Some of my most favorite and memorable movies are the old classic black and white movies starring Jimmy Stewart, and one of them is The Shop Around The Corner. It set the precedent for the newer movie, You've Got Mail and also the premise and background for Sarah Sundin's latest novel, With Every Letter. This is the first in the Wings of the Nightingale Series and being a huge fan of WWII fiction novels, I knew I wanted to read this one.
The book introduces us to two very different but similar characters. The first is Lt. Philomela "Mellie" Blake who we meet as a nurse at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center carrying for her patients while awaiting a response to become a flight nurse for the upcoming Air Evacuation Group that was forming in Bowman Field in Kentucky. When the Army Air Force announced plans to train nurses to assist in air evacuation, Mellie had begged the chief for a recommendation. Flight nurses would fly into combat areas, load the wounded, and care for them in the air. They would be stationed all over the world, and she hoped even in the Pacific, close to her Papa, who went missing when the Japanese conquered the Philippines a few months earlier and she doesn't know his fate, but believes he is still alive.
Yet the biggest challenge facing Mellie is her lack of social skills in making friends. She can work magic caring for the patients she oversees but forming any long, lasting connection, is near to impossible for her. When she is asked by chief nurse to participate in a letter writing campaign to boost morale and encourage the men serving in the armed forces, she is more than fearful. If she can't maintain relationships with men or women, how can she possible participate in this. But with encouragement from her chief nurse, she willingly agrees and finds that perhaps she might be on her way to something that might open doors for her to finally make friends.
Lt. Thomas MacGilliver Jr is the lucky recipient of Mellie's attempt at friendship through the letter writing campaign and they both have been asked not to reveal any details or names but to keep the letter writing as professional and encouraging on both ends as possible. Thomas is made aware that the letter writers are flight nurses and that is about as personal to her identity that Mellie and Thomas can be. What he finds is a fellow soul mate that speaks the same language she does. He, too, has a difficult time making friends and finds that aside from leading a platoon of men into war, that is about as far as his relationships go as well. He also has a dark past that he is trying to escape from and with Mellie's help, he may finally put his ghosts from his past to rest once and for all. So he finds a true friend through his letter writing with Mellie and that is the true treasure of this book.
It shows how much a letter from someone can really encourage one another through the hardships and trials of war. What may start as a friendship may lead to something more as Mellie and Tom get to know one another without revealing too much and find a love that goes beyond mere words on a page. It's taking the movie premise of letter writing to a completely different and timeless level in this wonderful book and what happens along the way is worth reading this historical novel. I can't wait for the next book in this series. I received this novel, With Every Letter, compliments of Litfuse Publicity for my honest review and have to say this one rates a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. For those of you that love a great historical romance set in the midst of WW2, then you will truly LOVE this novel!
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One fortunate winner will receive:
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- With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin
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