WITH EVERY LETTER
by Sarah Sundin
Published by Revell
ABOUT THE BOOK
As part of a morale-building program, World War II flight nurse Lt. Mellie Blake begins an anonymous correspondence with Army engineer Lt. Tom MacGilliver in North Africa. As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, they develop a deep friendship. But when they're both transferred to Algeria, will their future be held hostage by the past—or will they reveal their identities?
Readers, buy your copy of With Every Letter today!
AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR FEATURE AUTHOR
The Power of a Hand-Written Letter
When was the last time you received a handwritten letter? Or sent one? How did it make you feel?
I love modern communication—texting and e-mail and Facebook messages. These are fast, effective, and efficient forms of communication. They’re also impermanent and impersonal.
My new novel, With Every Letter, centers on an anonymous correspondence between a flight nurse and an Army engineer in World War II. Already I’ve received lots of comments from readers about how they’re reminded of the special nature of a written letter. Some have even been inspired to write letters to loved ones.
During World War II, if you were overseas, letters were the only way to communicate with friends and family back home. While researching With Every Letter, I was sent copies of letters written from an Army engineer serving in the Mediterranean, to his little daughter back home. Not only did the letters give me wonderful, colorful details to add to my story, but they brought home the poignancy of the war years. Little Jane did not see her father for three years, ages seven to ten. Her father missed those delightful years with his daughter. Her mother raised her daughter alone. Wartime worries and dangers deepened the pain of separation.
However, letters between father and daughter allowed them to stay connected. In July 1944, he wrote from Italy:
Your letter that you wrote me on “Dad’s Day” came yesterday. It’s very sweet of you to write and send me a picture too.
So you’re in fourth grade now. Next fall, you will be studying some pretty important subjects. Because you passed, and because I’m very proud and fond of you anyway, I am sending you a money order for ten dollars. Like last year, I would like to have you save five dollars of it for Mother’s Christmas present, and spend the five dollars for something you want yourself, including maybe a few war stamps.
It’s very warm here now, and there’s no place handy to go swimming, to show off the new bathing trunks that Mother sent me. But I’ll be able to use them before the summer is over, I’m sure. I hope you have lots of fun this summer, and get good and tanned and strong.
Not only did this letter certainly warm Jane’s heart in 1944, it warms ours now. Because it was written in his own handwriting, on a piece of paper, so it could be saved for sixty-eight years and more.
When my husband and I were dating, even though we saw each other almost daily, we had a tradition of writing letters to each other. Every week I labored over my letter, recalling my favorite memories and focusing on what I loved about this man. And with every letter he wrote, he stole more and more of my heart. We’ve saved these letters, and occasionally I’ll read them, remembering the joy of falling in love with my husband and relishing how our love has deepened and matured in the twenty-five years we’ve known each other. Someday, when we pass away, our children and grandchildren may read the letters. They’ll laugh hysterically, they’ll be astounded, and maybe they’ll cry.
So yes, use e-mail and Skype and Facebook and text messaging. But consider occasionally putting your thoughts to paper in your own hand. You’ll create a more touching message for today and a legacy for tomorrow.
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Thank you, Sarah, for sharing with us today.
Reader Question: My question for you…from the beginning of the post: When was the last time you received a handwritten letter? Or sent one? How did it make you feel?
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