Author: Jessica Brockmole

Blog Book Tour | “Woman Enters Left” by Jessica Brockmole The novel which brings Jorie full-circle into the heart of #Epistolary Fiction by the author who penned Elspeth’s story!

Posted Sunday, 8 October, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “Woman Enters Left” direct from the publisher Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to read this release and a note about why I had to postpone participating in the blog tour: or rather, (if you prefer) how Jorie is a lot like Ms Brockmole in her passion for Ephemera & the Historical Past!

I still remember when ‘At the Edge of Summer’ released and how enthused I was for the ‘next’ Jessica Brockmole novel – as she had truly captured everything I love about narrative prose in a uniquely stylised novel within her debut of “Letters from Skye”. Although, her sophomore release was strikingly different than her debut – I was still keenly interested in reading it – could have theoretically as my local library purchased a copy of it, however, it is one of the many titles I’ve placed myself in a holds queue to receive, finding the hours eclipsing off my clock as soon as it arrives to be read! Ergo, it’s her third novel ‘Woman Enters Left’ which is my second reading of hers, rather than my third entreaty into her literary style.

And, what a treat is is for me! I personally *love!* anything to do with the historic past and everything associated with ‘vintage or ephemera’! The two are not connected – as by the ‘historic past’ this is a broad stroke I’m using to talk about how large in scope History is to explore through literary fiction whereas when I refer to ‘vintage’ and ‘ephemera’ I’m talking about a more specific time period – generally contained within the 20th Century, though with some leanings into the 19th.

I first stumbled into vintage art practices when I took up small (mixed media) art collages in my late twenties – if your familiar with Tim Holtz, you know a smidge about what I’m referring too. Let’s just say ‘distressed inks’ were one of the greatest inventions! lol Resources such as vintage image and ephemeral discs curated by collectors and artists themselves helped move the artistic style forward for those of us unable to collect as much as we’d prefer!

However, despite taking a hiatus from my artistic wanderings (as I traded in my mixed media supplies for fibre; hereinafter being Knitty!) I still remember browsing through early-attic shoppes, vintage emporiums, yesteryear auction houses and thrift shoppes of all kinds – seeking not only the obvious, the tangible bits of the past (ie. Postcards, Letters, Photographs, etc) but the not so obvious – the artwork, the jewelry, the furniture, the quilts and the china! Have you ever just humbly browsed the dish rooms at these places? Still my soul!

You can step through a portal of time – not just observing the changes in technology and manufacturing but you can ‘touch’ time itself. You can peer into people’s lives simply by what is left behind after they’ve past on from this world and rightly, start to piece back together a fragment of ordinary life in specific time periods! This is one reason I’ve been drawn into Historical Fiction (and all it’s lovely sub-genres) – it’s a fusion of what is known, what is suspected and what is investigated (or rather sleuthed out) by writers to become ‘re-known’ once again.

I definitely could relate to the conversation with Ms Brockmole in the back of ‘Woman Enters Left’ about how one tangible fragment of the past can hold one of the keys to re-immersion into a time period earnestly being sought in today’s 21st Century world. It is similar to why I dreamt of owning a retro (manual) typewriter and was happily surprised when I saw a late 1930s/early 1940s Royal being gifted to me by my Mum and Dad a few years ago! It still needs a good cleaning and some new ink – but guess what? It still types! It is only one of many I shall be collecting to use – as I truly want to ink out my fiction and poetry on vintage typewriters – I started off with an electric typewriter before I moved to typing my words on a computer – something never quite ‘clicked’ as having the same attachment of ‘centre’ for me.

