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Monday, August 22, 2016
REVIEWS REVISITED - The Last Letter by Kathleen Shoop
The Last Letter
by Kathleen Shoop
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"
'an absolutely easy'
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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