book. Beautifully written, suspenseful, and extraordinarily compelling. I predict big things for this one. A must read.
Profile Image for Terri.
703 reviews20 followers
September 30, 2013
Original review posted at http://kristineandterri.blogspot.ca/

I received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was excited to request this book as I had previously read Bridge of Scarlett Leaves by McMorris and really enjoyed it

Finally! I have found that elusive 5 star book that I have been looking for. Although I have read a lot of good books of late they were missing the certain something to push it on to my 5 star shelf which remains surprisingly small. My criteria is pretty simple. If a book continues to "haunt" me after I have read the last page then it is worthy of 5 stars and this book did just that.

The story weaves itself back and forth between Audra's struggles in the present day with her son and the wartime love story of Vivian, Isaak, and Gene. Like most books of this genre I was instantly hooked on the storyline of the past and the trials and tribulations of a love impacted by war. For the first time however I was almost as equally drawn in the story of Audra in the present and her struggles to grieve and deals with her sons night terrors simultaneously.

I do not like to divulge too much of a plot so I will stick to how this story made me feel. This was a haunting love story, both in the past and the present for very different reasons, which had multiple directions in which it could go. For the first time in a long time I could not predict what would happen (for the most part) in Vivian's story and I liked that. Audra's was a little more predictable however there was an aspect of her storyline which did not offer a concrete solution which I found made her story more realistic and believable. I felt the pain and the heartache of both characters throughout the story.

At the end of the day I have to be honest with myself and admit that without doubt my favorite genre to read is historical fiction and added to that a story that occurs during wartime. I tried to venture out to other genres and have enjoyed my time in their world however none stay with me as much as books of these types do. Added to that is the incredibly easy writing style McMorris brings to the table and I was hooked from the very beginning. I will now seek out her other works as I have yet to be disappointed. I will also be purchasing the paperback copy of this novel upon its release so that I can have it for years to come. I also know a few people that will be receiving this novel as a Christmas gift from me.

Thank you Kristina McMorris for taking me away to my favorite place for a couple of hours!
Profile Image for Book Preview Review.
77 reviews79 followers
November 23, 2013
Book Description:

“Two years have done little to ease veterinarian Audra Hughes’s grief over her husband’s untimely death. Eager for a fresh start, Audra plans to leave Portland for a new job in Philadelphia. Her seven-year-old son, Jack, seems apprehensive about flying—but it’s just the beginning of an anxiety that grows to consume him.
As Jack’s fears continue to surface in recurring and violent nightmares, Audra hardly recognizes the introverted boy he has become. Desperate, she traces snippets of information unearthed in Jack’s dreams, leading her to Sean Malloy, a struggling US Army veteran wounded in Afghanistan. Together they unravel a mystery dating back to World War II, and uncover old family secrets that still have the strength to wound—and perhaps, at last, to heal .”

Oh. My. Goodness. This book is certainly going to generate a lot of buzz when it hits the shelves. Truly.

McMorris weaves a completely riveting and gripping narrative both fascinating and yet emotional. Each chapter leaves you hanging and wanting to know more. I dare you to put this book down!

While chapters alternate from present day to the past, so too does the font change. I personally found this helpful when resuming reading immediately knowing which tense and time period I was in.

You become so engrossed in the plot and the chapter would suddenly end. You think, WHAT?! WAIT…..I need more. You immediately turn the page eager to find out what happens next and you are suddenly thrown into present day. Or back to the past. For the first few sentences, you are still thinking about what just transpired. McMorris skillfully captivates you into whichever tense and you become quickly drawn into the current situation. You are continually at the end of each chapter on a sort of cliff hanger for that time period. It’s so hard to put down you want to frantically speed read ahead to that time and at the same time want to savor each. It’s everything a novel should be- climatic, powerful, tragic and healing. Can there be a happy ending?