Computers are lovely (don’t get me wrong!) however, I think the Typosphere has one thing right: sometimes going back a few steps has more freedom than taking a leap forward. The Typosphere for those who are unfamiliar is a collective of typewriting bloggers – wherein, they ‘type’ their blog posts on ‘typewriters’ (most of which are vintage & retrofitted) then scanning their ‘posts’ to upload into their ‘blogs’ – hence it’s called “The Typosphere”. It’s quite the charming collective! I stumbled into their community several years ago whilst seeking out the ‘letter writers’ in our world of technology – as I’ve been a letter writer since I was eleven years old with perhaps, a decade of hiatus between then and now. It’s something I’m working towards returning too in full haste, as I do miss communicating through postal mail. There is a ‘whole’ world within the internet where people are scaling back their technologic presence and re-affirming things of the past which still are relevant for today. For those who are curious – point your browser to The Letter Writers Alliance, it’s a good place to start! Whilst the blog at The Missive Maven will be your best gateway into the community at large! If you’d like to see my Royal, direct your mouse to this Post!

In regards to the delay in my participation the blog tour, I hinted about the reason in brief during my Sunday Post; however, it is my absolute joy to have read this novel this first week of October as it was a wonderful reunion with an author I already admired and a novelist who entices us all into a special perspective on the past which has a breadth of wonder all of it’s own.

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Notation on Cover Art: The arrangement of the cover design is right on ‘point’ to the title and has the best authentic to the era cognition you are hoping to find about a story which hinges on the legacy of a Mum re-visited through her daughter whose about to re-trace her steps quite unexpectedly on Route 66! Even the car, looks exactly how I was envisioning it whilst I was reading the story-line and I love her outfit!

Blog Book Tour | “Woman Enters Left” by Jessica Brockmole The novel which brings Jorie full-circle into the heart of #Epistolary Fiction by the author who penned Elspeth’s story!Woman Enters Left

A woman sets out on a cross-country road trip, unknowingly tracing in reverse the path her mother traveled thirty years before.

In the 1950s, movie star Louise Wilde is caught between an unfulfilling acting career and a shaky marriage when she receives an out-of-the-blue phone call: She has inherited the estate of Florence “Florrie” Daniels, a Hollywood screenwriter she barely recalls meeting. Among Florrie’s possessions are several unproduced screenplays, personal journals, and—inexplicably—old photographs of Louise’s mother, Ethel. On an impulse, Louise leaves a film shoot in Las Vegas and sets off for her father’s house on the East Coast, hoping for answers about the curious inheritance and, perhaps, about her own troubled marriage.

Nearly thirty years earlier, Florrie takes off on an adventure of her own, driving her Model T westward from New Jersey in pursuit of broader horizons. She has the promise of a Hollywood job and, in the passenger seat, Ethel, her best friend since childhood. Florrie will do anything for Ethel, who is desperate to reach Nevada in time to reconcile with her husband and reunite with her daughter. Ethel fears the loss of her marriage; Florrie, with long-held secrets confided only in her journal, fears its survival.

In parallel tales, the three women—Louise, Florrie, Ethel—discover that not all journeys follow a map. As they rediscover their carefree selves on the road, they learn that sometimes the paths we follow are shaped more by our traveling companions than by our destinations.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9780399178511

on 8th August, 2017

Pages: 337

Published By: Ballantine Books,
an imprint of Random House Publishing Group

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #Epistolary

About Jessica Brockmole

Jessica Brockmole

Jessica Brockmole is the author of At the Edge of Summer, the internationally bestselling Letters from Skye, which was named one of the best books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly, and Something Worth Landing For, a novella featured in Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War. She lives in northern Indiana with her husband, two children, and far too many books.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Posted Sunday, 8 October, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Content Note, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Literary Fiction, Medical Fiction, Nurses & Hospital Life, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Realistic Fiction, Small Towne USA, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Roaring Twenties, West Coast USA, Women's Fiction, Women's Health

Cover Reveal | “Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War” an #anthology of war dramas including three #authors I personally *love!* reading: Lauren Willig, Jessica Brockmole + Heather Webb! Including a small notation on Jorie Loves A Story’s 2nd Birthday!

