Book Review: With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

What’s more important in a relationship: knowing the outside of a person, or who they are in their heart? Sarah Sundin answers resoundingly in this book that what is inside is so much more important!

The story surrounds Philomela Blake and Tom MacGilliver, who initially do not know each other at all. Each has had an incredibly unique childhood, leading to a difficulty relating to their peers and making true friendships. When each is offered the opportunity to take part in an anonymous pen pal program, they agree. The two are matched and, shortly after they begin corresponding, form a deeper friendship with one another than they have ever had in their everyday lives. In fact, despite hesitancy on both sides, their friendship turns to love. However, they only know what the other has written, not what an actual relationship would be like. With the backdrop of World War II, their romance carves out a perilous requiring faith and adaptability.

With Every Letter is a nice book. The characters are pleasant, the story has just enough intrigue and suspense to keep the pages turning, and the outcome is tidy. However, it was a little less than what I expect from Sundin. I hate to say anything negative as she is one of my favorite authors, but I simply wasn’t thoroughly impressed by With Every Letter. The romance made me cringe ever so slightly from time to time, as it seemed forced on the characters rather than organically growing between them. The aspects dealing with World War Two seemed almost sterile; even when there were difficulties, they rarely seemed to be a serious threat to the protagonists. Overall, it was a fairly good book, but not quite the stellar writing performance that I have come to expect. I finished the book with a sigh, not of contentment, but of feeling less satisfied than usual.

I recommend With Every Letter to anyone looking for a light read, World War II historical fiction with a side of Christian faith, or who has ever felt like they couldn’t belong anywhere. These characters show that what is inside is more important than what is outside, and that there is always a place to belong.

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