Letters from Skye is a gentle story of love, longing and war told through a series of letters. Poet Elspeth Dunn’s story begins in 1912 when she receives her first fan letter from an American student, David Graham. This is the beginning of an extended correspondence between the two which continues through the war years, even after Elspeth’s husband enlists and is reported missing. When David briefly visits London on his way to volunteer as an ambulance driver on the Western Front, Elspeth makes her way from Skye to meet him. The story then carries forward to 1940 when Elspeth’s daughter Margaret corresponds with her uncle and her fiancé, a RAF pilot, as she tries to discover more about her father and her family’s past, as Elspeth has been silent on these matters.
Letters from Skye is a beautiful lyrical novel. The epistolary form means that there is little backstory but the characters reveal themselves gradually through their exchanges. Even at the conclusion of the book not everything is explained but, just as so often happens in life, there is enough information for the reader to work out what happened for herself.
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