McMorris is beyond doubt a quite gifted storyteller. She satisfies both the avid historical fiction reader as well as a contemporary women’s fiction reader. An excellent choice for any bookclub discussion. You won’t be disappointed.
Profile Image for Erika Robuck.
Author 11 books1,051 followers
December 13, 2013
I have been a long-time fan of McMorris’ popular war stories, and I was eager to read this multi-period novel set in the present day and during WWII. From the first page I was drawn into this story of family bonds, and the deep pain we feel when we are out of sync with those we love.

In the present day, Audra is a strong and struggling character, and while her obstacles are unique, the reader will identify with her complicated relationships. In the past, Vivian’s love affair with the mysterious Isaak, difficulties in her home, and the war make her happiness nearly impossible, but her passion and determination make a life she could not have imagined. Neither woman, however, can outrun her past, and the years and experiences collide in unpredictable and resonating ways.

McMorris uses language with elegance, and her prose is rich and sensory, captivating the reader and wholly immersing her in the book. Each chapter exposes new truths and ignites new questions, resulting in a fast-paced and satisfying novel of suspense. Fans of historical fiction and time-split novels will absolutely love THE PIECES WE KEEP. As much as I enjoy all of McMorris’ work, this might be my favorite.
Profile Image for Kaitlin.
127 reviews6 followers
October 18, 2013
The Pieces We Keep
By Kristina McMorris
Provided free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Available for Purchase 11/26/13

Finish Time: too long for me. I’ve been exhausted, so I don’t want my time to finish to be any sort of indicator to how this book is. It was a very enjoyable read, but the last 2 weeks, my droopy eyelids beat out wanting to read on, thus the longer time between reviews. I’m almost tempted to go back and read it (and I may) as there are so many little details that are tied up as the book go on that I feel like I may have missed some!

This book jumps back and forth between the 1940′s and present day – 2012. Throughout the book the stories mesh together, which was fun, because at the back of my mind was how are they going to tie these two stories together? But the author did and it was perfect. Not exactly a happy topic, but delivered very well. The 1940′s part was part love-story, part suspense/thriller, and a great glimpse into history (WWII/Nazi Germany time period.) Great characters. I could clearly picture Vivian, Luanne, Gene, and Isaak in my head and really felt invested in their stories. I also always enjoy when authors explain (at the end) what details were actual events or based on real people versus detail they made up (or created from facts!)

Fast forward to present day and the main characters were Audra and Jack, a recent widow and her son. Jack is dealing with a variety of issues (mainly night terrors) and my heartstrings were tugged (and almost broken) as Audra, as a mother, struggles to figure it out and keep her son safe. Through a historical mystery spurred from Jack’s dreams, a war vet, grieving in-laws, a pending job change and move, and some good friends, Audra makes her way through and it does not fall short of non-stop action and eager page-turning. You can feel her raw emotion come through the pages and really is one of the most real characters I’ve encountered in a book.

The ending uncovers many mysteries presented throughout the book and wraps everything up nicely. Even may have left it open for a sequel? I left this book feeling content and satisfied. Definitely will look for more from the author!

Historical fiction is my favorite genre to read by far, and this book does not disappoint. A great glimpse into history and even present day challenges of being a mother. I really enjoyed it – check it out if you get a chance this November!!

11 reviews1 follower
October 26, 2013
I was given an advanced reader copy of "The Pieces We Keep." I found myself instantly pulled into the story which swept along at a quick pace. McMorris simultaneously tells two different stories in two different eras, both of which are captivating.

The characters in this book are real, believable, honest, and flawed in intriguing ways. A mystery is at the root of the book, and as the characters gradually uncover the truth, they transform and develop, spurring the novel's action on.

Though the stories take place in two different eras, they are tightly connected. I marveled at the attention and focus McMorris has put into the book's creation: the end of one chapter blends perfectly with the beginning of the next, while jumping across a time difference of multiple decades. McMorris has used this technique to achieve a unity throughout the entire novel.

