Pennsylvania, 1936. Six-year-old Josie Carter never expects to wake up one morning in a hospital bed with a chronic health diagnosis: paralytic poliomyelitis. Being so young, Josie doesn’t understand what this means for her, but she soon discovers that she will spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair, battling for her health. While Josie reels from the bitter loss of her health, her mom helps her find something she can do despite what she now can’t. In the process, Josie discovers something she most likely wouldn’t have if not for her health diagnosis.
New York, 1951. Now a young adult, Josie sets out for a small town in New York to stay at her aunt and cousin’s unoccupied home for the summer. While there, Josie is offered two unexpected things: a job and a friendship with her neighbor’s son. But blessings and setbacks go hand in hand, and when life deals Josie a devastating blow, it brings her to another unexpected place in life—one that changes her forever.
Just days away from Germany’s surrender, Lucy Skyes never expects to receive the same telegram that thousands of families across the world did since the start of World War Two: A notice of her brother’s death in the service of his country. While reeling from the shock of losing her best friend, Lucy receives a letter from someone who knew her brother and can tell her two things she desperately wants to know: What her brother’s life was like in the army, and who is responsible for his death.
Jeremiah Sparrow wakes up in an army hospital unable to remember what put him there, why he can’t hear anything, or who he lost. When memories resurface of a plane crash, a parachute, and a friend, Jeremiah harbors deep guilt and secrets. Jeremiah sends a letter of his own to Lucy—and his words open a door that may cost him more than he realizes.
Everyone has secrets to unearth and stories to tell. War, loss, and letters—they are a lot like yellow tape: Once you cross that line, there is no going back. And sometimes, what you expect to find on the other side looks nothing like you imagined it to.
The Memories We Painted is evocative as much as it is moving. Miller writes with lyrical proficiency and depth, mixing grief and hope on its palette and painting something stunningly beautiful. With strong family ties and themes of stalwart friendship and unconditional love, this novel is breathless, inspiring, and timeless. I’m eager to read what Miller will write next!
To be completely honest, I opened this book on the premise that it would be a light, simple read that I would enjoy, but what I found was a novel full of grit, beautiful prose, hope, and heartbreak existing simultaneously. I was stunned and extremely pleased. Seriously, I have not felt this much from a book since I was seven, reading Where the Red Fern Grows.
The Memories We Painted is as encouraging as it is painful at times, digging into difficult themes of suffering and grief with Gospel-fueled comfort and highlighting the value and impact of friendship. This is truly a story of the heart that is sure to build compassion, provide comfort, and highlight hope, no matter who you are or what your situation is. Highly recommend for literally every single person alive.
This was such a beautiful story of faith through trial and suffering and a great reminder of where God is in all of that. As someone who has spent her life struggling with the limitations my own mental health struggles can put on life it was comforting to read the words of someone who understands and makes you feel seen. If you struggle with any sort of disability, whether physical or mental, or if someone in your life struggles and want to understand a little more, I highly encourage you to read this book!
If I could give this book 100 stars, I would. I can say with complete appreciation, there is not a single thing in this book I could find issue with. It is 100% clean, and I would even pass it onto my younger sister without worrying a bit. Yet, it is so deep for any age to enjoy. And I encourage all to read it, truly! This is the kind of books we need to be filling our minds with. The Memories We Painted proves a book doesn't have to compromise values, use language, or be unclean to make a "write-home-worthy" deep novel.
This book destroyed me in the best possible way. I feel like I have become stronger because of this book. More faithful, more understanding of grief and pain. This book has helped me heal see the light at the end of the tunnel. This book has given me faith that God doesn't give us dreams just to hide them away and let them gather dust. God gives us dreams to make us patient and to trust that He knows what He is doing with them. IT made me laugh, cry, and reminded me that there is so much goodness that comes from trusting God in our pain. Now, I'll tell you, I am NOT a cryer. But this book had me sobbing. I'm not even kidding. The Memories We Painted is a must read.
“Marked by meticulous detail and beautiful prose, Miller paints a haunting picture of the wounds of war and how each of us must choose to respond to the hurts dealt to us in this broken, fallen world. Our Yellow Tape Letters is a treatise on forgiveness, healing, and beauty from ashes.”
“Our Yellow Tape Letters, by Caitlin Miller, is a poignant, profound story of redemption and love amidst the ashes of WWII. Told through letters, diary entries, and notes, this story captures your heart from the first page as you cheer for the hero and heroine, and all the others who are forever changed by war. A beautiful look at the healing power of words, hope, and forgiveness.”
"With utterly haunting prose and an emotional depth that will leave you breathless, Our Yellow Tape Letters will cut you open. There are few stories so rich, so poignant in their exploration of the deep burden of loss and love. In an era of our world's history so unimaginably scarred by sacrifice, Our Yellow Tape Letters demands a closer look at the effects of loss on the heart and the struggle to find peace amid the wars that exist both within and without."
Our Yellow Tape Letters was the balm I didn't know my soul needed. Because the letters and telegrams and diary entries, while from a generation far removed, felt immediate, intimate, and relevant. These pages kept bringing me into the past while surprising my heart in this century, in our present time, with deep, hidden feelings. It never tires, the theme of forgiveness, and in some worthy, intangible way, this book made me want to be better at it.
“In Our Yellow Tape Letters, Caitlin Miller beautifully illustrates the healing power of words that come from a place of honest regret and authentic forgiveness. Love, friendship, brotherhood, and sacrifice are explored through letters with such depth and realness, the reader truly feels they’ve experienced the unforgettable days of World War II right alongside the characters in this masterfully written epistolary novel. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.”
“Through letters and journal entries, the readers are drawn into the lives of Lucy Skyes and Jeremiah Sparrow as they wrestle with questions of forgiveness and find hope and healing. Our Yellow Tape Letters is a wholehearted journey alongside characters from the past who feel as real as friends. This gentle but powerful novel not only paints a vivid picture of the triumph and grief of war, but also demonstrates the bonds of friendship, faith, and love that are worth fighting for.”
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