Katherine Arthur’s mother arrives on her doorstep, dying, 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, and far from the homestead, 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?
2011 Gold Medal, Best Regional Fiction–MidwestUSA “Best Books 2011” Awards:
Finalist, Best New FictionNational Indie Excellence Book Awards:
2011 Finalist Award–Historical Fiction
2011 Finalist Award–Regional FictionInternational Book Awards:
2011 Finalist Award–Historical Fiction
2011 Finalist Award–Best New FictionFrom the reviewers:
As a voracious reader, I know immediately if an author has what it takes to capture my attention and win my loyalty, and Ms. Shoop is definitely one of those authors. This author’s style and voice are unique, and often gritty, her narrative and dialogue true to the period. Her grasp of life on the prairie is very good, and her detail not only rich, but honest. She does her homework. – S.K. McClafferty
I absolutely loved this Kindle book. As I started reading it and it went back to 1887, I realized the time frame and place was right for another excellent nonfiction book, “The Children’s Blizzard” which I read a few years ago. Without giving any more away, suffice it to say I was right. “The Last Letter” was so difficult to put down and I thought the writing was great. – Ilene Kreider
This book is as good as it sounds..love, duty, unrequited love, and daily fortitude of life on the prairies..if you’re into pioneering stories, which I am! I saw it mentioned somewhere else, and knew I had to have it…found it on Amazon.com for a great price. Great read! – Linda Pfeffer
This is a very eye-opening book as to how people actually lived on the prairies of the United States when territories were first being settled. When this family moved into their “Home” the former resident left a sign for them that read, “Welcome to Hell”. They should have turned and ran all the way back home, but they chose to stay out of stubbornness, pride, and wishful thinking. This was a great book. It’s definitely not “LIttle House on the Prairie” with happy endings at the end of every episode, but I’m glad I read it and highly recommend it. – Michelle Wegner
After the Fog is a complex novel of family and devotion, showing how the forces of nature–a weather pattern–and industry, pollution, can collide to stress family relationships and inflame old personal issues in people, issues they thought had been resolved or forever buried.
Thank you for reading about me here and for purchasing my novel! I’m married with two children. I’ve been seriously writing for almost a decade although I dabbled much earlier than that! I’ve had short stories published in four Chicken Soup for the Soul books, am a regular contributor to a local magazine, Pittsburgh Parent, and have had essays in local newspapers as well.I have a PhD in Reading Education and currently work as a Language Arts Coach at a school in Pittsburgh. I work with teachers and their students in grades k-8 and am lucky to learn something new from them every time I walk through their doors.
My first novel, The Last Letter (2011 IPPY Gold Medal–Regional Fiction, Midwest, 2011 Indie Excellence Finalist Award for Historical Fiction and Regional Fiction, 2011 International Book Awards Finalist for Historical Fiction and Best New Fiction), was a fascinating trip through history, punctuated with fictional characters and events. The idea for the story grew from my great-great grandmother’s letters (see My Dear Frank for the complete set of letters!) written during the year of her engagement to Frank Arthur. The beautiful letters are the inspiration for the novel, the seed from which The Last Letter’s characters and their voices grew.
I’m considering revisiting my characters and setting of The Last Letter for a future book, but I hope readers will enjoy the fact I write about varied eras and places and that they will love each book for it’s unique setting and time.
And here, in the comfort of your own browser, is your free sample of Kathleen Shoop’s The Last Letter: