Review: The Pieces We Keep

The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris
Kensington Publishing Corp., 2013

Description (from the author’s website)

Two years have done little to ease veterinarian Audra Hughes’s grief over her husband’s untimely death. Eager for a fresh start, Audra plans to leave Portland for a new job in Philadelphia. Her seven-year-old son, Jack, seems apprehensive about flying – but it’s just the beginning of an anxiety that grows to consume him.

As Jack’s fears continue to surface in recurring and violent nightmares, Audra hardly recognizes the introverted boy he has become. Desperate, she traces snippets of information unearthed in Jack’s dreams, leading her to Sean Malloy, a struggling US Army veteran wounded in Afghanistan. Together they unravel a mystery dating back to World War II, and uncover old family secrets that still have the strength to wound – and perhaps, at last, to heal.

My Review – 5 Stars

The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris is told in alternating chapters during two time frames.  It begins Mid-May 2012 in Portland, OR where Audra is desperate to protect her seven year old son, Jack, and get to the bottom of his anxiety and terror attacks.  Next, we go to Early-August 1939, London, England and become immersed in Vivian James’ love story.  I enjoyed the plot, foreshadowing and emotional energy in both of these story-lines.
Both story-lines contained drama and suspense.  Immediately you are on Audra’s side, struggling along with her to resolve Jack’s issues.  When England enters WWII, young Vivian, a diplomat’s daughter, must depart for home, The United States, and leave her lover behind.  The pacing of these story-lines is amazing as we seek to find out the connection between them.  At each chapter change, there is disappointment that one story is suspended and at the same time excitement that the other is resumed.  All along Kristina McMorris is crafting an awesome tale.

Along with Audra, Vivian and Jack there are many fabulous, richly developed, supporting characters that make The Pieces We Keep so interesting.  I love that their primary motivations are love.

The Pieces We Keep is a great title.  The author makes references to it in several places and in different ways.  In short, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel!

Note: I’d like to thank the author, Kristina McMorris, for sending me, free of charge, an advance copy of her latest novel, The Pieces We Keep.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from the author, Kristina McMorris.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Books By This Author


(novella by Kristina: “The Christmas Collector”)



About Kristina McMorris

Brief Bio (from the author’s website)

Kristina McMorris lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Her foray into fiction began in the fall of 2006 as a result of interviewing her grandmother for the biographical section of a self-published cookbook intended as a holiday gift for the family. Inspired by her grandparents’ wartime courtship, Kristina penned her first novel, a WWII love story titled Letters from Home.
Praised by Woman’s Day and hailed by Publishers Weekly as “a sweeping debut,” Letters from Home was released in spring 2011 by Kensington Books and Avon/HarperCollins UK. Rights have been sold to numerous foreign publishers, Readers Digest, Doubleday, the Literary Guild, and more. Kristina’s second novel, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, was published in spring 2012 to equally high critical acclaim. Most recently, her novella, “The Christmas Collector,” appeared in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling anthology A Winter Wonderland. Her forthcoming novel, The Pieces We Keep, will be released December 2013, and her novelette, “The Reunion,” will be featured in the anthology titled Grand Central (Berkley/Penguin, July 2014).
Prior to her career as an author, Kristina acted in many independent films and major motion pictures and owned a professional wedding/event planning company. She began hosting an Emmy® Award-winning television show at age nine and later served as the six-year host of the WB’s weekly program Weddings Portland Style. Her previous writing background includes being a contributing writer for Portland Bride & Groom magazine and ten years of directing public relations for an international conglomerate. A recipient of more than twenty national literary awards and a nominee for the prestigious RITA® Award, McMorris is currently working on her next novel.


  1. I have this one in my review pile, and I can’t wait to read it. I’ve seen so many glowing reviews so far. Glad to see yours among them.


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