Kristina McMorris, The Pieces We Keep

Welcome back Kristina McMorris!

Kristina McMorris’s works of fiction have garnered more than twenty national literary awards and appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers lists. Inspired by true personal and historical accounts, her novels include Letters from Home, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, and most recently The Pieces We Keep.


A young boy’s violent, recurrent night terrors unseal a trove of family secrets tracing back to the Second World War, forever altering the lives of those around him. 

In this richly emotional novel, Kristina McMorris evokes the depth of a mother’s bond with her child, and the power of personal histories to echo through generations…

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.

Intricate and beautifully written, The Pieces We Keep illuminates those moments when life asks us to reach beyond what we know and embrace what was once unthinkable. Deftly weaving together past and present, herein lies a story that is at once poignant and thought provoking, and as unpredictable as the human heart.

Kensington Books
Release date: November 26, 2013  (Lead title December 2013)
ISBN: 978-0-7582-8116-6
Women’s Fiction, Original Trade Paperback, 464 pages
Price: $15 U.S./$16.95 Can.
Special features: Discussion Guide and special Author Note

Advance praise:

"The Pieces We Keep gripped me from the first page and didn't let go."  —Alyson Richman, bestselling author of The Lost Wife
“The past collides with the present in this sensitive and multilayered story where the discovery of long-held family secrets leads to healing.”—Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Looking for Me and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
“An utterly absorbing novel…this is a beautifully woven story, at once gripping and uplifting.” —Margaret Leroy, author of The Soldier’s Wife
“A compelling tale with memorable characters, written in McMorris’ elegant and captivating prose. I didn’t want this novel to end.” —Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Call Me Zelda
"A haunting read…it is a perfect combination of historical fiction and modern mystery." —Amy Hatvany, author of Heart Like Mine


A friend once shared with a Kristina a news story about a young boy troubled by night terrors involving a plane crash during WWII. Eventually, his detailed knowledge convinced his skeptical parents that in a past life he had been a pilot who perished in battle.

Kristina's eldest son, often referred to as an "old soul," had also once suffered from night terrors and used to speak of a grandmother who didn't exist. Reflecting on this, Kristina wondered: how would she react if her son, too, suddenly spouted historical facts that logic dictated he couldn't yet know? What if those "memories" linked back to secrets people strove to keep buried?

From there, a true account of Nazi spies on American soil inspired the final threads of Kristina's story, raising challenging questions of courage, faith, and loyalty.


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Kristina McMorris is the recipient of more than twenty national literary awards. A host of weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, she penned her debut novel, Letters from Home (Kensington Books, Avon/HarperCollins UK), based on inspiration from her grandparents' wartime courtship. This critically praised book was declared a must-read by Woman's Day magazine and achieved additional acclaim as a Reader's Digest Select Editions feature, a Doubleday/Literary Guild selection, and a 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Historical Fiction.

Kristina’s second novel, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, was named a 2013 nominee for the prestigious RITA® Award and is frequently an official reading selection among book clubs, universities, and libraries throughout the country. Most recently, her novella, “The Christmas Collector,” appeared in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling anthology A Winter Wonderland. Her novelette, “The Reunion,” will be featured in the forthcoming anthology titled Grand Central (Berkley/Penguin, July 2014).

Named one of Portland's "40 Under 40" by The Business Journal, Kristina lives with her husband and two sons in the Pacific Northwest. The Pieces We Keep is her third full-length novel. For more, visit www.KristinaMcMorris.com


Maureen: What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done to research a book?
Kristina: I can easily say it was flying in a restored B-17 from WWII. After takeoff, the ten passengers were allowed to roam the aircraft at will, and I jumped at the opportunity to sit in the nose gunner’s seat, where there’s nothing but Plexiglas beneath your feet. Needless to say, it was an unforgettable experience!

Maureen: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Kristina: As a movie buff, I have a lot of favorites. But if I had to name just one, I’d say Dangerous Beauty, an incredible story set in the Venetian courtesan era. I’m always amazed it’s not a more widely known film.

Maureen: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
Kristina: Historical fiction, without a doubt. Nothing pulls me into another world like a period piece with high stakes—typically involving war, love, tragedy, and hope.

Maureen: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Kristina: Hmm, I think that might have to be Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Seriously, who doesn’t remember reciting the bust chant at some point?

Maureen: Do you believe in ghosts?
Kristina: I do. Mainly because, when I was a little girl, our family home was haunted for a brief time, even requiring the help of a pastor who blessed the house, room by room.

Maureen: What sound or noise do you love?
Kristina: The heartwarming sound of my sons giggling while playing together.

Maureen: What book would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
Kristina: The most comprehensive survival guide in existence. For pure pleasure reading? The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It’s the only novel I’ve ever wanted to immediately start rereading the minute I finished it.

Maureen: What’s your favorite dessert?
Kristina: Tiramisu. My husband and I are on a perpetual hunt to find the best tiramisu in the world.

Maureen: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
Kristina: I’m from Oregon, so of course it’s coffee! And of course it’s as complicated as a chemistry experiment: a half-caff, tepid, nonfat vanilla latte with an extra pump of caramel. Now, say THAT ten times fast!

Maureen: What’s your favorite kid joke?
Kristina: Why did the football coach go to the bank? To get his quarterback.
Maureen: **rolling on the floor laughing**


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  1. It looks like a fascinating story. I know when my kids had any problem, no matter how small, my brain would spin with the thought of finding a solution.

  2. Kristina, oh my gosh, I remember reading the story about his past life regressions. Congratulations on another winner. You're an amazing author. So proud to know you. Thanks for joining us today!

  3. Sounds like a great book. I love the history in it!

  4. It sounds interesting

  5. Kristina, I just read the short description of this story. It seems emotionally very powerful. Since it is related to WWII, I am very interested to read and review your book. I will need to add The Pieces we Keep to my TBR. nlaverdure88@videotron.ca

  6. Thanks for coming back to GLIAS today. Best of luck with the books.

  7. It sounds like a really wonderful book and I would love to read it. I entered under the name of Virginia