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Letters to the Lost Paperback – 23 Apr 2015
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'A wonderful story' Rosamunde Pilcher
'An epic story of love and loss that will break your heart' Santa Montefiore
'A beautiful, tender story from a naturally gifted storyteller. A wonderful debut novel and a real weepy!' Lucinda Riley
'A captivating and deliciously romantic tale of life-lasting love that will tear your heart in two' Rachel Hore
'I fell completely in love with this novel. Letters to the Lost is extraordinary vivid, compelling and beautifully told. It will stay with me for a long time' Miranda Dickinson
'A beautifully woven tale of love and loss that breaks your heart and rebuilds it. I couldn't put it down. It was big juicy read that reminded me of books that I loved in the past that wrapped you up, held you tight and didn't put you down until you were left devastated that the book had ended yet totally satisfied' Liz Fenwick
'A warm, compelling and beautifully crafted love story, Letters to the Lost is elegantly written and extremely well-researched, and the wonderfully satisfying ending made me sob' Susan Elliot Wright
'This novel is Romantic with a capital "R", a story to lose yourself in. It sweeps you up into the lives of its characters and makes you hope that sometimes lost loves can be found' Kate Lord Brown
'Letters to the Lost is sweeping, wonderful and truly, truly romantic' Julie Cohen
'Letters to the Lost pulsates with life, offering a vibrant love story that transcends time and the heartbreak of war. Settle in somewhere comfortable; you are in for an enthralling read' Kate Alcott
'Letters to the Lost is a powerful debut, one of those rare books that grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go. A heart-wrenching, smile-through-the-tears story of love lost and re-found you won t be able to put it down' Lauren Willig
'A true epic: in character, writing, emotion. You live their lives with them' Vanessa Lafaye, author of Summertime
'A moving period love story' Sunday Mirror
'A beautiful love story' Prima
'A touching story that swept me along to its end' Woman & Home
'Tender, heart-rending and utterly compelling' Good Housekeeping
'A beautiful story that gets under your skin' --Sun
About the Author
Iona Grey has a degree in English Literature and Language from Manchester University, an obsession with history and an enduring fascination with the lives of women in the twentieth century. She lives in rural Cheshire with her husband and three daughters. She tweets @iona_grey.
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But, just occasionally, along comes a book that is so beautiful I envy all those who haven't read it yet and still have the joy of it to come. This is just such a book. It has two stories running parallel - one set in the war and the other in the present. Jess finds a letter in a derelict house from Dan, an old, dying American soldier who is looking for Stella, the girl he had a short, passionate affair with during the war. Jess finds more letters written 70 years ago from the American and takes it upon herself to try to unite the two war-time lovers before it is too late. Jess is discovered hiding in the house by Will, an heir hunter, and he wants to help with the search.
But, of course, things are never that simple. Jess and Will are, to me, reminiscent of Dex and Em (One Day) and Will and Louisa (Me Before You.) Stella and Dan throw me right back to Meggie and Father Ralph de Bricassart (Thornbirds.) Their stories are completely different, but something in the characterisation has echoes of these characters. The whole thing was simply beautiful and poignant and heart-wrenching and I found myself reading on into the night, without realising how late it was.
Probably my best read of the year so far - and it's not a crime novel! If they make a film I actually won't go to see it as it is simply one of those stories that would be ruined in a heartbeat if they chose the wrong actor.....and yes, I may be referring to one of the above!
The novel is split across two periods (one present day, the other during The Second World War) and I was completely drawn in by both. I found the writing so beautiful and emotional, and the sense of time and place brilliantly drawn. I won't say too much about the story itself (so many reviews have already done that so well), but suffice to say I fell totally in love with the characters, Stella and Dan especially, and did not want the book to end. I was completely enthralled from the first page to the last, and shed many a tear on the way.
I recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone looking to get lost in a beautiful story. It's wonderful.
The story starts in 2011 with Jess, who is on the run from an abusive boyfriend. In desperation she breaks into an empty cottage in a quiet road, intending to lay low for a few days. The cottage has obviously not been lived in for some time, there is no gas or electric, although the owner's belongings are still in the cottage. So Jess is surprised to find a letter which has recently arrived in the post addressed to a Mrs S Thorne and which has come all the way from America. Jess opens the letter and this is where the second part of the story starts.
The story effortlessly flits between 2011 where Jess and her new friend Will try to find the elusive Mrs S Thorne and 1943, when the love story of Dan and Stella unfolds. Whether in the past or the present, both parts of the story are equally compelling and you continue reading as you are desperate to find out what happens. This is one of the most amazing love stories I have ever read and I should warn you, you will need a box of tissues come the end. In fact, I had to re-read the last few chapters of the book as I was crying so much I could hardly make out the words.
This is a riveting read, one of the best books I have ever read and if you do read it, you will not be disappointed.
Iona Grey has written a story with an epic scope which spans generations but draws you in with the intimacy of its emotions and the subtle observations of times past and life today. And while Jess and Will finally finding each other gives us a life-affirming romantic payoff, it's always Stella and Dan's story which takes centre stage. And yes, it's heart-breaking but it's also uplifting in its own way.
I absolutely adored this book. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's such an absorbing read. But more, it will transport you - well it transported me.
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