July 03, 2014 by Valerie Laub
“Always remember when one is confronted with a random act of kindness that is neither expected nor ordinary, one is obligated to meet that kindness and exceed it if possible,” Heather Burch writes in her latest novel, “One Lavender Ribbon,” released July 1. The book tells the story of a woman named Adrienne who finds a box of letters dating back to World War II in the attic of her new home. A lavender ribbon is wrapped around the box, and when she pulls it open, she finds herself immersed in letters from a soldier named William to his love, Gracie.
Adrienne cannot stop herself from reading through all of the letters, but she finds that many questions arise about the couple’s whereabouts and what happened to their relationship after the war. Adrienne sets out to find her answers by asking the local townspeople. Finally, she is given the location of William’s home. . When Adrienne decides to visit him, she finds William, also known as Pops, is a gentle old man filled with wise words from his experience in the war. She stumbles upon not just the answers to her questions, but also William’s grandson, Will.
While the story has a romantic base, I feel the novel could be enjoyed by anyone. Burch creates characters with background stories that help tie the overall novel together. The characters are all wise and stand firm in their beliefs, which creates trouble between them.
The most interesting thing about Burch’s storytelling is that it feels realistic. Her intention to create a story about a couple that fell in love during the war is obvious, but the outcome is much more than that. The different dynamics between Adrienne and Will, William and his previous loves, and all of the side characters in the novel create an ever-changing storyline that one would not expect from the cliched idea of a wartime love story.
While I enjoyed reading the novel, I do have a few qualms with it. Burch takes her sweet time to detail what is happening, but at points in the novel I wished she had made it more interesting and exciting for the reader. While she worked hard to incorporate the theme of WWII into the novel, it felt incredibly repetitive and forced. She had William relay how hard it was to be at war, but she did not have many historical facts or events to back up the statements. One of the main reasons I kept reading was the wise words of advice that William had to offer. William’s character is truly the saving grace, and without him Adrienne’s pushy, know-it-all attitude would have made me shut the book after the very beginning.
That said, I think the novel is still worth reading. It is a quick summer read that wraps you up in the characters and their personal dramas. Whether you’re into love stories or not, the themes of family, friendship and life lessons are easy to take away. The novel proclaims, “People should live the very best life possible. Too many had died so that others could.” Check out Burch’s latest release to see what the buzz surrounding this novel is all about!