Title: Letters Across the Sea
Author: Genevieve Graham
Genre: Historical Fiction
Themes: Romance, Friendship, WWII, PTSD, Healing, Forgiveness, Love
Anticipated Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Thank you to the NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for giving me the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Letters Across the Sea.
1933 has brought on the Depression and eighteen-year-old Molly Ryan is feeling it. She had to give up school to work and everyone in her family is pitching in as much as they can. As long as she has her friends, siblings Hannah and Max, she knows she’ll be fine.
However, during this time antisemitism is rising and this discrimination is tearing apart two families – Molly’s Protestant family and Hannah’s Jewish one. On one crucial night, the two families who once care for one another is severely tested.
Years later, 1939, Molly works for a local newspaper and is determined to report the truth and important facts about what is happening in the world – Hitler is on the rise and WWII is under way. Molly’s brothers have enlisted and so has Max. Left with so many unknowns, Molly’s heart is pulled and broken down as news from across the sea is unreliable and minimal.
Facing the truth is never easy, but it might be just the thing that many of these characters need to do in order to heal.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book provided by the publisher, Simon & Schuster, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, so when I saw this one on NetGalley I jumped at the chance of reviewing it, and I was not disappointed!
It is written in two different perspectives – Molly in the first person and Max in the third person. This added such depth to the story and made it more well-rounded. It helped me care about both of these characters and their families much more. It also made their relationship more pure since both characters had nothing but love in their minds for each other. There was no guessing as to why certain things happened or why one character acted one way versus another way. This was refreshing because I don’t like second guessing things when it comes to romance. Mysteries? Sure. Thrillers? Absolutely! Let’s play the guessing game! Romance? No thank you. If two characters are in love or have the potential to be in love, I don’t need to play head games and try to guess if one truly loves the other or not.
The characters themselves were very well-developed. I felt like I knew Molly and Max so well and even their siblings somewhat. It made me feel connected to them. They are both strong, kind, and sweet characters that it was hard not to love them both!
The war scenes were so sad and very easy to visualize. I actually never thought of Canada’s involvement in WWII and how there were many people who were affected by antisemitism. So sad…I also did not know about the riot that took place or the fact that a hospital was attacked by the Japanese soldiers across the sea. My jaw dropped to learn this new piece of information and my heart was filled with sadness to visualize the poor injured men who were killed and/or led to their deaths without even given the chance to fight, even after a surrender white flag was waved. My heart goes out to them and their families…
I also appreciated the inclusion of how PTSD could affect people differently. No two people are alike so how soldiers dealt with returning home after witnessing such horrific events also varies. The readers see how Max was affected, but also Molly’s brothers. They all had physical, mental, and emotional scars that take time to heal.
If there was an aspect that I would think needs some improvement is the letters that were sent across the sea. Though I felt there were enough letters being sent back and forth, it didn’t seem to be the primary focus of the whole story. Therefore, the title seems a bit off. However, this is just a nit-picky type of point. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the novel at all.
Overall, I loved everything about this read and feel grateful to have read it.
I would highly recommend this read to those who enjoy historical fiction about WWII and who enjoy reading about a sweet and kind romance that is woven into the text.