Fall, where are you? I get teasers of cooler weather, but you haven't arrived yet.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The Last Letter...Review
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?
I've seen so many good reviews of this book and I tried. I really tried.
Fiction but inspired by letters and the lives of the authors great-great grandparents, the story has a lot of potential, but ultimately it's just tragic. Jeanie was a strong woman who did the best she could with what she was given and the consequences of her choices affected her family forever. Unfortunately, like the other characters in the book, she wasn't at all likeable. I never felt any connection or sympathy for her or Katherine.
I know that life on the frontier was difficult and full of harsh realities. The famous blizzard of 1888 is well known and horrific in its aftermath. Yet, with so many stories of the pioneers and those who came west, there is hope amidst trials along with love and joy in family. In this story, there was never any hope. These characters had difficult, horrible lives and experiences that left them bitter and angry. The mother/daughter relationship didn't inspire me, it frustrated me.
Some will find it inspiring that forgiveness and understanding come almost when its too late, but I just found it sad and depressing.
Thanks to Jessica at BookSparks PR for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Kathleen Shoop here. You can purchase your own copy here.
You can find other perspectives and positive reviews at 5 Minutes for Books, Life in the Thumb, Manic Mommy, Bless Their Hearts Mom, and Hanging Off the Wire.