kristina McMorris

Letters from Home

It's 1944, and although foreign battles are escalating, the war seems distant in every way to sensible college student Liz Stephens. That is, until her chance encounter with charming infantryman Morgan McClain at a USO dance in Chicago. Their deep connection feels mutual to Liz, but to her dismay, her bombshell roommate Betty is the one who promises to write the deploying soldier.

Singer Betty Cordell delights in the prospect of a dashing serviceman filling her life with adventure, marital bliss, and societal circles outranking her modest roots. It only makes sense for her to beg Liz for help penning an eloquent letter to Morgan, now bound for a dangerous front. After all, she's certain the beauty of Liz's ghostwritten prose would ensure a courtship as enviable as their roommate Julia's relationship with her beloved sailor–and Betty is right, though not how she foresees.

Likewise, Julia Renard's betrothal is more complicated than it appears. When tempting opportunities arise, the future she always envisioned as a devoted wife and mother risks derailment. And yet, as the Allies edge toward victory, every person–through heart-wrenching choices and life-altering letters–will discover within themselves profound courage, bittersweet hope, and the true meaning of home.


Special Honors

  • Goodreads Choice Awards Semifinalist for Best Historical Fiction
  • Must-read selection in Woman's Day magazine
  • Reader's Digest Condensed Book Selection
  • Doubleday and Literary Guild Book Club Selection
  • Dixie Kane Memorial Award Winner
  • Kay Snow Fiction Award Winner
  • Touch of Magic Award Winner
  • Golden Palm Award Winner
  • Night Owl Reviews Top Pick
  • Coffee Time Reviewer's Recommend Award
  • Fresh Fiction Fresh Pic

Behind the Story

McFerrensDuring a weekend visit several years ago, I interviewed my maternal grandmother for the biographical section of a self-published cookbook intended as a Christmas gift for the family. It was then that I learned that she and my late grandfather had dated only twice before they married during World War II, and that their relationship had developed almost entirely through an exchange of letters. She then pulled from her closet the sailor's yellowed and wrinkled pages, each filled with the heartfelt words of an eighteen-year-old farm boy who didn't know if he would ever make it back.

Kristina with GrandmaOn the drive home, I began to wonder how well you could really know someone through letters alone. What if my grandparents had been less than truthful in those pages? But then I tucked the thoughts away, where they quietly simmered for years until a 1940s film brought them back into focus. Soon I had the premise for what would become my first novel, my own love letter of sorts to an incredible generation we're losing much too quickly.

Mail Call

With Grandma Jean's blessing, here are a few excerpts from courtship letters sent by her beloved late husband, Merle McPherren. Little did he know that sixty years later the messages he penned during his wartime naval service would change his granddaughter's life as well.


"An absolutely lovely debut novel filled with endearing characters and lively descriptions. Fans of World War II romantic fiction will definitely enjoy this fast-paced story."
Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale
"This sweeping debut novel, told through letters and alternating points of view, is ambitious and compelling...will appeal to historical fiction fans hungry for a romance of the 'Greatest Generation.'"
Publishers Weekly
"A gripping and memorable story, it is a timeless lesson in love and loss and the moments that shape our lives."
Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris
"This poignant novel digs deep into the emotional and physical effects of war and is well written and well researched."
New York Journal of Books
"An absorbing debut, combining the emotional power of The Notebook with the stirring history and drama of Saving Private Ryan. Kristina McMorris gives us a novel to savor and remember."
Ben Sherwood, New York Times bestselling author of The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud
"Propelled by the epic sweep of world war, yet warmed by intimate human moments, this story will linger in the reader's memory long after the last page is turned."
Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"McMorris gives readers a poignant and resonant 'Greatest Generation' story of love and loss during wartime."
"A tough book to put down! Sprinkled with fabulous historical detail of the WWII era and true-to-life characters, Letters from Home is a beautifully told story."
RT Book Reviews
"An intimate, touching, and romantic story of the Greatest Generation."
Jill Barnett, New York Times bestselling author
"A romantic, charming debut...kept me happily devouring pages until the end."
Ellen Baker, author of Keeping the House
"This is a debut novel for McMorris, who writes of the people and the period with a great deal of insight and compassion."
Historical Novels Review
"Interspersing unflinching images of combat with more intimate, emotional scenes personalizes this historical period and will touch your heart...I enjoyed this book from beginning to end."
Fresh Fiction
"From beginning to end, McMorris spins a compelling tale of chemistry, love, deception, and the labyrinth of emotions that leads to the human heart."
James Michael Pratt, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Valentine