"I hope this letter gets to you quickly. We are always waiting, aren't we? Perhaps the greatest gift this war has given us is the anticipation..."
It's January 1943 when Rita Vincenzo receives her first letter from Glory Whitehall. Glory is an effervescent young mother, impulsive and free as a bird. Rita is a sensible professor's wife with a love of gardening and a generous, old soul. Glory comes from New England society; Rita lives in Iowa, trying to make ends meet. They have nothing in common except one powerful bond: the men they love are fighting in a war a world away from home.
Brought together by an unlikely twist of fate, Glory and Rita begin a remarkable correspondence. The friendship forged by their letters allows them to survive the loneliness and uncertainty of waiting on the home front, and gives them the courage to face the battles raging in their very own backyards. Connected across the country by the lifeline of the written word, each woman finds her life profoundly altered by the other’s unwavering support.
When I was younger, I had a pen pal. I found her in one of those teen magazines (Bop!, Tiger, you know then ones) when they used to have a whole page in the back dedicated to finding a pen pal. When I think back to it now, I can't believe how they allowed children to publish their names and addresses in hopes of receiving a letter. But back then, there was nothing I loved more than running to the mailbox hoping to find a letter from my friend. Even though it has been over twenty years, I can still remember her name and where she lived.
I'll Be Seeing You brought me back to those times when there was no internet and the thrill of receiving a handwritten letter from your friend was just as amazing as reading that letter. It's the 1940's and Glory and Rita have both signed up with local organizations in hopes of finding a friend on the other end. Both of their husbands have gone off to fight in the war, and Rita's only son has gone too. Glory is a young mother with two small children who is struggling with being a single mother in such a hard time.
Even though I'm still somewhat young myself, I still connected with both of these women equally. You get a sense right away that they are both determined women, wanting only to support their husbands and even those around them. Even though they don't always make the best decisions, I could understand why they made them and couldn't fault them for it.
One of my favorite things about this book is that it is told in letters between the women and in letters to their husbands. It was just like sitting down with a friend and having a conversation. This only made the story more sincere and I couldn't help but laugh at their stories as if they were telling them directly to me.
I'll admit that I was a little nervous about how the authors were going to wrap up the story, but I shouldn't have worried. I never cry at books, but this one had me holding in those tears as hard as I could. I turned the last page with such a feeling of love and relief that I just wanted to go back to the beginning and start all over again.
Overall, this book was truly an amazing read. While there are many books centered around WWII, I'll Be Seeing You is a rare kind of telling. We don't often hear from the family's view and it really opened my eyes. The bond between Rita and Glory is special, something all women hope to find in their lifetime. This would be a perfect gift for a mother, sister or a best friend. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially those with a love for women's fiction.
You can also download the short story prequel, This Heart of Mine, for free at Amazon!
*I received this book for free in exchange of my honest review. This did not influence my opinion in any way and all views and opinions expressed are 100% my own.