Are you a letter writer? Not just emails but old fashioned real pen and ink on paper letters? Art and letters are the connections in this story from past to present. Though the book can be read alone, it does build on the sequel.
Insider information about the war is shared from a journalist's viewpoint before the time of internet and television speed news. The changes are shocking as the characters live through them. The modern tale doesn't parallel the past, yet the characters are linked.
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.