When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger. But little does he know that they’re not actually strangers. "Letters to the Lost" is a heart-wrenching tale of longing.
Gerardo Delgadillo is a blogger, avid reader, and part of our international group of collaborators. If you want to see your content and recommendations here, click on this link to send a 400-word article for the chance to be read by our millions of followers.
Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.
Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.
When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet know that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.
That word defines Letters to the Lost, a novel by Brigid Kemmerer. Its prose is so gripping, it wants to engulf your heart, squeeze it hard, and make you cry – it’s that good.
The story is told from two alternating points of view: Juliet's and Declan's, the main characters. Both of them are grieving. Both need someone to lean on. Letters reunite them. What I like about this duality is that the two voices are unique enough to avoid confusions, which is difficult to achieve, and a good thing. Each voice has a great narrative-dialog-letter balance. Yes, there are letters –must have letters. Also, characterization is off the charts with multi-layered, complex characters that change and grow.
Now, the premise isn’t new, but a unique twist on the letter-exchanging kind of novels, and it works extremely well. The letters are a conduct that advances the story and the plot, so kudos to the author for that. Very impressive work, if you ask me.
But not everything is perfect because the story, at times, tends to lean on the flowery-language side a bit too much. It’s overdone to the point the excessive “flowers” may take some readers out of the story. In other words, Letters To The Lost has romance, but it isn’t a romance novel. Just keep that in mind and go with the flow, brushing off the “flowers” thrown at you, if that bothers you.
Without giving spoilers, the ending has a frenetic pace, where everything happens fast, and perhaps a bit too conveniently.
Overall, a great book with excellent characterization and tons of heart. It demands to be read. Check it out!
Cover image: @julybookshelf
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