McMorris has once again crafted an engaging historical novel which is accurate, informative, and entertaining. It is a great read and features a wonderful ending.
Profile Image for Bookishfolk.
159 reviews56 followers
March 5, 2021
Read this for a library bookclub, but it definitely wasn’t a book for me.
Profile Image for Glenda.
786 reviews70 followers
November 3, 2013
Audra Hughes is still grieving her husband's death and feeling alone in the world when her son Jack starts exhibiting some strange behaviors. He starts having night terrors and talking about things a young boy should not not have knowledge of. Audra struggles to find answers to help her son and move on with her life.

London England 1939: Vivian and Issak fall in love but it is war time and that changes everything. Will they find the peace and love they desire or will the secrets tear them apart?

This book alternates chapters telling the story of a young mother struggling to raise her son alone and a young woman in love during World War II. Each story moves along at a good pace until they intertwine and become one. I wasn't sure at first how these two stories would come together, but they blend together for a perfect ending to the story. I loved the well-developed characters and felt especially drawn to Vivian and the characters in the past. I was surprised at the trouble Audra had with her in-laws, but it was believable and I was glad it turned out like it did. The part about Jack was a little bit troubling to me when I read it, for believing in reincarnation is a stretch for me. I appreciated the author's notes in the back. Apparently these night terrors and knowledge of a plane crash during World War II really did happen to a boy named James Leininger. The author's son also suffered from night terrors. These two things gave her the idea for her novel.
I heard Kristina speak at the Tucson Festival of Books and I know how she does her research so it was no surprise to me to find that this story was based on a real life experience. I was happy to learn a little more about a time in history that is filled with sacrifice, honor and bravery. Well done Kristina! I recommend this to all historical fiction lovers and it comes out November 26.
Profile Image for Kim Bullock.
46 reviews3 followers
October 30, 2013
The Pieces We Keep is McMorris’ third novel and, I believe, her best so far. It has the elements I loved about her previous books – WWII setting, unconventional love story, gorgeous prose, and a bittersweet conclusion. It would have been simple to stick with a formula that has proven to work in the past. Instead, McMorris challenged herself (and her readers) by taking two seemingly unrelated story lines, one present day and one from WWII, and presenting them in alternating chapters. A careful reader will soon have theories about who is haunting Jack and why, but the puzzle is so cleverly unraveled that I doubt anyone will have all the pieces in place before the end.

I imagine a lot readers will reach the end much faster than they anticipate. There is simply no good place to set the book down. Each chapter ending left me feeling as though my toes hung over a virtual cliff and that I’d be forced to look down until I found out what happened. Of course, because the chapters alternated time periods, this meant I must read through another whole chapter before I could find out. Skipping ahead was not an option.

History buffs will enjoy reading about little-known WWII tidbits such as German saboteurs in America. The romance and mystery elements should have wide appeal. Books clubs will have several controversial issues to discuss and debate.

This novel is sure to touch an especially deep nerve for parents of “old soul” children. Jack’s fear of flying reminded me of my own daughter’s fear of bridges and storms. She’s been terrified of both since toddler-hood and it’s to such a marked degree that I've wondered if she’s having some sort of premonition. I had not considered the possibility of it being a memory before, but find that theory much more comforting.

There’s something for everyone in this book. I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Hilary.
1,998 reviews47 followers
September 27, 2013
A beautifully written story of two women, one in the present and one in the past, whose lives seem inexplicably intertwined. As the story progresses, things from one life seep through to the other, enhancing the story until it becomes fully complete.

We share Vivian's emotional rollercoaster, and her uncertainty about Isaak, while Audra's story draws the past even closer, binding the two women together.

