Kathryn Hughes’ new ebook The Letter offers readers a chance to absorb themselves in the lives of two women, born decades apart but whose lives share a number of parallels. The novel explores two historical strands, bringing together an abused housewife from the 1970s and a young girl from the early 1940s in a story of love, loss and unexpected consequences.
The Letter follows the life of Tina in the 1970s who seeks respite from her abusive marriage by volunteering at a charity shop. One day, while sorting through the pockets of a second-hand suit, she comes across an old letter. It is still firmly sealed and un-franked. Unable to resist the pull of curiosity, Tina opens the letter. It was written on 4th September 1939. She is so moved by the contents and bemused as to why the letter was never delivered, she embarks on a quest to find out what became of the writer and his intended recipient.
The mystery of how this love letter ended up in Tina’s hands is also uncovered through Billy’s story from the early 1940s. He writes a letter that will change his life forever, unaware that it will not be read for another 34 years, and then by a complete stranger.
With a swift pace, memorable characters and a wonderful conceptual depth, Hughes’ novel is one that simply can’t be put down.
I actually won a copy of this book in a giveaway on Twitter and I am so glad I did as I don’t know when or if I would have come across this wonderful book and the author otherwise.
This truly is a wonderful book, I found it to be very deep and beautifully written and it is one book that I think will stay with me for a long time.
The story starts with Tina who works in a charity shop and comes across a letter dated many years before. Intrigued by the people and the story behind the letter Tina sets out to find the person who the letter was intended for. The story then swaps between present day with Tina and her troublesome marriage and years before where the story of the people behind the letter unfolds.
I loved the characters and even felt sorry for a couple of the unlikeable ones towards the end. I think Tina, Chrissie and Billy especially will stay with me for quite a while yet.
The Letter takes you through a mixture of emotions, it is very much a compelling read that once you’ve started you will struggle to put down.
Can’t recommend highly enough.
I have awarded this book 5/5 stars.
Don’t forget to pop back tomorrow as I will be posting the books that I will be reading next week.