Posted Thursday, 6 August, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Stories Sailing into View Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I didn’t take long to decide to join the Cover Reveal blog tour for this enticingly curious NEW RELEASE by William Morrow Spring, 2016! For starters, I have become entranced and captured by *three!* of the authors whose convicting stories etch their characters and literary worlds straight into my mind’s eye in such a convincing way as to leave heart prints of their memories inside my spirit long after I have put down their novels!

There is a aching realism to war dramas and a churning of courage intermixed with a fierce dedication to service, country, self, and family. The lives of servicemen and women as much as the civilian staff who aide them directly both at home and overseas are dedicated to keeping all of us safe in an unsafe world. Their sacrifices are passionately applauded and it is our honour to celebrate their lives of which have ensured our times of peace.

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Notations on the realisation some of the authors are already ‘familiar’ to me:

Being a regular book blogger for William Morrow (as I have a heart full of gratitude for the books which come up for review by HarperCollins, of whom has become one of my favourite Major Trade publishers) I was overjoyed at finding out this anthology collection of shorts (stories) not only includes a new work by Jessica Brockmore (of my beloved Letters from Skye), Lauren Willig (of whom has created a delish historical/contemporary suspense series in Pink Carnation), and the historically passionate researcher (novelist) Heather Webb (of Becoming Josephine + Rodin’s Lover) this collection  yields many #newtomeauthors of whom I would be most delighted to ‘meet’ for the first-time!

Prior to confirmation of my participation on this tour, I had the joy of finding a beautifully up-close and personal review of Marci Jefferson’s new release Enchantress of Paris via Literary, Etc. wherein I enjoyed adding to the conversation surrounding it’s story. Ms Jefferson’s previous novel Girl on the Golden Coin was a novel I had hoped to have read in 2014 and sadly was not able to get to it. I definitely hope I can find a way to borrow both copies from the library once their available!

For my thirty-fourth birthday I selected Hazel Gaynor’s The Girl Who Came Home as one of my *birthday books* of choice which was gifted to me by my Mum and Da! It remains one of the books I am most adamant of reading as soon as I have the hours to devout to it! A Memory of Violets has intrigued me as well although it is constantly being checked out at my library!

I hadn’t realised it until I visited her website, but the novels of Jennifer Robson have been garnishing my curious eye towards picking them up and seeing what I shall find inside for quite awhile now! I have either seen her in the book blogosphere or finding I can borrow her books from my local library! Wicked sweet!

I typically gravitate and devour novels of WWII, and it is a rare treat indeed when I find a novel based on WWI! I tend to be a bit particular about the kind of war dramas I prefer reading and therefore my quest to find new stories to soak my mind inside takes a bit of seeking and patience! This collection not only winked out a keen interest to read it, I felt as though the authors knew exactly what kind of war dramas I would appreciate reading in shorter form! I cannot wait for this release!

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Read a delish snippet of a preview:

Excerpt from “Hour of the Bells”
A short story included in Fall of Poppies

Reprinted Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers

Beatrix whisked around the showroom, feather duster in hand. Not a speck of dirt could remain or Joseph would be disappointed. The hour struck noon. A chorus of clocks whirred, their birds popping out from hiding to announce midday. Maidens twirled in their frocks with braids down their backs, woodcutters clacked their axes against pine, and the odd sawmill wheel spun in tune to the melody of a nursery rhyme. Two dozen cuckoos warbled and dinged, each crafted with loving detail by the same pair of hands—those with thick fingers and a steady grip.

