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Monday, May 18, 2015

Letters To Loretta From The Radio Shack by Laura Lynn Ashworth (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Letters To Loretta From The Radio Shack by Author Laura Lynn Ashworth!

Book Review

Letters To Loretta From The Radio Shack by Laura Lynn Ashworth
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: November 8, 2014
Format: Paperback - 258 pages
               Kindle - 687 KB
               Nook - 449 KB
ISBN: 978-0990950004
Genre: Non Fiction / YA Historical Romance

Buy The Book:
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Goddess Fish Promotions.

Book Description:


Read the rare and recently discovered real time letters between Sal, age 19, and Loretta, age 15, during the final terrifying three years of World War II, 1943-1945.

Both from the Douglas Park neighborhood in Chicago, the two adolescents discuss with humor and candor, the Navy, war, politics, hit music, life back home and their relationship.

Sal nicknamed Slabby for his movie star good looks, deciphers code out of the Navy’s radio shack on a minesweeper in the Pacific.

Loretta monikered Duchess for her aloofness, lives with aunts and her widowed father, while holding day jobs and enjoying an active social life with friends.

Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack lets you experience World War II, both in battle and on the home front, through the eyes of adolescents in a way that Hollywood has never portrayed.

Book Excerpt:

January 5, 1943
US Naval Training Station
Farragut, Idaho 1330

So. Washington Ave.
Chicago, IL

Dear Loretta,

Gee, but aren't you thoughtful. By the way, every time I write a letter to you, you seem to be writing a letter back home. Isn't that a co-incidence or isn't it? I received two letters to date, so “keep em flying.”

It was just a month ago that I left and I'll be damned if I know whether it seems like a year or a week. As far as concerning you, it seems like a year. I presume you're still as sharp as a whip, you old prankster. Say, in your next letter send me a couple of pictures of yourself, one of them recently taken and you may charge it to Uncle Sam and his fleet.

So I see your stepping out now, you're really cooking with the right kind of material. Don't forget I've got a date with you when I get back home, which I hope won't be any longer than a year.

Had a lot of fun at the rifle range this week as no doubt Joe will tell you. I still get three square meals a day, and are they square. A slice of bread with plenty of nothing.

This weather we have up here now surely reminds me of Chicago. It’s dingier than a campaign speech and it just knocks the hell out of these Californians out here. They're just used to beautiful women and mild weather, while we in Chicago are used to gales and violent women.

Do you know what? In “Frisco” the taverns close at midnight. Now isn't that a whacky thing to do?

Haven't seen many movies lately except for a few Navy films showing recent battles to get us boiled. But if we don't get our liberty Wednesday, I'll boil over like a frozen motor. They're going to keep an eye on our company while we're on liberty (now what the hell do you call liberty like that?) and if we're good we'll get one every two weeks. Very, very thoughtful, don't you think? I'll leave you know how I make out, so until then.

Lots of love, Slab

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, Letters To Loretta From The Radio Shack, author Laura Lynn Ashworth provides the reader with a glimpse into the friendship and romantic relationship between teen sweethearts Sal and Loretta through their letter correspondence during the World War II years of 1943-1945.

Sal and Loretta's story is broken down into three parts that corresponds through the years of 1943-1945.

In January of 1943, nineteen year old Sal joins the Navy and is stationed at the US Naval Training Station in Farragut Idaho. While there, the readers follow the first part of Sal and Loretta's relationship via Sal's letters to fifteen year old Loretta, who was back at home in Chicago, Illinois. In this first part of the book, the reader follows Sal's correspondence to Loretta from January to May 1943, there aren't any of Loretta's letters to Sal included. From the one-way correspondence, the reader gets a glimpse in the War, Sal's training, the popular music and movies of that time period, and the social scene of their Chicago neighborhood.

Part two continues the correspondence between Sal and Loretta starting in July of 1944 when the readers are introduced to Loretta's letters to Sal. From her letter dated July 11, 1944, the reader finds out that there was a year and a half of silence between the two due to a misunderstanding while Sal was on home on a three day leave. During 1944, Sal is based in San Francisco and Honolulu, and then is transferred in October to the USS Signet, a minesweeper based out of Pearl Harbor that goes out to sea on missions from time to time. Sal is a radio man, who is responsible for translating Morse code messages that come into the radio shack from US ships and Radio San Francisco. Sal and Loretta continue to correspond regularly to each other, but sometimes the arrival of their letters is delayed. The letters contents are typical of teens / young adults, where they tease each other, request recent pictures of each other, and swap information about their daily lives, in addition to talking about the popular music and movies of that time period (this continues in every letter).

Part three of the book consists of Sal's time on the USS Signet in 1945, the crew conducts minesweeping practices and maneuvers around the Hawaiian island region until they are deployed to the Pacific war theater of Japan and surrounding islands in that region. From February through December, the USS Signet minesweeps the region and provides support during the battle of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During these months, the correspondence between Sal and Loretta are delayed to the hit-n-miss receiving of the letters while he at sea in the combat zone. The book concludes with the USS Signet departing the Pacific region homeward bound on December 11, 1945. The ship and its crew has earned 4 battle stars for meritorious participation in battle. The reader is left with a cliffhanger ending as the only communication between Sal and Loretta is a western union message from Sal to Loretta dated November 30, 1945, stating that he will be home soon. This abrupt ending leaves the reader wondering if Sal went home on leave after the ship docked in Pearl Harbor, and if he and Loretta ever hooked up.

Letters To Loretta From The Radio Shack is an interesting non fictional historical romantic account between two young people during the World War II time period. I have to admit that I did not like the letters only style of the book, I would have preferred to read about Sal and Loretta's story with a balance between the backstory of their lives and friendship in Chicago interwoven with the blossoming romantic relationship via the letter correspondence. I found myself getting bored while reading their letters, their teenage / young adult ramblings tended to make me roll my eyes quite a bit. However I did find it fascinating following the USS Signet and Sal's deployment in the Pacific theater during 1945, the author does a fine job of interspersing historical war accounts from the USS Signet's movements during that time period.


About The Author

Laura Lynn Ashworth is an award-winning copywriter and political cartoonist. While helping an elderly family member with veterans administration paperwork, she ran across “the letters” and instantly knew of their rarity, freshness and historical significance. Although she received three publishing contracts within two months of sending the letters to major publishers, Ashworth decided to publish them herself on the advice of best-selling authors. She currently lives and works in a northwest suburb of Chicago.

10% of author proceeds will be donated to the USO and VFW in loving memory of Sal and Loretta.

Author Website

Contest Giveaway

Win A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

Author Laura Lynn Ashworth will be awarding $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B&N Gift Card to a randomly drawn host.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

The tour dates can be found here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour

Click on the above link for the tour schedule of participants.


  1. This sounds like a fascinating story, I enjoyed the review. I would also like to know that there was a HEA.

  2. It sounds like a lovely story!

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