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A rare gem.

Letters to the Lost - Iona Grey

Now and again a book comes along that is just so perfectly formed that I almost don't mind if nothing happens. Letters to the Lost was one of these, so beautifully written that I didn't want it to end, and when it did I was left with tears streaming down my face.


There are two time eras involved, a tricky combination, as one usually outshines the other. But Stella and Dan's love affair during WWII was perfectly balanced by Jess and Will's current-day romance and the reader moves seamlessly between the two. There are also a number of similarities between the two female characters as both endure hardship, abuse and lack of family support. Mental illness appears in both eras as well.


The opening scene gabbed me immediately, as Jess runs in stockinged feet, to escape her abusive boyfriend, and finds herself in a house that has been left empty by an elderly lady. Here she stumbles upon the letters that link her to the long-ago love affair and she is drawn in by the undying love that she finds in their story.


Modern-day London and the war era are both evocatively described, as is the life of a vicarage wife in the forties, with scones and summer fetes and endless cooking. I felt for Will with his scathing boss, but there was a wry humour in those cutting comments.


I'm now waiting with baited breath for Iona Grey's next book and when it comes I shall be dropping everything to bury my head it it (no pressure!)