It is 1933. The Ryan and Dreyfus and Ryan families live in the same Toronto neighborhood. Molly Ryan dreams of being a writer. Her best friend Hannah Dreyfus hopes to get married and have a family. Their brothers Richie and Max were close friends before Max Dreyfus left for college. In the depths of the Depression, anti-Semitism is growing, further incited by the local newspaper. Friendships are challenged between these Irish Protestant and Jewish families and change forever during the Christie Pits Riot which was incited by the local Swastika Club. Once Canada enters World War II, Richie and Max find themselves together again in Hong Kong.
As in her last book The Forgotten Home Child, author Genevieve Graham does an excellent job not only providing an emotion-stirring story, but enlightens readers on portions of history that may be unknown. The level of anti-Semitism that took place in Toronto was heartbreaking as was the story of the Battle of Hong Kong, the only battle during the war that was deemed a 100% failure by the Allies.
The author doesn’t hold back on the realities of war – the losses and post-war trauma. Each of the characters are well formed and their struggles provide a sense of what it was like to live during such a horrible time. The strength of friendship, family, love and hope make Letters Across the Sea a very memorable book.
Rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: April 27, 2021.