Letters From Home

Written by Kristina McMorris
Review by Audrey Braver

In the summer of 1944 three roommates, Liz and Julie, who both come from a privileged background, and Betty, raised on the wrong side of the tracks, are facing, analyzing and redefining their futures. Liz is engaged to her childhood sweetheart and Julie’s fiancé is in the navy serving on a battleship. Betty’s situation is different. She has ambitions beyond just marriage. She is an exceptionally beautiful, talented singer who performs at the local USO where, one night, Liz and Betty meet a GI, Morgan McLain.

Despite her engagement, Liz finds Morgan attractive. However, it is Betty who sends him her photograph and address. When Morgan finally responds to Betty, she barely remembers him and asks Liz to answer his letter for her. Liz’s letters surprise Morgan by their depth and perception. Still thinking he is corresponding with Betty, he begins to fall in love with her, while Liz is falling in love with him and doubting all the plans she has for her future. In the meantime, Julie, a talented wannabe dress designer, turns down an internship at Vogue magazine so she can remain true to her fiancé and their plans of marriage. Betty, seeking the universal approval that a uniform elicits, enlists in the WACs and is sent to the Pacific. When the war ends, the return to peace requires adjustments on everyone’s part.

This is a debut novel for McMorris, who writes of the people and the period with a great deal of insight and compassion. Through the three heroines she captures a cross-section of the myriad experiences and coping mechanisms of the women left behind with their hopes and dreams and fears.