pieces we keep“I was a fool to think I could outrun the past, it has much quicker feet than I do…”

The Pieces We Keep follows the stories of our two heroines – Audra, who lives in present day Portland and Vivian, a daughter of World War II–whose lives seem to be inexplicably connected to one another. The author brings to light two true, but not very well known, stories of Nazi spies sent to American shores during WWII and blends them with the present day phenomenon of children who have memories and talents said to be remnants of past lives. As the story progresses, we see pieces of one life sneak through the cracks of time to blend with the other, enriching the story until the pieces of the puzzle are finally complete.

Though they are two very different women, both Audra and Vivian have one thing in common–running (or rather, sprinting) away from their pasts. Audra is recently widowed, unemployed and dealing with her son’s night terrors. Sleep deprived and desperate, we find that she is struggling to recapture the normalcy her life had before her husband died. At the same time, she is trying to get to bottom of why her son has been exhibiting strange behavior, interests and has knowledge of things he should know nothing about.

Vivian is the daughter of an American Ambassador living in London just before the start of World War II. She secretly falls in love with an American born German descendant. When it becomes clear that war is imminent, Vivian’s trust is called into question as she discovers a web of lies told to her by her beloved. We follow her as she travels back to America and tries to discover the truth about both her love and her path in life.

All of the characters in this story are painted with such amazing detail, genuine emotions and internal conflict that the story is extremely real to the reader. The dynamics of the relationships are very relatable and at many points made me feel as though I was standing right there with each of the characters.  The author clearly did quite a bit of research in preparation for this book, which shines through as she paints the details of both the past and the present. Overall, the story is full of suspense and seamlessly leaps through time as you move from chapter to chapter.

Personally, I love historical fiction, but have never read one of McMorris’ books before. It’s safe to say that after reading this book, she has a new fan and I certainly cannot wait for the next one!

Melissa Rogers is a guest book reviewer for Spa Week Daily.