As a little girl, I was fascinated with words. The way they came alive on a page, spoke to me. So in Mrs. Lanaham’s 2nd grade class when I first laid eyes on Darryl, a small brown curly headed boy, I knew I was in love; and he needed to know.

That was more than 40+ years ago, and I’ve been fascinated with love letters ever since. There is something magical about expressing your most cherished thoughts in a way that hastens your heart.

How sacred a time it once was during medieval to early modern days when letters were not only a pastime, but an essential form of communication. Something that has become passé with the transcendence of technology and time. Rarely do we write anything nowadays without the click of a mouse, the tap of board, or hastily glued to a shiny electronic device.

That is why I was intrigued with the idea of writing the letters that became the heart and soul of A Life Apart.

A Life Apart is the story of a forbidden love that culminated with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and spanned World War II through the Civil Rights movement to present day.

It was truly a labor of love to craft the untethered devotion between Morris (a white sailor) and Beatrice (a young black woman) and do it against the backdrop of a raging and terrible war. The words came easy, from deep within the most sacred and sensitive places of my heart. I understood what Morris and Beatrice must have felt, despite my resistance to utter anything that would dishonor such a delicate and daunting time.

Opening the floodgates—that divine tunnel where words flowed, feelings emerged and love spawned—reminds me of that eight-year-old little girl that sat dreamingly in Mrs. Lanaham’s class and crafted the letter that ultimately nabbed Darryl. I felt my own heart open to an expression and a great appreciation for something that has since drifted and left our world shallow.

There is simply something about love letters that slows us, makes us connect in a way that coalesces our hearts.

So for those lucky few who cling to chivalry, I say kudos to you. And for those of us that have forgotten the essence of the truest form of expression, I say write a love letter, even if only to yourself.

Congrats to Cecilee S., Logann W., Mark V., Terri S., Joe D. and 195 other members of the Read It Forward community! Their entries were selected at random to win an Advance Reader’s Copy of A Life Apart by L.Y. Marlow.

Make sure you’re subscribed at the top of this page. You’ll get an exclusive email from us every week with info on how to enter our members-only Read It First giveaways.

L.Y. Marlow’s previous novel was a big favorite among RIFers. Check out The Strength of Four Generations of Mothers and Daughters in Color Me Butterfly.

  • http://cozycomfybooks.blogspot.ca/ Maria

    Thank you so much! I look forward reading this beautiful book!

  • Suzy

    THANK YOU! CAN’T WAIT TO READ THIS. :D

  • Gina

    Huzzah! Today, I am a WINNER! It’s sad to think of hand-written correspondence as a lost art…I’m looking forward to reading this book and being inspired to put pen to paper to share my thoughts with others. Thanks for the book!

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Gina, our pleasure! We can’t wait to hear what you think of the read. Do let us know if you’re inspired to letters, too!

  • judy

    Thank you so much! I look forward to reading A Life Apart. I love historical fiction,Thanks again.

  • Ang

    thank you..this is my second time winning and am so excited

  • Ursula

    Thank you! I am looking forward to reading and sharing this book.

  • Diane Hughes

    Thank you. I am so excited. I can’t wait to start reading this book. Love letters are a way of keeping two souls together when they have to be apart through no fault of their own

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Diane, you’re going to love this book! Can’t wait to get your review.

  • Topazshell

    I wish you were my neighbor. I like doing the same thing. I wish you success in future writing projects.

  • Ann Davison

    Inspires me to send some hand-written love letters for Valentines, and pre-order this sure-to-be-awesome book!

  • Vincenza Wall

    I won this and anxiously awaiting its arrival!

  • http://cozycomfybooks.blogspot.ca/ Maria

    Still waiting for this book! How long does it take to arrive usually?

  • Barbara M.

    Thank you for the opportunity to read A Life Apart! I enjoyed reading this book and appreciated the historical aspects. My favorite character was Beatrice even though she was the “other” woman. She is a compassionate and forgiving woman who led a difficult life and in spite of the anger, bitterness, and disappointment she sometimes felt, she never purposely allowed those feelings to affect/influence her twin daughters. I really liked the premise of this book but I felt that the relationships between members of the two families were too tidy and too easily reconciled. i also had a hard time with Morris – he wanted it all but didnt want to sacrifice anything and ended up hurting everyone!