In the little town of Tierra, Texas, the young boys play war while the men are already off fighting Hitler and the Nazis. But Virginia has a war all her own. Dealing with a spiteful brother, a manipulative father, and a dark secret that threatens to be revealed, she lives her life under the watchful eyes of the entire town. Sometimes the casualities of war are not wounded on the battlefield.
With French Letters, London captures the delicate and sometimes sinister intricacies of little town USA. The multiple points of view tell a story that is both riveting and tragic.
At times readers will sympathize with Virginia's plight, but at others they will find themselves disturbed by her actions; just as there are moments when they will feel sorry for Poppy (Virginia's father) even after despising him for a good portion of the book. This is truly a piece of work filled with a group of complex antagonists: Virginia's brother Bart, Poppy and Doc, who is fully aware of Virginia's little secret and helps Poppy to cover it up.
And flowing through Virginia's story is the one of war abroad. As Will Hastings, his brother Peter, Hoyt Carter, and Johnny Bradley have left Tierra to fight against an evil even deeper than the one that runs through Tierra.
Literary fiction and historical fiction fans will find French Letters by Jack Woodville London a poignant and engaging read.