Book Review: The Pieces We Keep

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Thank you very much to Kristina McMorris for sending The Pieces We Keep to us. This is the second time we’ve been treated to her work and again all I have to say is she is a wonderful, wonderful writer. She deserves a great and wide readership. I absolutely loved The Pieces We Keep. More than Bridge of Scarlet Leaves? I don’t know, I can’t really say that at all. For, while they are both related to WWII, they are two very different stories. I would just have to recommend highly to read both (and Letters from Home for certain. I know I will be picking that one up soon)!

Kristina sent a message asking if we would be interested in reading her latest novel and attached the cover picture that you see on your left. With this arresting cover but also the knowledge of how entranced I was with Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, the answer was a resounding absolutely! There was never any disappointment in that decision either. Once again the reader is treated to rich and wonderful characters and a storyline that keeps you mesmerized. I’ve seen McMorris’ work categorized in the romance genre. I do not feel that is accurate, but rather feel it should be considered as fine, fine pieces of historical fiction with perfect hints of mystery and suspense.

The Pieces We Keep is an expertly woven tale of two women seemingly unrelated yet tied together 70 years apart. Audra is a young and grieving widow living in the current day and Vivian is the daughter of an American diplomat living in London just before WWII breaks. Just how these two women are connected is slowly and skillfully revealed through alternating chapters.

Audra is still grieving over the sudden loss of her husband and is about to travel with her young son, Jack to embark on a new life. However, Jack grows increasingly anxious about flying and causes a great disturbance that forces the plane to return to the gate and remove Audra and Jack. This is only the start of problems that arise with Jack. He begins to experience horrific night terrors that cause him and Audra physical harm. Audra first blames it on the war memorabilia her husband’s father has given him. Jack has an almost unnatural knowledge about WWII planes, that Audra thinks this is the reason he is so terrified to fly.  At school, Jack is increasingly becoming a problem student. He is creating disturbing artwork, he is repeating disturbing stories and his night terrors intensify and contain names and phrases that are a complete mystery to Audra.

Each chapter alternates between this story of Audra and Jack and to the story with Vivian. Vivian longs to return to America, but that was before she becomes deeply involved with a man named Isaak. Isaak is a bit of a mystery at times for Vivian, but soon learns of his family’s origins and their fate as they attempt to escape Germany. He enlists the help of Vivian, telling her he loves her deeply and wishes to be with her forever, but first he must go to Berlin to help his family. Shortly after this, Isaak disappears, and Vivian and her mother return to the US. Here, Vivian pines for the lost love of Isaak. Eventually she frees her heart and mind of him and falls in love with her best friend and roommates brother. She is all but able to now put Isaak in the past and move forward, when, inexplicably Isaak appears in the US, but wearing the Nazi uniform. A myriad of events unfold putting Vivian at great risk for both her heart and physical well-being. What will she do? What will come of her current relationship? Will she break his heart and return to Isaak? Is Isaak being completely truthful?

At the end of each chapter we are treated to these cliffhangers that segue into the next chapter, but that are occurring in the opposite time period. The alternating chapters makes for fantastic reading, with many smatterings of suspense and for an overall story that you cannot put down. You desperately want to keep reading so you can return to either 1942, or 2012 and find out how these pieces connect. Kristina McMorris pulls off this complex layering of these increasingly intertwined stories with considerable ease. Each chapter slowly reveals the connection, the secrets, and the reasons why Audra and Vivian’s lives become intertwined or connected.

I loved, loved, loved Vivian and the chapters taking place during WWII. My love for Audra’s story grew considerably as I contined reading. Her friendship with her co-worker Tess and how she slowly builds understanding for what is happening with her son makes for great reading. McMorris is a master at creating vivid and very well drawn and liked characters. They live all around you and it is as though you are sitting across from them watching their lives unfold. This is her true strength, but she is also very adept at developing great, great stories, ones where you want nothing more than to invest your full attention to them. I absolutely loved reading it, and now that I’ve closed the pages I can honestly say I miss my time with Vivian and Audra. The Pieces We Keep will be a book I re-read again.

If you act now, you may be able to have the fantastic opportunity to win a copy of The Pieces We Keep! Email to win one of 5 copies of the
book! To learn more visit: and watch a special trailer on the highly anticipated novel. And visit Kristina’s website: