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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Letter from Belleau Wood is the seventh book in the Covington Chronicles by Mary Lou Cheatham, a historical novel with strong themes and compelling characters. Trudy Cameron and Jeremy Smitherlin became sweethearts while in elementary school and their connection became stronger after their families experienced hardship. Trudy drew close to Will, Jeremy’s brother. But they separated from each other when they all chose to pursue an education at different colleges. Jeremy’s dream of becoming a journalist compelled him to study hard and that made him neglect Trudy, but Lance, Will’s roommate, eventually won her heart. When the US declared war on Germany, Lance, Jeremy, and Will decided to go and fight, but Trudy wasn't allowed to join them. After a short, passionate courtship she eloped with Lance. The story follows their experiences of war and tragedy.
This is a beautifully written historical novel that captures the period of the Great War. The story begins with the childhood of the characters and my sympathy was immediately drawn to Trudy who couldn’t help but be worried about her parents' fighting, frustrated to the point that she “wished papa would die.” The setting, especially in its historical elements, is well-written. The author uses dialogues to bring life into the story and they augment the realism that permeates the writing. The prose is crisp and it allows the elements of the story to stand out. The characters are sophisticated and realistic and I cared for them. The deft handling of themes of family, love, war, and friendship, together with parenting and family dynamics, constitute one of the strong points of this novel. Letter from Belleau Wood is the seventh in the series but I enjoyed it as a standalone story; well-paced and filled with huge emotional doses.