With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin
Flight nurse Lt. Mellie Blake is a hesitant participant in the anonymous letter-writing campaign to officers in another unit. Lt. Tom MacGilliver is the engineer who receives her letter and is excited at the chance to be his true self under the guise of anonymity. As they exchange letters, Mellie and Tom become close friends and confidants of one another. Will they ever meet, or will their relationship be forever limited to anonymous letters?
Wow. Where do I begin? And what can I say without revealing too much? Let me just say, this review has been difficult for me to write (I think I’ve written a total of 5 drafts) because I loved the book so much and there is so much I want to say!
So, shall we begin?
Professionally competent but socially awkward Mellie has always been different. With an unconventional upbringing and an exotic appearance, Mellie never learned how to make friends, so she has been lonely for most of her life. Throughout the novel, Mellie struggles with her insecurities.
Tom is an engineer with aspirations to build, but his father’s notorious reputation precedes him wherever he goes. He doesn’t want to be anything like his father, so he creates a façade of happiness. His façade is more harmful than helpful, as Tom struggles to be a leader that his men respect and follow.
What I most loved about Tom was that he has a passion for building. His desire is “to build bridges all over the world, bring people together, help people explore new places” (182). I found this to be an endearing part of his character.
Tom and Mellie exchange letters which encourage and help one another. They are supportive of each other and build each other up. I really enjoyed watching Tom and Mellie’s relationship grow through their letters.
Although Mellie struggles socially (making friends), and Tom struggles professionally (being a leader), they both ultimately have these problems because they are guarded. Because of their pasts, both of them have put up a wall in order to protect themselves from rejection. Will they have the courage to step outside of themselves and be open with other people? Will their mistakes help them realize their own imperfections and motivate them to change, or will they hide in fear after messing up?
With all that said, I really enjoyed taking my time reading this book. Normally I read pretty fast, but I wanted to read this book slowly so I could really get to know the characters. Mellie and Tom were complex characters who struggled with different things in their lives. By the end of the book, they have been through a lot which has caused them to grow both individually and in their relationship. I must also say that the supporting characters were enjoyable, and I liked seeing how each character affected Mellie and Tom and either aided or challenged their growth.
So, the question I leave you with is this: Will Tom and Mellie have the courage to reveal their identities to one another? Or will fear prevent them from having their happy ending?
Rating: 5 stars
With Every Letter is book one in the Wings of the Nightingale series. It is a must-read!