Tuesday, May 17, 2011

'The Last Letter' by Kathleen Shoop (Riveting Historical Fiction!)

A Father’s Deceit
A Husband’s Betrayal
A Loved One’s Death
A Mother’s Choice
A Daughter’s Resentment
A Time to Forgive
For every daughter who thinks she knows her mother’s story…

click here for summary of novel.

My Thoughts:
I was immediately drawn into this story and couldn't stop thinking about it until I turned the very last satisfying page. There were a few things that surprised me while reading this one.
  • I've been blown away by debut books this year....literally blown away and this one is no exception!
  • There is no way that I could've survived out in the prairie. My hats off to all of the pioneer men and women who braved the elements and were able to carve out a life for themselves in this harsh and unforgiving landscape.
  • Weather is deceitful. One minute the sun is shining and the next thing you know locusts are blocking out the sun and descending from what seems like nowhere to eat and destroy everything you've worked so hard to acquire. 
  • The Children's Blizzard of 1888 is harrowing...reading about it scared me.
  • Being a mother was a cruel and thankless job. There was so much heartbreak for a woman...I just don't know if I would have been strong enough to endure this life.
This is the book for all of you who grew up reading Laura Ingalls Wilder and wanting to be just like Laura. Except, this is a grown-up version of Little House on the's stark, harsh, truthful, and the storyline keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Recommend? Absolutely!!! For those that have an ereader this book is only 99 cents!!! It  will be the best dollar you spend....I guarantee it! I judge a book on whether or not it elicits emotion from me...this one did!

Kindle Link
Nook Link

Rating: 9/10

Author: Kathleen Shoop
Published: May 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 367
Genre: Gripping Historical Fiction
ISBN:  978-1456347208
*Uncorrected Advance Copy 
Kathleen Shoop is a Language Arts Coach with a PhD in Reading Education. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, with her husband and two children. Kathleen has published stories in four Chicken Soup for the Soul books, writes regularly in Pittsburgh Magazine and has contributed articles to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. The Last Letter is her debut novel.

Disclaimer:Thank you to Jessica @ for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel

© 2011, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I love historical fiction and this one sounds good - you describe it as riveting. I'm sure life on the prairie during those times was especially hard for women.

  2. Love the genre listed 'gripping' historical fiction! :)

    I agree with your observations about life on the praire in the 1800's.. so tough.

    I am adding this book to my list.

  3. Wowwwww! That sounds GOOD!! And I just read about the blizzard...scary stuff! :):):):):):):):):):):):)

  4. This sounds great... if I had an e-reader, I would spend the dollar immediately! For now, it goes on my wish list ;-)

  5. I don't think I would have made it back then either. This sounds good to me!

  6. I always think the exact same thing whenever I read about pioneers - NO WAY I could have survived!

  7. I'm turning on my kindle--I'd like to read a grown up Laura Ingalls. Nice review.

  8. This book sounds amazing, Staci. I enjoy reading about the realities of everyday life in the past, and this seems authentic and compelling. I, too, take my hat off to the strong women of our past -- not sure I would be up for the task. Great review!

  9. You know I love historical fiction! I've read some really great debut this year too.

  10. This one sounds so lovely. And, no, I would not have made it in those days. The heat alone. I can remember being so warm at both my grandparents houses in the Texas Panhandle in summers. Neither had A/C and it was tough. That's a minor issue, I know, but still.

    Off to see about getting it for my Kindle. Thanks for sharing, Staci!

  11. This sounds fabulous!

    You've been tagged here:


  12. This definitely sounds like a book I would love. I think I have a copy somewhere but who can resist .99 for the Kindle version. lol. Glad you enjoyed it so much!

  13. Then it sure must be harsh cos I remember reading the Little books and found them so harsh and bleak with all the horrid stuff happening

  14. I was enthralled by the Children's Blizzard of 1888. I read it during the winter, and I couldn't get over it. Very sad.

  15. I like to think I'm tough enough to have survived back then, trekking out west, but when I read books likethis I know that I would have folded by the time we got to Missouri :)

  16. Ooh Ooh, I skimmed your review because I have this one up soon but the "riveting historical fiction" & 9/10 rating has me excited to start on it :)

  17. Oh love the historical aspect of this one and I am sure that I would never have made a great pioneer woman either.

  18. Oh, I'll remember this one for the next time I have a craving for historical fiction!

  19. I just bought this for my Kindle and visited her website. I'm looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for telling me about it Staci.

  20. This sounds like such a great read. You've convinced me that I must read this book at some point...adding it to the wishlist now. What a great review!

  21. This does sound like a good book. Glad to see that you have had a few books in a row that you have really liked!

  22. Sounds good. Added it to my wishlist.

  23. I like list of thoughts. I loved Little House on the Prairie so I
    will definitely look this one up.
    I would like to say I would survive on the Prairie, but who knows?
    Thanks Staci.

  24. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I just bought it for Ms. Kindy. :)

  25. message 1: by Kathleen (new)
    4 hours, 41 min ago

    Kathleen Shoop Hi Staci,
    I don't know if it's correct author protocol to respond to reviews, but I just wanted to say thanks for reading and thanks for the fantastic review. I'm so glad the book was good for you and that you kept turning the pages! As a new writer, the good reviews are SO good to get. Thank you.

  26. OMG! I can only hope that all of your kind readers actually like the book as much as you! Wow, what a response! I know that with fiction, any book really, every reader is different and some love and some hate the very same book. I've donned my thick skin. But, thank you all for your before-reading enthusiasm and thank you, Staci, for the thoughtful review. I'm touched beyond words.


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