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Books About Letters: "A Letter from Pearl Harbor"
Ta-da! We've been busy at Flea Market H.Q. in the best possible way: inhaling more Books About Letters for this extra special bonus edition of the monthly blog! Thank you to the publisher Bookoture and Netgalley for gifting me a copy of "A Letter from Pearl Harbor" by Anna Stuart. If you love historical fiction with female leads, well researched historical elements, and of course, letters this novel has all that and much more. Read on for a brief - spoiler free! -- synopsis and review. Available where books are sold November 2021.
It's 1941 when Ginny and her brother Jack, both skilled aviators, arrive in beautifully sunny Pearl Harbor. In just a few months a surprise attack by the Japanese will results in numerous casualties and act as a catalyst for Roosevelt to bring the U.S. into the second World War. And for Ginny's part in it. When decades later, Ginny leaves one final treasure hunt for her granddaughters Ashleigh and Robyn the sisters are confronted with the mirror of their grandmother's life against their own.
The first question we always ask ourselves here: Is this a book about letters? Or, is it a book which has letters in it. This is gold star approved as a Book About Letters. Told through letters written by 'Granny Ginny' about her younger war-time days, the plot is revealed slowly and with great flourish. However, if you're not a fan of novels told entirely in letters -- think "Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society" or the nonfiction "84 Charring Cross Road" -- you'll enjoy the balance between narrative and epistolary style exposition in "A Letter from Pearl Harbor".
Bouncing between England and Hawaii and different timeliness, characters, and plot points this novel is a testament to a big package in a bite size wrapper. Stuart is a skilled writer, "A Letter from Pearl Harbor" her third foray into the historical fiction realm with other novels "The Berlin Zookeeper" and "The Secret Diary" among others for readers to discover.
You can tell Stuart clocked some serious hours in the research department on this novel, which earns it a big thumbs up from Flea Market H.Q. There are elements of the story that seem so almost plucked from make-believe that Stuart explains in her note at the end of the novel that nope, the first female pilots for the U.S. Government did have to pretend they were basketball players and yes, the only van available to transport them to base was a massive red and white musicians one. Details like that differentiate a historical fiction book from a fiction book, in my opinion and I salute Stuart for her work to tell a compelling story with flawed and redeemed characters, succinctly and well.
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