The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase


This seems to be my month to read stories about World War II. Our book club choice for this month was The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and yesterday I finished Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase (A) by Louise Walters. The time periods may be the same but the stories are very different.

Roberta Pietrykowski works in a bookstore that sells “old and new” books. She inspects and shelves used books and often discovers handwritten letters concealed within the pages. Every old book seems to have a story, so too for old suitcases. Her grandmother, Dorothea has been placed in a retirement home and Roberta has taken her old suitcase for herself. The initials on the suitcase are DS for Dorothy Sinclair. Who is Dorothy Sinclair and why is a letter from her grandfather, Jan Pietrykowski within the suitcase?

In alternating chapters, the past and the present are explored. The story of Dorothy Sinclair unfolds as she survives World War II with personal events being the center of her attention. Presently, as Roberta explores the secrets of her suitcase, the complications of her life are revealed.

I particularly love the pace of this story. I felt that the past and present mingled easily to create an intriguing narrative that slowly evolved into one connected story. Life during the war was well illustrated without being overbearing and oppressive. While the reader knows from the beginning who Dorothy Sinclair is, it was exciting to watch Roberta unravel her family’s secrets.

Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase is definitely one to read and enjoy. Louise Walters is a good storyteller. She has done a good job on this her first novel and I hope there are many more to follow.





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