All the characters are drawn in loving detail, with real emotions, doubts, conflicts, fears and joy; I especially love the very realistic friendship that Audra and Tess share. Each has to deal with grief and loss, sometimes just from a parting and sometimes more permanent, and we see how each handles it in a different way; we learn that one way isn't better than the other, just different, and that isolation from the others who are grieving tends to be unhelpful. At the same time, each also grows to discover that real love is carefully, patiently, painstakingly built over time, that it cannot exist in a vacuum or without openness, honesty and acceptance, that it is an ongoing process and requires commitment.

The details of life are always uncertain, though loss seems inevitable, and what's important is holding on to those pieces which help us remember, to live, to love, and using them to build something new and better. So many teaching moments in this story, and yet it just flowed so naturally. I read this on my own, and savored every minute, but I can see it as a great bookclub read.

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ruth.
459 reviews26 followers
March 4, 2014
Full review :my link text
Two years ago, Audra Hughes lost her husband and is left to take care of their seven year old son, Jack. Just when they both are about to move to Philadelphia, Jack is plagued by horrible anxiety and nightmares. Audra desperately follows the snippets of clues for Jack’s nightmares and led her to Sean Malloy, a wounded US Army Veteran who served in Afghanistan. Together, they unearth a mystery that leads back to WWII. Within a love story are secrets that threaten to destroy that love and will eventually lead the lovers to commit unthinkable acts in the name of love.
I’m a total sucker for historical love stories, especially from WWII. The story opens up and it’s somewhat slow. But of course, the author quickly picks up the pace and it’s not long before I race through it and anticipating of what might happen. The author does an extraordinary job with incorporating plot twists that will leave your head spinning and totally breathless.

In the similar tradition of Tatiana De Rosnay’s “Sarah’s Key” and Pam Jenoff’s “The Kommandant’s Girl”, and “The Diplomat’s Wife”, “The Pieces We Keep”, is a thrilling story of intrigue, betrayal, a mother’s love, and the echoes of love that can be felt throughout the generations.
Profile Image for Westwinds Bookshop.
5 reviews2 followers
September 30, 2013
When this ARC arrived at our shop, I was thrilled because I LOVED the author's prior book, "The Bridge of Scarlet Leaves"! Kristina did not disappoint me … I am going to have a hard time waiting patiently (not one of my strong-points when I am excited about something) until December for this new book to come out, but won't have the least bit of a hard time hand-selling it! Dealing both with past and present lives, the story is woven into a compelling tale of tenderness, love, war, and the possibilities of reconciliation after secrets are finally exposed. The end of each chapter was so disarming, it was hard to put the book down for normal day-to-day obligations! This book is going to be a wonderful hit!
Profile Image for LuAnn.
365 reviews18 followers
November 10, 2013
What can I say about this book that not everyone else has? Kristina McMorris is one of my top 10 favorite authors and I always enjoy reading her novels. This is definitely one of the best. The characters are very likeable and you find yourself rooting for them throughout the story. It's an emotional tale and you'll be drawn into the plot in no time. Once that happens, you might as well plan on a long stint on the couch. You'll want to read until you can't read anymore. This book it that good!
Profile Image for Crystal.
33 reviews
July 8, 2020
I read The Edge of Lost first. And thought I would give this author another go. Hoping for better writing. Disappointment again! I won't bother with another round. She tries to end every chapter with a suspenseful what's next. And some of the questions I had during the book were never answered. I'm sure some people will love this type of book. NOT for me!
Profile Image for Shelby.
509 reviews69 followers
November 3, 2013
First I want to thank Kristina for sharing this book with me. The story caught me from the first page and I loved every minute of it. This book has two stories that break your heart and make you smile...and in the end....well pick up the book and find out for yourself. You wont regret it.
Profile Image for Tamara.
944 reviews242 followers
December 23, 2013
Review originally posted Traveling With T

The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris

Audra has not had an easy 2 years since her husband unexpectedly passed away. Raising Jack without him and still dealing with grief- Audra decides that what she and Jack needs is a fresh start. A brand new page in the life of Jack and Audra shall begin in Philadelphia- Audra will continue her work as a veterinarian and Jack will go to a new school, with new friends. This is the plan- until they board the plane. Jack has a reaction- a terrible reaction and the plane is forced to turn around and take Jack and Audra back to the airport.

Audra is concerned (what mother wouldn’t be?) but, one reaction like that might can be explained by a million factors. When Audra is called into the school to look at some pictures Jack has drawn- her concern increases. Then, the night terrors. Audra knows there is trouble- and yet, she can’t explain or even wrap her mind around a possible suggestion. One night, when Jack turns up missing at a fair- a former soldier named Sean Malloy finds him. Something Jack said to him triggered a figment of a memory- and Sean, suffering from a memory loss due to an event in Afghanistan, wants to know more.

Together, Audra and Sean begin to piece together a story from World War II- a story of love, of deception, a story that still has the ability to potentially hurt people of today. As each piece of the story is put together- Audra comes closer to understanding why her son, the son she loves and cares for beyond all things possible- has turned into a child who is withdrawn, anxious, and suffering from night terrors.

As the reader delves further into Audra’s life and learns more about the mystery of WWII and how that connects to today’s time- the reader will be amazed, touched and entertained.

Traveling With T’s Thoughts

This is my first Kristina McMorris book. Several months ago, the Twitter-verse was excitedly talking about Kristina’s upcoming book- and a blogger I trust (BookMagnet) raved about Kristina’s previous books. After reading and hearing such good things, when Kristina offered me a book- I jumped at the chance. This story, oh my, this story- weaves together perfectly a mystery of WWII and a current day mystery. The characters- Audra, Jack, Vivian, Lulu, Gene and Judith- are written in such a way that you can almost see them. You can see the characters- the mistakes, the love, the reasons for what they did- and understand them.

The Pieces We Keep takes 2 stories- 2 stories that are strong enough to stand on their own- and places them together. No, not places. Immerses these stories in each other. Criss-crosses them in ways that are not immediately apparent. And makes a story that is a can’t put down, must stay up and read as much as you can story. Once the reader gets to a certain point of the mystery- the intrigue to find out what happens next will outweigh the need to do laundry, talk on the phone or even cook dinner. Clear your schedule and enjoy The Pieces We Keep!

*This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts & opinions are mine alone.
Profile Image for Laurie • The Baking Bookworm.
1,350 reviews356 followers
November 25, 2013
This book review can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm (www.thebakingbookworm.blogspot.ca).

Note: My sincere thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review: This book, right off the bat, has two of my favourite things going for it. It's a historical fiction read (one of my favourite genres) and it's set in WWII all the while successfully using two different points of view in two different eras to tell the story.

Using two different points of view is tough to do seamlessly. You have to write two distinctive voices for each of the characters and I feel that Ms McMorris does this very well. Not only does she write from two different perspectives but these perspectives are set 60 years apart. Not an easy task.

In the late 1930's the story follows Vivian James and her beau, Isaak whose love affair is derailed by the beginning of WWII. In Portland, Oregon in 2012, the story also follows Audra and her 7 year old son, Jack. Audra is still dealing with the loss of her husband, Devon, starting a new life for herself and Jack and dealing with her in-laws who are still devastated from the loss of their son. When Jack starts having night terrors Audra will stop at nothing to help her son ... even if it means believing in something she never normally would.

Ms McMorris successfully writes Audra and Vivian's characters with their own distinctive voices and issues that they were each dealing with. As a mom I tended to sympathize with Audra. She has a lot to deal with and her angst and stress came through in the writing. The stories of these two women, in the beginning of the book, are quite separate but as the book continues the author slowly starts to piece together how these two women are connected. The suspense and trying to figure out how these two women were connected were my favourite part of the book. That said though, I did have some issues, as the two stories merged, keeping track of several of the secondary characters and how they were related and involved in the past and present storyline.

