Title: The Lost Letters
Author: Sarah Mitchell
BUY LINK : mybook.to/TLLSMSocial
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…
Martha Rodwell’s father passed away less than a month ago and she now finds herself on a plane heading to Europe. Her father was writing a memoir, but never got the chance to finish it before his passing. After his death, Martha and her sister, Elizabeth, discovered that their father had booked a hotel and rented a beach hut in a small English coastal town named Wells-next-to-the sea. Martha is unsure why her father chose this location in particular to finish his book especially since he hadn’t been to Europe in at least seventy years. So, she decides to take his booking to figure out why her father was drawn to this particular coastal town and also to find out why he had folders on his computer consisting of letters to someone named Catkins. Did her father have an affair and also who is Catkins?
The Lost Letters interweaves two stories switching from the present to the beginning of World War II where we also meet Sylvie and her family. Sylvie’s husband is away fighting in the war leaving her alone to raise two young children. Her only saving grace besides her children is her friendship with Connie. Here, we witness the day to day conflict and the terror people faced with bombings and the loss of loved ones. Sylvie also has to make difficult decisions regarding her family that tie in to our present story.
There is not one thing I did not love about this story. Right from the beginning I was drawn in to the mystery surrounding Martha and her family. The mystery is so intricately weaved throughout the pages and it’s almost as if it is a puzzle and little by little we fit the pieces together until we get this final masterpiece right in front of us. Sarah Mitchell penned incredible stand out characters with heart and soul and we get to know them intimately and we can feel their pain and sadness and also the hope that each of them has. Family plays such an important role in this story in both the present and the past and we can see this through Martha and the love she has for her own daughter even though their relationship is strained. We also see the love Sylvie has for her children and the sacrifices she has made for them while trying to raise them during wartime.
The historical aspect of The Lost Letters story was by far my absolute favorite and here is where I found myself completely drawn into the story and you can see just how much research went into it. As an author, Sarah Mitchell really shines here. It was just so emotional and heartbreaking just reading about the bombs being dropped and the loss of lives and never knowing from one moment to the next if you will live or die. Just imagine the fear families had, women whose husbands went off to war, not knowing if they would ever return, their children being sent off to fight some never even coming back. Mitchell really shows the realities of wartime. It truly is heart wrenching.
The Lost Letters is a beautiful and poignant story that has completely captured my heart. It is a story about love, life, family, and the bonds of friendship that stand the test of time. The story is so simple and yet so intricate and brilliantly done. It takes an author like Sarah Mitchell to make me realize why I have such a love of reading. By far, this might just be my top read for the year. I will definitely be looking forward to more books by Sarah Mitchell.
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. Two years later 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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