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I'll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Haynes and Loretta Nyhan

I'll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan is the other book that I was reading while I read My Name Is Mina.  I liked I'll Be Seeing You a lot better than that Mina book.  This is the kind of book that sneaks up on you and sucks you in before you realize what's happening.  It's a pretty fast read and once the letters start going back and forth between the two women, it turns into a page turner because you want to find out what's going to happen in their lives and will their men make it home from the war and then what's going happen next when they do come home and wait, it's the end of the book?!  But what happens in the post-war years to these women and their families?

According to book jacket, the story reflects the authors' own story, and there's an interview at the end of the book that explains this.  Apparently, the authors are penpals over email who met through one of their blogs.  As of the day of the interview they had not yet met.  I thought that was interesting, and I wanted to share it.

The story is set during the tumultuous and uncertain years of the second world war, and it tells the story of the power of friendship among women, specifically the power of a long distance friendship forged through many, many letters.  Glory Whitehall is a young wife and mother whose husband enlists in the army when America declares war.  Left behind at their home in Massachusetts with a toddler son, she awaits the imminent birth of her second child and news from her husband.  Rita Vincenzo is the wife of a college professor who enlists despite being too old for the draft.  He serves as a medic and is shipped overseas.  Rita is left behind in Iowa when both her husband and then their son enlist in different branches of the military and are shipped overseas to opposite fronts of the war.

Glory and Rita are brought together by a penpal program that aims to connect women in similar wartime situations--maintaining the home front while their husbands go off to war.  Happenstance connects Glory and Rita and from this happy coincidence a strong and vital friendship is born.  It is this strong bond of friendship that each woman will need at various times throughout this harrowing war to carry them through to the other side.  It is over many letters, through many trials and several years across thousands of miles that these two women offer each other the emotional support and advice that will sustain them as they strive to overcome and survive personal tragedy and dramas.

The story is told as a series of letters written by the two women to each other, to their husbands, and one of their sons, and this is one of the reasons that the novel reads fast.  The story rather effortlessly draws the reader into these women's lives.  I recommend you check out this book the next time you're at the library.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie

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