Book Review: Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

Letter from Skye Jessica BrockmoleLetters from Skye: What it is about

The publishers say: “Elspeth is fond of saying to her daughter that ‘the first volume of my life is out of print’. But when a bomb hits an Edinburgh street and Margaret finds her mother crouched in the ruins of her bedroom pulling armfuls of yellowed letters onto her lap, the past Elspeth has kept so carefully locked away is out in the open. The next day, Elspeth disappears.

Left alone with the letters, Margaret discovers a mother she never knew existed: a poet living on the Isle of Skye who in 1912 answered a fan letter from an impetuous young man in Illinois.

Without having to worry about appearances or expectations, Elspeth and Davey confess their dreams and their worries, things they’ve never told another soul. Even without meeting, they know one another.

Played out across oceans, in peacetime and wartime but most of all through paper and ink, Letters from Skye is about the transformative power of a letter – the letter that shouldn’t have been sent, the letter that is never sent and the letter the reader will keep for ever.

Letters from Skye: What I thought

This book is made up solely of letters. Many of them are written before and during the first world war, and others in the second world war. The wars serve as a background and are not a prominent part of the story.

Elspeth is a young poet on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, and she has never left the island. In 1912, she gets fan mail from a young man in America and they start a correspondence that lasts for several years. In 1940, her daughter discovers that her mother has a past that she doesn’t know anything about and she starts to investigate this.

Sometimes a bit too neatly, the letters describe Elspeth’s life as a twenty-something married woman, and Margaret’s search for her mother’s history.

The story was interesting but not not totally captivating. A lot of the time, not much happened with Elspeth and David, but because I already knew something about the future, through Margaret’s letters, it was interesting to see how that worked out.

In all, a well put-together story with a moving ending.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Number of pages: 304

First published: 2013 (August)

I got this: won it from Hutchinson publishers

Genre: historical fiction



About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

10 Responses to Book Review: Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

  1. I’d heard good things about this book, but your review is making me think it isn’t for me – I like my books to be totally captivating!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I was looking forward to the book, but it wasn’t a “grab me” book. It was good, but nothing like hype it is getting.

    I wanted to read this book because I love The Isle of Skye. It is my favorite spot in Europe because of the quaintness. Weather has something to be desired. 🙂 My blog header is from Portree, Scotland, which is in the Isle of Skye.

    I guess you have to like the letter style of writing. It was a quick read, but it wasn’t one that I couldn’t wait to get back. I did rate it a 4/5 despite all of this because it was a clever premise and I do like history…especially WWII.

    Thanks for a great review.


    • Leeswammes says:

      Elizabeth, I also love Skye! I’ve been once and it’s this kind of mythical island in my mind – one where I’d go and write a book. 🙂

  3. bibliosue says:

    This sounds like a good premise for a novel. Thanks for letting us know about it.

  4. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader says:

    Hmmm, I don’t know if I’m going to put this on my wish list or not. It sounds okay, but not FANTASTIC.

  5. heavenali says:

    this sounds rather good – I may look out for it : )

  6. Isi says:

    I have seen this book in the upcoming new books in Spain; it will be launched at the end of the summer and I thought it could be the kind of story that I like, even though you didn’t love it.
    I love books based on letters and family secrets 🙂

  7. Melinda says:

    I like the cover of this book, and the story sounds interesting too!

I love comments! Let me know what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: