Book and Author
Letters Never Sent by Sandra Moran
In 1997, shortly after Katherine Spencer’s death, Joan O’Connor travels to Lawrence, Kansas, to clean out her estranged mother’s house. Hidden amongst her mother’s things, Joan finds a wooden box containing trinkets and sealed letters to a person identified only by a first initial. Through the letters, Joan learns that her aloof and unyielding mother was anything but – that she had loved deeply and lost that love to circumstances beyond her control.
The story shifts to 1930s Chicago where Katherine has left her small town in Kansas and the marriage proposal of a local boy, to live on her own and work at the glove counter at Sears & Roebuck. It’s here that she meets Annie Bennett, a bold, outspoken feminist who challenges Katherine’s idea of who she thinks she is, in addition to what she thinks she wants.
The decades-long, often tumultuous relationship between Katherine and Annie, Katherine’s subsequent marriage to a man she grows to hate, and the fractious relationship between mother and daughter ultimately shows that despite their differences, they’re more alike than Joan had ever realized.
Sandra Moran Pletcher, 46, lost her battle with cancer on November 7, 2015. Sandra was born in Topeka, Kansas on December 20, 1968. She grew up in Dover, Kansas and graduated from Mission Valley High School in 1987. Sandra holds three degrees from the University of Kansas: a BS in Journalism, an MA in Public Administration and an MS in Anthropology. She has worked in many fields including political speech writing, newspaper journalism, archaeological tour management, and serving as a professor of Anthropology at Johnson County Community College for14 years. She also was the author of four books.
In her own words: “Sandra was a teacher, writer, and international woman of intrigue—though mainly a writer. When she was not running around Kansas City (literally) or torturing college students with the fundamentals of anthropology, she could be found in her lair listening to Pandora and making up stories.”
(From Sandra’s obituary at http://www
HUSH Library Podcast #75 – Sandra Moran
An enlightening conversation on gender roles, writing in Kansas, and more.
Topics for discussion that the book will bring up include:
- Gender roles of women and how they have and have not changed over time.
- The complexity of mother/daughter relationships.
- Social issues such as alcoholism, rape, abortion, and sexual identity – and how these issues and their impact have changed over time.
The characters in the book drink whisky and lemonade on occasion. Here is Martha Stewart’s recipe for Whiskey Lemonade that you may choose to serve your book group.
At the 2013 Kansas Book Festival, Sandra Moran discussed Letters Never Sent and talked about changing gender roles in the 1930s, 1940s, and the 1950s:
Have you or your book group read Letters Never Sent? Would you recommend it to other groups? Share your thoughts with other book groups by commenting on this post.