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Reviewed by Gobi Jane for Readers' Favorite
Letters of Forgiveness by Cathy Schaffer is a fascinating story, filled with humanity and realism and following very compelling characters. At twenty-four, Katie is a Second Lieutenant, an intelligent and very skilled fighter. In a mission that goes wrong in Afghanistan, she loses a lover, a best friend, and her leg. While the physical wounds heal eventually, the trauma remains, which leads to the decision to be put in a rehab facility. It is here that she meets a Russian dissident, Dimitri Demidova. He is experiencing dementia and Katie strikes up a relationship with the suffering man and his daughter, Elena. What becomes of the friendship is an unexpected journey towards healing.
This is a story that filled my eyes with tears; it is emotionally rich and the author knows how to put readers into the hearts of her characters. It is a journey of healing where wound heals wound. The characters are richly conceived with a solid background and huge emotional and psychological baggage. Themes of friendship, mental health, family, and healing are brilliantly developed in this story. There is so much to love on every page of the narrative and while the prose is gorgeous and the overall writing engaging, I particularly loved how real Cathy Schaffer makes the story. Letters of Forgiveness is told in a strong voice filled with compassion and humanity. The characters are exceptional and the message of the story is a powerful one. It is about the miracle that happens when we open our hearts and allow others to touch us where we hurt the most.