Book Reviews

A writer shares a collection of letters from a lonely black American soldier to his wife during World War II. …

…(D)ebut author Kane found a stash of more than 200 letters exchanged between her father and mother from 1943 to 1945, a stretch of time during which they were separated by war. Phil Kane enlisted in the Army in 1941—the same year he wed Jacqueline Jones—and as a result, the two were largely apart for the first four years of their marriage. Phil, “Happy Feet” as his family affectionately called him, adored his wife and struggled with solitude in her absence, a sentiment he earnestly recorded often in his letters and in a poem he wrote for “Jack.” … The author also includes many black-and-white family photographs as well as facsimiles of sentimentally significant documents and newspaper clippings. The sweetly insistent declarations … are a pleasure to read and, as a whole, provide a portal into an important historical element of the war: the sacrifices made not only by soldiers but also by their wives and families.

– Kirkus Indie Review

During WWII, American soldiers stationed overseas could send letters home via Victory or “V-mail,” an expedited postal service that combined stationery and microfilm. A Real Whole Lot collects love letters …, offering a glimpse of wartime romance.

Phil’s letters to Jacqueline (“Jack”) range from newsy to amorous. (The title refers to his habit of signing off with variations of “I love you a real whole lot.”)

 A Real Whole Lot is a portrait of a loving, young couple just beginning their lives together as a turning point in American history put all their plans on hold.

– Blue Ink Review