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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Review - The Last Letter by Kathleen Shoop



Book Review
The Last Letter
by Kathleen Shoop

Book Description
A Father’s Deceit
A Husband’s Betrayal
A Loved One’s Death
A Mother’s Choice
A Daughter’s Resentment
A Time to Forgive

For every daughter who thinks she knows her mother’s story…

Katherine wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t found the last letter…

Katherine Arthur’s dying mother arrives on her doorstep, forcing her to relive a past she wanted to forget. When Katherine was young, the Arthur family had been affluent city dwellers until shame sent them running for the prairie, into the unknown. Taking her family, including young Katherine, to live off the land was the last thing Jeanie Arthur had wanted, but she would do her best to make a go of it. For Jeanie’s husband Frank it had been a world of opportunity. Dreaming, lazy Frank. But, it was a society of uncertainty — a domain of natural disasters, temptation, hatred, even death.

Ten-year-old Katherine had loved her mother fiercely, put her trust in her completely, but when there was no other choice, and Jeanie resorted to extreme measures on the prairie to save her family, she tore Katherine’s world apart. Now, seventeen years later, Katherine has found the truth — she has discovered the last letter. After years of anger, can Katherine find it in her heart to understand why her mother made the decisions that changed them all? Can she forgive and finally begin to heal before it’s too late?

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Our Book Review
What a book and what an absolute impact it had on me.  A very moving and emotional read and I loved every minute of this wonderful and powerful story.  This is the very first book I have read by Kathleen Shoop, I have read so many positive reviews on her writing skills that I really wanted to read one of her books and after reading the description I knew this was the one.  This story had me hooked, took hold of me and transported me into the story and into the prairie life. I felt all the emotions within it, sadness, joy, loss, grief, anger, frustration, my heart felt as if it was actually about to break as I became completely overwhelmed.

There is so much of this story that I want to share with you to give you a taste of it yet to spoil the story for you is not what I am going to do.

The story follows Jeanie, a caring mother and a duty bound wife.  Jeanie had everything, a family to be proud of, social standing and all the money and comforts one would need until the scandal hit and she finds she has to leave everything behind to save her family through no fault of her own.   She loyally goes with her husband, Frank, and children to start their new unknown life,  to live in a dug out on the wild, harsh and unforgiving prairie.  Despite everything Jeanie wants the best for her children and continues to believe in keeping up appearances even when faced with the lack of love and the growing resentment towards Frank. She is determined that they will survive each cruel blow that life and the hard prairie life brings their way. Jeanie will do what needs to be done for her family to survive.

Katherine, eldest daughter of Jeanie is now grown up, married with children of her own and the date is 1905. She has lived almost all of her adult life feeling nothing but anger resentment for her mother Jeanie, because of unanswered questions.  Her husband persuades Katherine to now take in her dying mother along with her younger sister, Yale. Along with them comes letters from the past, will these help Katherine finally piece together those tormented events.

Katherine Shoop's writing is superb, your scooped up into the story and the reason I think I felt so emotional was the pure connection the author makes happen between the reader and characters.  I have to admit one of my favourite television programmes while growing up was, well actually still is,  Little House on the Prairie with Joe and Caroline Ingalis, that was the romantic side of living on the prairie what you will find in this book is the tough reality and the way the author describes the events makes it so vivid and totally believable.

I have found another book from reviewing that I will cherish forever, I will read this again without a doubt and am desperately awaiting the next book in the series from this amazing author.

My favourite quote.....
"We'll enjoy the sunshine all the more if we've had a few shadows first"

Our Rating

'an absolutely easy'
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About the Author
A Language Arts Coach with a Ph.D. in Reading Education, Kathleen lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Kathleen's debut novel, The Last Letter was garnered multiple awards in 2011.  Her second novel, After the Fog (Silver IPPY), was a category finalist in the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Her third novel, Love and Other Subjects, earned a Silver medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention from the San Francisco Book Festival. Recently, Kathleen has released the her first romance novella, Home Again (Book One). Book Two, a novel-length work in the Endless Love series called Return to Love, will be released in May, 2014. Books Two and Three in the historical fiction series that started with The Last Letter are nearly complete and should be released by fall, 2014.

Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

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Website   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Google+   Goodreads 



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NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY !!


THREE Lucky Winners will each receive a $15 Amazon Giftcard,
courtesy of author of The Last Letter, Kathleen Shoop
Ending on Sunday 3rd August at 11.59pm EST
Open Worldwide

Enter  Below & Good Luck !!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Sharon x


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14 comments:

  1. This was definitely one of the more heart rending books I have read. It kept me reading-sometimes angry sometimes sad-the connection with the characters was unbelievable. I suggest every one read this book.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so very much for your kind words. There's no question that I strive to "put" readers in a setting--especially when it's historical fiction. To achieve that for you and for you to say it aloud is a true gift to me. Thank you.

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  2. This sounds very good in a bittersweet kind of way. I have added this to my wishlist. I hadn't come across the author before so thinks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. Please contact me and I will get you a copy! My email is kathleenshoop@gmail.com . Thanks so much for your interest.

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  3. This is a fab review - it definitely makes me want to read it :) thanks for sharing! x
    | Life as a Petite || Fashion, Crafts & Lifestyle Blog |

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  4. This sounds like a great story spanning a few generations. Definitely need to check this out x

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  5. An amazing novel, by all accounts. It's so moving when a book totally engages you, to the point that you can't put it down. This sounds like one of those! I don't know the author but I'm going to check this particular book out. Will need some reading matter to help my mind escape from the stresses of the family holiday coming up shortly! That latter part - just joking!

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  6. Wow it's great to hear it had a real impact on you - going to have to check this out, great review!

    Laura x

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  7. This sounds like a really great book, might have to check it out! xo

    http://rachelnicole.co.uk/

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  8. Great review! I enjoy learning about new authors because I love to read. If only I had more time to do it!

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  9. Totally agree. Plus the cover is amazing!

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  10. What a fun book! I love that she was able to piece together her family's letters together.

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  11. Sharon, thank you so much for the fabulous, flattering review. I know you see and read so many books and to have you respond this way is just incredible. Thank you so much for spreading the word.

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    Replies
    1. I was right there Kathie with Jeanie and Katherine.

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Always lovely to hear your comments xx

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