I'm delighted to be sharing my review as part of the blog tour today especially as it is Publication Day!
First of all though let's take a look at the description for the book...
Title: The Lost Letters
Author: Sarah Mitchell
A gripping book club novel about forbidden love, friendship and family secrets in a time of war. Perfect for fans of The Letter by Kathryn Hughes, The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Canada, present day
When Martha’s beloved father dies, he leaves her two things: a mysterious stash of letters to an English woman called ‘Catkins’ and directions to a beach hut in the English seaside town of Wells-Next-The-Sea. Martha is at a painful crossroads in her own life, and seizes this chance for a trip to England – to discover more about her family’s past, and the identity of her father’s secret correspondent.
Sylvia’s husband Howard has gone off to war, and she is struggling to raise her two children alone. Her only solace is her beach hut in Wells, and her friendship with Connie, a woman she meets on the beach. The two women form a bond that will last a lifetime, and Sylvia tells Connie something that no-one else knows: about a secret lover… and a child.
But the tragedy of war brings heartbreaking choices. And a promise made between the two women will echo down the years, and could change everything for Martha…
The Lost Letters had the best of both worlds as the reader experiences the present day story but also that connection to the past too. In a way I slightly edged more towards the storyline set in the past and this is no slight against the present day plot. I guess the past evoked a deeper hold on me as I wanted to know how the past affected the future. With secrets being kept that send ripples right through to the present especially as I was so intrigued as to the identity of Catkins. The historical aspect was so interesting and I learnt a few things while reading this book which I loved.
I will say that the pace began maybe slightly slower than I was necessarily expecting. However in a way I found this to be a positive thing as it ended up giving me a good base of getting to know both Martha and Sylvia. Seeing both of their experiences you really get a feel for their personalities in the different time periods and I really enjoyed both the contrast and similarities that were shown. It can be difficult to balance introductions to characters and the story but within a few chapters I thought this settled down perfectly. So definitely keep on reading because this story has a wonderful way of pulling you in. Sarah Mitchell created a story that easily made me feel for the characters and I have to admit to there being a few tears shed. I really don't want to go into too much detail because all the wonderful twists and turns are worth unearthing for yourself.
The Lost Letters managed to capture me in an emotional hold along with seeing a wonderful mystery play out!
Four stars from me!
With thanks to Noelle at Bookouture for my copy.
After graduating from Cambridge University, Sarah Mitchell practised as a barrister in London for 20 years, working in the field of human rights and European Law. She was tempted to write fiction for a long while and finally signed up for an introductory creative writing course with the Open University. she took a sabbatical from the bar to do an MA in Creative Writing at the UEA and has never looked back. THE LOST LETTERS is her first novel, inspired by a walk on the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea to calm her nerves before starting the MA, and the decision her grandparents almost made to evacuate her mother to Canada at the start of the Second World War. Sarah now lives back in Norfolk - where she grew up - with her husband and three almost-grown-up children, and combines writing with some legal work.
You can follow Sarah Mitchell on Twitter at @SarahM_writer
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