BEACHMONT LETTERS by Cathleen Twomey


Age Range: 11 - 15
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While WWII rages on, Americans are making sacrifices to help the war effort; 17-year-old Eleanor Driscoll’s sacrifices are not optional. Severely burned in a fire while celebrating her 16th birthday, a fire that also claimed her devoted father, Eleanor now deals with averted eyes, ridicule, and the misconception that she’s now an invalid. What keeps Eleanor’s spirit alive is correspondence with Robert, a young soldier waiting to be sent to Europe, with whom she shares her thoughts and feelings—except those related to the fire. As she begins a summer job, makes new friends, and reveals her scarred face to the world more and more, she falls in love with Robert and trusts that he can accept her real self. When tragedy from the war strikes Eleanor’s ocean-front town, she observes how those around her deal with their own pain and grief and finds the determination to go on with life in her own bravery, gift for writing, and supportive family and friends. Twomey (Charlotte’s Choice, not reviewed) blends expressions and popular culture from the time period with realistic characters and sentiments. The author also develops many interesting story lines, from the details of the fire to Eleanor’s reverie and even anger toward her father to Robert’s own secret. Part historical fiction, part romance, this moving tale for teenage girls has a gratifying conclusion refreshingly free of clichés. (Historical fiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-59078-050-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2003