Beatrix paused in her cleaning. One clock chimed to its own rhythm, apart from the others. She could turn them off—the tinkling melodies, the incessant clatter of pendulums, wheels, and cogs, with the levers located near the weights—just as their creator had done before bed each evening, but she could not bring herself to do the same. To silence their music was to silence him, her husband, Joseph. The Great War had already done that; ravaged his gentle nature, stolen his final breath, and silenced him forever. Read More


Posted Thursday, 6 August, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Anthology Collection of Stories, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, Blog Tour Host, Blogs I Regularly Read, Book | Novel Extract, Book Cover Reveal, During WWI, Historical Fiction, Literary Etc., Short Stories or Essays, The World Wars, War Drama

Journey to Skye: slip into Elspeth’s shoes, one letter at a time,… “Letters from Skye” by Jessica Brockmole an epistolary novel which stitches into your heart

Posted Wednesday, 3 July, 2013 by jorielov , , , 4 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole
 Published By: Ballantine Books,
an imprint of Random House Publishing Group, 9 July 2013

Official Author Websites: Site | Twitter | Facebook
Page Count: 304

Converse via Twitter: #LettersFromSkye

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Acquired Book By: Book Browse First Impressions Programme: I received a complimentary ARC in exchange for my honest review on Book Browse, from the publisher Ballantine Books. Letters from Skye was amongst the offerings for May 2013, as this book will be published 9th of July 2013. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared therein or herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comWhat drew my eye to want to drink in this story: I am not sure about you, but whenever I read the premise of a novel on the flyleaf OR on the backside, I immediately start to assert an impression of what the story inside potentially will contain. “Letters from Skye” held within its synopsis a few key words that made me want to devour the story and step into Elspeth’s shoes! Those words and expressions of Ms. Brockmole’s voice which drew an inward breath of delight were as follows: atmospheric {a sense of a foreboding and mysterious presence or adventure}, poet on a remote Scottish island named Skye {gives a sense of solidarity and isolation, as much as a wind-swept glossing of natural beauty}, the time slip between World War I and World War II {a labyrinth of choices to explore and walk down}, a love bourne through and sustained by letters {for a correspondent, I nearly could not be patient enough to learn if I would receive this selection! i was thus determined to read it!}, and lastly, a disappearance that was unexpected. That last bit always lends itself to a deeper mystery and a deeper meaning of what the whole of the novel will encompass because people who exit abruptly from their lives are attempting to resolve a confliction in the past or present, in order to resolve their future.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comWhy I think they should leave the Editor’s Note as a foreword to novels: Previously I had been completely unaware of the nature of ARCs and of the differences that lay inside their printings. One of the obvious things to note is that there not final copies set for publication but rather instead uncorrected proofs by which still have a bit to go ahead of release! Therefore as you receive them, you start to notice the different ways each publisher chooses to market their author and the author’s work. Yet. They have this lovely addition that is always absent in the final copy that we see by way of libraries and bookshoppes, something you wouldn’t expect to hold such key secrets into the reason behind why the book was published OR the very stirring of what the editor felt when she or he first read the manuscript! This delightful insight is contained generally on the very first page of the ARC, so it’s an ARC’s reader’s first introduction to what their about to read.

Letters to Skye’s Editor’s Note spoke about the technologic shift in communication and how as our lives ebb forward and away from inter-personal communication {ie: letters by postal mail, meet-ups over coffee or tea, dinner parties, and other such venues where you’re committed to conversing directly with your conversationist companion} we are losing a vital piece of our humanity. I have oft spoke of this myself in my own friendship circles as much as my own community. I am paraphrasing her words and even adding in a bit of my own, but the essence of what she is lamenting about is if we’re not careful all of our interactions will become virtual and unspoken.

Even letters by postal mail have an intimacy and immediacy to them. They evoke a calling back to revealing our inner selves and most internal of thoughts in an open and accepting manner. They pull back the pretense and the uncertainty of acceptance we might face in person because of the format by which we are using to communicate. A letter is a transformative medium where we can be ourselves without the pre-occupation of noticing our insecurities. This is a general theme that is even carried out throughout the novel, as anyone who has ever been a correspondent will notice the same truths as their friendships develop and evolve.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comRead an Excerpt of the Novel:

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole by Random House Publishing Group

