Review: The Pieces We Keep

January 16, 2014 book review, dual story lines, memory, night terrors, Parenting, reincarnation, WWII 4

Written By:  Kristina McMorris

Published By:  Kensington Publishing  November 26, 2013

Length: 464 pages

Source:  Publisher

Two years have done little to ease veterinarian Audra Hughes’s grief over her husband’s untimely death. Eager for a fresh start, Audra plans to leave Portland for a new job in Philadelphia. Her seven-year-old son, Jack, seems apprehensive about flying—but it’s just the beginning of an anxiety that grows to consume him.
As Jack’s fears continue to surface in recurring and violent nightmares, Audra hardly recognizes the introverted boy he has become. Desperate, she traces snippets of information unearthed in Jack’s dreams, leading her to Sean Malloy, a struggling US Army veteran wounded in Afghanistan. Together they unravel a mystery dating back to World War II, and uncover old family secrets that still have the strength to wound—and perhaps, at last, to heal.(goodreads)

My Thoughts:
The story of Audra and Jack is told alternately with the story of Vivian James. Vivian is a young American woman living in London at the begging of WWII.  She is in love with Isaak, who can’t be with her yet. His family is in Germany and he must go to them.  She is sent back to America before war in Europe breaks out.  Vivian separates from her family but never forgets her first love.

These stories are intertwined, and woven in such a way I didn’t necessarily see how they would meet. 
What will be apparent to most readers first is the beautiful imagery and wording in this book. McMorris has created characters that pull at your heart as they struggle for their own peace and passion.  The turmoil that Audra felt as no one else had seen what Jack was going through with his night terrors was frightening. There were those who tried to take him away from her.  Vivian believes her beloved Isaak will return to her, but is her who she really thought he was? McMorris brings the reality of Nazi spies infiltrating our country, a little discussed piece of history. Eventually, Vivian falls in love with another man, her best friend’s brother, she is surprised by her feelings, how strong they are.

As a mother I was drawn to Audra and her plight, wanting to help her son, not understanding how he could possibly have memories of years ago, or symptoms of post traumatic stress. Vivian’s story of love and some loss is one that just brings some nostalgia and history to this book. My own parents were a WWII love story, married while my dad was serving in the Navy. I loved how Kristina McMorris brought these two stories together, how Audra opens up her heart to another relationship. 

This is the first book I’ve read by Kristina McMorris, and I’m anxious to read her back list!! Thank you so much Kristina for taking me on the wonderful journey of this book. 

4 Responses to “Review: The Pieces We Keep”

  1. Literary Feline

    This sounds like something I would enjoy reading. I have another of the author’s books in my TBR collection I’m hoping to get to this year. Bridge of Scarlet Leaves.

  2. Meg @ write meg!

    I’ve had this one in my stacks for a little while and am anxious to get to it! I really enjoyed McMorris’ Bridge of Scarlet Leaves (hopefully I’m getting the title right?), so I have a hunch I’ll love this one.

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