Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: With Every Letter

With Every Letter
By Sarah Sundin
Published: September 1, 2012

My review:

Lt. Mellie Blake's unusual upbringing and racial heritage sets her apart from other women and makes it hard for her to find friends. She also grew up surrounded by men after her mother deserted her so she doesn't know how to interact with the other nurses. When her supervisor pushes her to participate in an anonymous letter exchange program with servicemen, Mellie is reluctant at first and doesn't expect to make a friend. Lt. Tom MacGilliver has his own reasons for appreciating anonymity because of his infamous father, whose name he shares. As the two of them get to know each other, they find themselves taking down their defenses but it will take a lot of trust to develop a real relationship.

With Every Letter is inspired by the movie The Shop Around the Corner (also the basis for the more modern Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film You've Got Mail). The story takes place in the U.S. and North Africa during WWII. Mellie is training to be a flight nurse and she and her fellow nurse face a lot of prejudice and judgment from the doctors and other male military personnel. Mellie also has to deal with the difficult relationships among her coworkers as she made a big blunder when she first met them and she keeps rejecting the few overtures of friendship that she gets. Tom also has difficulties as an officer in the Engineer Aviation Battalion. He is afraid to show anger so he always jokes around and smiles and his men don't take him seriously as a leader. 

What I liked about this book was the way that Tom and Mellie could be real with each other and help each other with their issues. I particularly felt bad for Tom's plight and the baggage he carried around because of his dad. Mellie however was sometimes annoying. She was pretty naive which is partly due to her isolated upbringing  but not entirely excusable. Her decision to never cut her hair because her dad thought it would lead to a loss of character was kind of stupid. While I felt sorry for her I also thought she brought a lot of it on herself. She didn't live up to my expectations as a character compared to the female protagonists in Sarah Sundin's other novels.

Overall I liked this book and I liked learning more about the flight nurses and their struggle to prove themselves. I also thought it was great to see Mellie and Tom grow over the course of the story through their friendship and eventual romance. It was a nice plot device. I did wish that Mellie was a stronger character and less of a mouse (though she definitely improved by the end). It was great to see her stand up for herself finally. This is the first book in a series and I'm not sure if Mellie will be a main character in the sequel but I do think she still has some growing to do in terms of dealing with her relationship with her dad and her feelings about her mom. 


  1. I love historical fiction, especially WWII and this sounds pretty interesting. I love that it's compared to You've Got Mail- love that movie! I'm glad Mellie grew up a bit and started to act stronger by the end- that would drive me nuts if she didn't! I will have to check this one out. Great review, Christina!

  2. Disappointed to hear about Mellie-it's so important to me to like the female MC and I'm now a little worried that I won't. I will probably start with a different Sundin when I do decide to dive into her books.


Reading Extensively is now an award free blog. Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment. I enjoy receiving feedback! Due to increase in spam, I've enabled comment moderation. Sorry for any inconvenience!