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comAn ethereal atmospheric cover design which begs the question: if the place your going to be transported too is as ethereal as the design that this cover art provokes to mind! However, the cover art of the ARC was not the same as the art shown through the Excerpt by Scribd! Instead, your given a photograph viewing of the inside of Elspeth’s cottage: David’s grandfather’s pocket watch, Isle of Sky peeking out through the window, two individual pearls: one for her necklace from Christmas 1915 and one for Margaret; a smattering of postcards, envelopes and a fountain pen; perhaps a posy that would draw to mind the one Elspeth left for Iain on his grave!? Along with a short stack of hardback novels, which were always being passed between David and Elspeth OR at the very least mentioned to be read!

There is such a personal touch on the cover of the ARC, that draws out pieces of the story in such a clever way, that I am not sure if the original ethereal version holds as much weight when you stop to consider what the publisher placed inside this alternative one!? All too often I am discovering that rather than being careful about what is adorned on the covers, on the level, of actually pertaining to the breadth of the story inside the pages, publishers are short-changing the reader by using stock photographs and arrangements that either are loosely conceived as plausible OR too far-fetched to take seriously! I finally gave up on taking anything away from most covers of books that I read,… which is why saying that as I read “Letters from Skye” the ARC’s cover propelled me to think back and ponder the exactness of what is described! Food for thought, I’d say!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comAnd, why the hours dissolved away like fragments of a whispering wind:  I was a bit delayed in reading “Letters from Skye” due to a relapsed virus that left me miserably fatigued! I had been aching to dip into this narrative ever since it first arrived by Post! I think that is singularly my favourite moment of receiving a First Impressions Book ~ the air of anticipation that greets you as you pick up the package and dare to wonder, what will I find inside!? The very instant that I settled into my comfy chair to disappear into this Scottish Isle of mystery, (as I had watched the book trailer as soon as I had found it [how could I wait?]), I noticed ever so slightly that this was the story that would dissolve hours away like fragments of a whispering wind! The format was completely foreign to me, and yet, it was quite familiar at the very same time! I have been reading letters from my own friends for the near-full of my life!! Once I realised the rhythm of the story, I nearly could hear a whispering of wind, the only fraction of the passing time, as I sank further and further into the exchanges between Elspeth and Davey! When the outside world disappears to the brink you have to force your eyes and being back into your own reality, that is when you know, you’ve stumbled across a book that has captured your heart!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThe review I posted on Book Browse:

Journey to Skye: slip into Elspeth’s shoes, one letter at a time

Elspeth is a Highlander Scot endowed to reside on the enchanted Isle of Skye, which sparks an intuitive creative voice inside her soul as a young girl. She learnt to channel this gift by etching her observations and heartfelt wisdoms into droplets of visceral poetry. Inasmuch as igniting a young man half a world away to discover something he had not felt was lost and conveyed his gratitude by penning her a letter. A letter he never expected her to reply too and thus began their entwined story. Of a woman entrapped by fear of the sea by which she couldn’t allow herself to experience the world beyond Skye and of a boy struggling to become a man on the threshold of war.

Letters are at their very core intimately raw in their conveyance of our innermost thoughts and emotions. We can spilt onto a page by word and context a connection that goes deeper than the superficial, fully absent of pretense and rightly an instinctive pause to reveal our truest of selves. You become lost in their exchanges to the brink that each time slip between the World Wars loses its mirth and all that is left is the anticipation of what news the next letter shall bring! You’re caught in a vortex of uncertainty living through each painful revelation and consolation between Elspeth and David.

And, yet this is a story that involves Margaret, the daughter of Elspeth who never knew her origins nor understood her mother as a woman. She too, is on a collision course with destiny that is half stitched in the past and half propelled forward by future events. Your heart aches and bleeds with Elspeth as she becomes fraught with despair and the anguish of the unknown. The churning of the tides ebbs and flows during the second half of the novel, but it’s not foreshadowed to reveal the ending which washes away the dried tears and leaves the reader a smile upon her lips!


