Summary and book reviews of I'll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes

I'll Be Seeing You

By Suzanne Hayes, Loretta Nyhan

I'll Be Seeing You
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  • Paperback: May 2013,
    336 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Tomp

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Book Summary

"I hope this letter gets to you quickly. We are always waiting, aren't we? Perhaps the greatest gift this war has given us is the anticipation…"

It's January 1943 when Rita Vincenzo receives her first letter from Glory Whitehall. Glory is an effervescent young mother, impulsive and free as a bird. Rita is a sensible professor's wife with a love of gardening and a generous, old soul. Glory comes from New England society; Rita lives in Iowa, trying to make ends meet. They have nothing in common except one powerful bond: the men they love are fighting in a war a world away from home.

Brought together by an unlikely twist of fate, Glory and Rita begin a remarkable correspondence. The friendship forged by their letters allows them to survive the loneliness and uncertainty of waiting on the home front, and gives them the courage to face the battles raging in their very own backyards. Connected across the country by the lifeline of the written word, each woman finds her life profoundly altered by the other's unwavering support.

A collaboration of two authors whose own beautiful story mirrors that on the page, I'll Be Seeing You is a deeply moving union of style and charm. Filled with unforgettable characters and grace, it is a timeless celebration of friendship and the strength and solidarity of women.

To all the women who have waited...and to those who continue to wait.

January 19, 1943

ROCKPORT, MASSACHUSETTS

Dear "Garden Witch,"

I've stained my fingers blue trying to do this right.

Tonight, though, I'm feeling rather lonesome and overwhelmed, so I'm throwing caution to the wind and finally writing to you, a woman I do not know, with the honest understanding that you might not have the time (or desire) to write back in return.

I guess the best place to begin is at the beginning, right?

There's a ladies' 4-H group that meets at the church hall on Wednesday afternoons. I don't really fit in, but I'm trying to pass the time. Anyway, they didn't give out real names, only these addresses, you know? And said if we felt lonesome (which I do) or desperate (which I didn't…but I feel it creeping in on me day by day) or anything, we could sit down and write a letter to another girl who might be in the same situation. The ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Rita and Glory's friendship was born of intimacy, even though they don't know each other before they begin writing. The definition of intimacy is "shared fear." How does this explain the depth of their friendship? Have you ever had a close friend with whom you shared fear? If so, how is that friendship different from others you have?

  2. Rita and Glory are very different people. They are from different parts of the country, they are not the same age and they come from different social classes. They also share similarities with each other: motherhood, community, a strong sense of women's rights. Did you identify with one or the other character because of their similarities, or because of their differences? Which one, and why?...
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Reviews

BookBrowse

The story is a good reminder that each generation and culture has its own particular challenges and yet, at the core, perhaps we are all striving for the same love and security. When we are weak and tempted, a true friend might serve as a moral thermometer. And when our hearts break from grief and loss, a friend can be a lifeline, a reminder that life must go on, even in the face of tragedy.   (Reviewed by Sarah Tomp).

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Media Reviews
Examiner.com

Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan have crafted a highly evocative and nostalgic story that is sweeping in its depth and entirely unforgettable. Further, their protagonists, Glory and Rita, possess a genuine warmth and wisdom that serves to remind us of how ordinary people can, and often do, achieve extraordinary things – even if only through acts of solidarity that remain largely unknown. This book is not just a celebration of women, but of the power of written words and their ability to transcend time and place…

Booklist

Timeless and universal...[a] deeply satisfying tale.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Engaging, charming and moving, a beautifully rendered exploration of WWII on the homefront and the type of friendship that helps us survive all manner of battles.

Author Blurb Margaret Leroy, author of The Soldier's Wife
A wonderful affirmation of the life-enhancing potential of female friendship.

Author Blurb Marisa de los Santos, bestselling author of Love Walked In
I devoured this story in one greedy, glorious gulp. Oh, the women! I love them. I love their families and their voices and their stories. I bet you'll love them, too.

Author Blurb Sarah Jio, author of The Violets of March
A delight! I'll Be Seeing You made me want to get out a pen and paper and write a friend a good old-fashioned letter.

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Rationing and Victory Gardens During World War II

In the novel I'll Be Seeing You, Glory and Rita bond over their daily experiences trying to live a fulfilling life in the midst of wartime worry and hardship. The two women live far apart - one in Iowa, and the other in New England. In their letters to each other, they share tips for growing a decent Victory Garden as well as recipes that work with rationed supplies.

In 1942, the United States began nationwide rationing of items such as sugar, coffee, meat, cheese, tires, gasoline and even farm equipment. Some of these items were scarce because they'd previously been imported from countries now at war with the United States. Other items were needed to keep the soldiers and sailors well-equipped for their battles.

Ration books ...

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