I really liked this book but I wish that certain issues were dealt with in more depth. Jack's night terrors and the reasons for them (which forced me to suspend my own reality a bit) were interesting but I felt like I needed more of an explanation. That said, I did appreciate reading, at the end of the book, how McMorris got the idea for this book based on the real life experiences of a boy named James Leininger who experienced similar terrors and memories of a WWII plane crash. I love getting into the head of the author to see how their stories came about.

Was this a 'hard to put down book' for me? No. I did find it to be a little predictable but it was an enjoyable read. I loved that it focused on an era that I'm extremely interested in with characters who were well developed and felt authentic.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Profile Image for Victoria George.
226 reviews14 followers
June 1, 2014
How do I even begin to review this book? With some gif usage.




OOOOHHHH KRISTINA. Why you do dis? Why? Do you enjoy my tears? Do they help you write these amazing, heart-destroying books? (If so, take them because apparently I love it).

I hadn't read a McMorris book since I read Bridge of Scarlet Leaves last year. I absolutely loved that one, and wasn't able to put down Letters from Home, the first book of hers I'd ever read. The reason I didn't want to start this one is because I didn't want to finish it. I knew that as long as it was on my To Be Read shelf, there was at least one book up there I was guaranteed to love.

With my husband being gone due to military stuff (and after finding old WWII love letters in an antique store [they're super adorable and cute and the guy wrote "assholes" and it's just too cute for words I can't even right now]), I have just been craving a good, historical love story. And, of course, one was just staring at me from the shelf, beckoning to me like some evil Disney villain.

This book was the first book to ever produce actual tears from me (tho I did not let those little bastards escape; they stayed firmly inside of my eyes, no matter how hard they tried). AND those tears? HAPPENED MORE THAN ONCE. I was completely unprepared for this emotional roller coaster this book would prove to be. But hey, I wanted a McMorris love story and by Jove I got one.

Kristina, every time you write a sentence, just imagine me hovering over your shoulder saying, "Thank you!" because books like these, laced in emotion that is so wonderfully overwhelming, are the reason I read. So thank you a hundred times!!
709 reviews4 followers
October 25, 2017
Good book and the end of each chapter kept you reading to find out what happens. A girl falls in love with a German during WWII but says he wants to get his family out of Germany to American and wants nothing to do with the war. Book goes back and forth between what is happening now and 1940, all related.
Profile Image for Kate M.
147 reviews42 followers
June 29, 2022
This novel is your typical “World War II and modern day timeline mixed together” novel. A nice story line where all loose ends are tied up and everyone ends up happy.

“She was hanging over a chasm with a fraying rope in her hands. His touch was a blade that would send her plummeting.”
25 reviews
January 30, 2022
This novel was not as well crafted as "Sold on a Monday". The transfers between time were not well transitioned. They felt choppy. That being said, the story was an interesting one.
Profile Image for Darcy.
12.1k reviews417 followers
March 20, 2019
This was an interesting one, set in the present with flashback to WWII. At first it didn't seem like the two story lines connected at all and I'm really not sure if I buy into the previous lives theory that was discussed. What I did like is how fiercely Audra loved her son Jack and how she did what she needed to to find a way to keep him safe. Sure along the way there were lots of bumps, but she discovered much about herself and her son along the way. By the end of the book they were in a good place, one in which they will be able to find happiness.

I also felt for Vivian and what she was going through. She had to make tough decisions too. While many of them may not have been smart she tried to do what she thought was best. When her time ended I think she was truly happy and that is all a person can hope for.
Profile Image for Dorothy.
71 reviews2 followers
September 29, 2020
Another great historical fiction book with loads of plot twists and difficult topics. I had a hard time keeping some of the details straight as the storyline bounced between present day and WWII era, but the author's character development based on personal experiences and extensive research brought this story alive in full, rich detail.
Profile Image for Donna.
20 reviews1 follower
July 16, 2020
A little slow starting but an amazing story!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 562 reviews

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