And, here are the other thoughts which First Impression readers shared after having read “Letters from Skye”. Only a small bit of my review was edited after I posted it, as the word “learnt” was exchanged for “learned”. I was expecting it might be edited for length, as try as I might to stay within the 200 to 300 word limitations,… I find myself at a loss to always rein my thoughts into that perimeter! This review clocked in at: 332 words!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comInspired to Share: As soon as this book trailer begins, I was wrapped inside a time portal to a new land of adventurous proportions! The sweeping arc of the book trailer is reminiscent of a motion picture ~ your embarking a brief stay inside the world of Elspeth’s Skye and the very eternal hope that sparks alive inside the idea that a person’s life can be lived, breathed, and evolved through the exchangement of letters. Envelopes ever so tiny, yet ever so vital to parlay information between two souls whose paths have intertwined through a chance encounter inspired by a book of poetry. You can feel the emotional churning of the novel in this book trailer. You sense the heart-wrecking disconnection between Elspeth and David, as much as you see a kernel of Hope lit strong as the picture dissolves and you have to wait until you pick up the book to see how it all unfolds. This is the type of book trailer that readers live to see ahead of sinking into a piece of narrative. A flashing glimpse of two hearts and two characters, spread throughout the span of two World Wars and a lifetime of letters. How can you not want to drink in their story? A story translucent and sageful within our own lifetime.

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole, Book Trailer by Windmill Books, a division of Random House Publishing Group. Windmill Books main website.

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Fly in the Ointment: The only discerning issue I took with the novel is that throughout the years of correspondences, David acknowledges Elspeth as “Sue” which for me, did not suit her very well! It came out of left field as far as I am concerned, because I could not discern the way by which he sorted out how that would ‘fit’ her personality and character traits!? Afterall, she’s a Highlander Scot living a kissing distance from the sea in a sheltering small hamlet of Gaelic origins! Most of the women in the novel are named traditionally for the time frame: Margaret, Lara, Iain, Alasdair, Elsie, and Chrissie for instance, and the author used the Gaelic form of ‘mother’ {Màthair} to reflect Elspeth’s Mum, and Da to reflect father, is why I suppose I was a bit disappointed in the a plum usage of “Sue”.

Conversely, having had the pleasure of borrowing the Complete Series of Monarch of the Glen AND Foyle’s War through my local library — I must contend that I picked up subtle differences in dialect. For instance, I am not sure why “learned” was not “learnt” as an example of certain key words of Scottish/British/UK origins were not shown in full light. I have many memories of watching Monarch of the Glen ill-fated to not understand all the dialogue taking place because of the baroque accent and unfamiliarity of the words used. In this way, I can understand if the author decided to Anglicize Elspeth’s letters for broader audience appealment. Personally, I would have rather read a more authentic difference between Elspeth’s and David’s letters.

Personally I can relay that when your corresponding with a friend who lives elsewhere than you, on a whole new continent and grows up with a language unlike your own, part of the joy and treasurement of your developing friendship are the subtle differences in phrase and language! I have been honoured to have such a diverse array of friends whose first language was not English OR even British English, whereupon we learnt more about each other in how our words inked onto the page! The differences between American and British English can fill the ocean it takes to cross by way of the Queen Mary! It’s a full learning curve and I think, as I have fond memories of my personal correspondences, I noticed this absence in Letters from Skye.

I decided to share these parting thoughts on my blog verse inside my review for Book Browse because they do not deter from the story nor would they prevent the pleasure of reading it. These two things that resonated with me, but I did not think needed to be broached in a review but rather as an aside on my blog!

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Posted Wednesday, 3 July, 2013 by jorielov in Author Interview, Book Browse, Book Trailer, Debut Novel, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, First Impressions, Fly in the Ointment, Geographically Specific, Historical Fiction, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Scotland, Scribd, the Forties, the Nineteen Hundreds, The World Wars, Time Slip