Beyond Mr. Darcy: Romantic Historical Fiction discussion

Letters from Skye
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Group Reads 2014 > February 2014: Letters from Skye

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Christie (cereale) | 202 comments Mod
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 of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.

June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago.

April (AJoyS) | 129 comments I have finished the book already. I really enjoyed the epistolary style of writing.

Christie (cereale) | 202 comments Mod
Discussion Questions

1. Did you find the story believable?

2. The statement is made in the book "you can't help who you fall in love with." Do you believe this?

3. Do you think it was possible to send care packages to men in P.O.W. camps?

4. Did the Isle of Skye speak to you? Was it represented strongly enough that you felt like Skye was a part of the story?

5. What did you think about the statement Elspeth made when she said she didn't go to college because she was afraid to cross the water? Are there other reasons you can think of as to why she might not have gone to college?

6. Were you invested in Margaret and Paul's romance?

Christie (cereale) | 202 comments Mod
1. There were elements of the story I found somewhat unbelievable (view spoiler) but overall I found most parts of the book believable.

2. I think I've answered this question before in relation to another book discussion, but I'll answer it again. I don't think you can help who you feel attraction too, but I believe you can help where that attraction leads you.

3. I did not think much was really possible for men in POW camps in WWI, but have been reading about how many men did receive packages from home while in POW camps.

4. I did feel that Skye was part of the story and definitely wanted to visit. I love all things Scottish and enjoyed the inhabitants of Skye in the story.

5. I figure there are a few reasons that Elspeth could not go to college. One is that very few colleges were accepting women in the early 20th century and those that did only offered feminine courses of study such as homemaking and did not give degrees. Also, I don't know Elspeth's family situation but there might not have been a great deal of money to send her to college and the value of a college education for a girl might have been in question.

6. I would have loved to have known more about Margaret and Paul's romance, but I didn't get enough in the story to be really invested in it.

April (AJoyS) | 129 comments @christie How do I hide spoilers?

Christie (cereale) | 202 comments Mod
April wrote: "@christie How do I hide spoilers?"

< spoiler > your spoiler here < / spoiler >

except without the spaces between < or / and spoiler. I couldn't type it all together or it would hide what I was typing.

message 7: by April (last edited Feb 17, 2014 06:48PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

April (AJoyS) | 129 comments 1.There were several thingings in the story that I found unbelievable (view spoiler)

April (AJoyS) | 129 comments @christie Thank you.

April (AJoyS) | 129 comments 2. I agree with Christie, you cannot control who you are attracted to but you can control where you let it lead. @Christie We have answered this question before for another book.
3. Depending on where the POW were located I believe it was possible.
4.I felt that Skye was a almost like an additional major character in the story. I would love to visit there someday!
5.I think that Elsbeth statement about not going to college because be afraid to cross the water was a way to easy her own feelings of frustration and unfair over th real reason should was able to go college. As for what these other reason were I agree with Christie.

6. I always want to know more about the a secondary characters in a story. I was not invested in Margaret and Paul’s romance but would have enjoyed knowing more!

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