I first learned about the author Kristina McMorris through my subscription to the Women on Writing newsletter. Presumably, as a member, she was able to promote her first book, Letters from Home. That’s how I learned about her work. Letters from Home is about three friends and their experiences during WW II. One is a writer, one is a singer, and the other a talented fashion designer. One plot centers on one of the women writing to a GI, and a case of mistaken identity ensues. It’s a great book where you can lose yourself in another time. Two of the main characters are based on her maternal grandparents. McMorria sets most of her work during the Second World War, and she has a lot of admiration and respect for the Greatest Generation. Although it’s not really needed, the back of the book has a section of 1940s-era recipes. (McMorris’s first literary project was a family cookbook.) She often includes titles of works she used in her research.
McMorris’s second book, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, centers on an American woman, Maddie, a violinist bound for Juilliard, who is dating a childhood friend, Lane, a second-generation Japanese American who is also in college. Maddie hides the relationship from her brother and the rest of the community. After Pearl Harbor, distrust of and prejudice against Japanese Americans worsens. When Maddie and Lane marry secretly, she follows him to an internment camp. Readers are on the edge of their seats praying that everything will turn out all right.
Her third novel, The Pieces We Keep, combines the World-War II-era past and the present in an amazing way. But it takes a while to discover how all the threads of the story are connected. You keep reading to find out. Be prepared for late nights of reading.
No matter in what time you live, life is never easy. But there are a few bright spots. McMorris’s characters are real, and you care about them and what happens to them–the best way to enjoy a satisfying read.