The Last Letter Book Review

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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My Review:
I received a free copy of this novel for my honest and unbiased review. 

“The Last Letter” is a touching story of love, loss, and forgiveness.  Katherine is the one reflecting on her past.  Trying to figure out when the love she once had for her mother disappeared.  The story toggles between 1887and present day 1905. Will she be able to find forgiveness and love before the cancer consumes Jeanie?

Frank Authur has big dreams, always the dreamer with bright ideas.  His latest has uprooted his wife and three children from their life of luxury to stake a claim on 133 acres of land in the Dakotas.  In a matter of weeks, the Authurs are forced to adjust to the pioneer lifestyle, living in an underground hovel. He’s determined to make the most of it, but will they survive??

Jeanie is determined to make their new life work.  She’s recently realized she’s pregnant with a baby they cannot afford.  She tries to bring her sophistication to the prairies, as she designs and sews fashionable yet practical clothing for her neighbors.

Lutie and Ruthie Moore are sisters living on the prairie.  While Ruthie works her gardens and does chores, she doesn’t feel attractive enough to get a man.  Lutie, on the other hand, dreams of finding a man to whisk her away from it all. Apparently, it’s every man she encounters.

The Hunts are an unusual Quaker couple.  While Mrs. Hunt smokes, sniffs, or eats Opium, and happens to be the village preacher, her darling husband is helping out the other homesteaders with whatever chore that requires assistance.

Mr. Templeton is a ruggedly handsome and single homesteader.  He’s always there to give a hand when needed and even when it isn’t.

James is the oldest of the Arthur children.  He has an unwavering interest in the weather.  Because of this, he and Mr. Templeton become fast friends as he teaches the preteen how to forecast.

Tommy is twin to Katherine, and is drawn to the Hunt’s Sunday services.  He’s decided there is a God and everything is in His hands.

I love Historical Fiction novels, and once again Kathleen Shoop does not disappoint.  Her story was easy to follow, although toggled from pasted to present.  The descriptions of the homes and area were extremely accurate to the pioneering days, including all of the struggles with nature that they had.  The characters were each unique in personalities, which was something I loved about this novel.  Because of this, I could not put the book down; I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next to these people that were ill prepared for their new life.

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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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.


THREE Lucky Winners will each receive a $15 Amazon Giftcard,
courtesy of author of The Last Letter, Kathleen Shoop
Ending on Sunday 3rd August at 11.59pm EST
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