By Kathleen Shoop
What’s in a letter? Sometimes a letter answers a lingering question, a query that picks its way through your memory, haunting, hurting, never letting up.
For Katherine Arthur, the last letter she discovers is the one that finally reveals the truth.
Imagine a set of love letters: Hopeful, loving, sweet, intelligent, full of dreamy illusions of marriage and raising a family on the prairie…
Imagine a set of family letters: Dreary, practical, informative, full of disappointment and failure.
The Last Letter was born…
It was from reading two such sets of love and family letters that the novel, The Last Letter, grew. How was it possible that the enthusiastic people who wrote the love letters could have been reduced to penning joyless correspondence in just a few decades? How was it that their children could have misunderstood their mother’s actions for so many years, only realizing her sacrifices when she was dying?
The plot takes shape…
Planning the plot involved thinking about how families function—how parents mold family “truths” in ways they think will do the least harm. Yet, many times such actions inflict great turmoil that takes years to resolve.
Next, I attempted to bring the treacherous world of 19th century homesteading (including events like the 1888 Children’s Blizzard) to bear on the already struggling characters. Suddenly I had a book that was not a true story at all, but was inspired by what we all know to be true: the environment can be completely uncontrollable and mothers want the best for their children. They’ll do nearly anything for them, even if their choices seem wrong to others.
In order to crack open the inner workings of the misinformation that kicks off the novel, the story is told with two plotlines—one in 1905 and the other in 1887—one driving the other. The bulk of the book takes place in 1887/88 showing how the family fell apart while the 1905 plotline shows the rebirth of the mother/daughter relationship.
The Last Letter…the novel for readers who love historical fiction or a good mother/daughter tale of redemption and love.
This Post Sponsored by Kathleen Shoop – Visit Her Website at http://kshoop.com/