10 April 2013

I'll Be Seeing You; Suzanne Hayes Palmieri

I'll Be Seeing YouI'll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes Palmieri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's obvious why this is being compared to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (which I loved) because it's an epistolary novel set during WWII. The difference is that this one is set in the US, and the pretext that starts the book is a woman whose husband is fighting has reached out to another in her situation (something set up by a women's group? the USO? that part's unclear). There's little here that deals with culture, unless one considers wartime recipes culture.

The mere fact that these two women have husbands at war is enough to get the conversation going, but it's definitely one of those relationships that would not have existed otherwise, as Rita and Glory not only live far apart but inhabit very different lives (only towards the last half do we learn Glory's maiden name, one that resonates in American history at an 'elite' name). Despite that, the two become very, very close, sharing their deepest thoughts and secrets, hopes and fears. While much of what they talk about is mundane - for example, Rita asking Glory's son Robbie to draw something for her window - there are moments of real emotion that will grab the reader. And then there are the recipes, some of which I want to try now!

What dropped this from a 5 star was that at times there was a whiff of "what else can we put in that highlights their differences, the era and 'modern' issues" about the letters, and the voices didn't sound all that different (unlike the voices in Guernsey).

ARC provided by publisher.

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