Tina Craig longs to escape her violent husband. She works all the hours God sends to save up enough money to leave him, also volunteering in a charity shop to avoid her unhappy home. Whilst going through the pockets of a second-hand suit, she comes across an old letter, the envelope firmly sealed and unfranked. Tina opens the letter and reads it – a decision that will alter the course of her life forever…
Billy Stirling knows he has been a fool, but hopes he can put things right. On 4th September 1939 he sits down to write the letter he hopes will change his future. It does – in more ways than he can ever imagine…
The Letter tells the story of two women, born decades apart, whose paths are destined to cross and how one woman’s devastation leads to the other’s salvation.
It’s been a very difficult summer for reading with the turbulence the world and America are facing. I’ve found it hard to focus on books much since March, so The Letter by Kathryn Hughes ended up being a welcome choice for a bit of distraction. The author’s simple writing style made this story easy to read while my mind was often distracted by more distressing topics. Though this book deals with quite heavy subject matter, the writing style and the likeable characters made it marginally less painful to read than it could have been.
I’ve always been a big fan of epistolary novels, and while I wouldn’t consider this an entirely epistolary, it checked the right boxes for me. I always appreciate when a novel can intertwine history with the present characters. It makes time feel less linear and more cyclical. There is certainly a soft spot in my heart for a writer who can portray the past as closer than it seems and relatable to current events.
This story kept me interested from beginning to end. There was just enough suspense and excitement to keep me eager for reading. This story was a welcome distraction and one I would recommend to fans of historical fiction.
Rating: 4 stars