This is not the kind of book I would usually pick up with it being set in the war years.
I’m reading it long after it was first published and I have a friend to thank for the recommendation.
My friend is Kerry from https://chataboutbooks.blog/. She has been going on and on about how fabulous it was so when the opportunity came along to attend #ChaseBookfest in Staffordshire, where Iona Grey was one of the featured authors, me and Kerry jumped at the chance as it wasn’t far from where we live in North Staffs. We listened to the author read an extract from her latest book, and Kerry attended a Q & A session with tea and cake too. There was a pop up Waterstones shop and we purchased a paperback to have signed by the author. Kerry was astonished to realise that her review for another book by Iona Grey, The Glittering Hour, was ‘top Amazon review’ and the author knew who she was. It was a lovely moment to witness and Kerry had a real fan-girl moment. I also had my copy signed where the author wrote ‘Hope it’s not a disappointment’. It certainly wasn’t!! The Glittering Hour is now on my reading pile.
Winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2016
1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London…
Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five.
… He promised to love her forever
Seventy years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan’s words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late?
Now forever is finally running out.
This has got to be one of my favourite ever books!
It has two stories running parallel, one set in the war years and the other in the present day.
Jess, a singer in a band, runs away from her abusive partner at the end of a gig and finds herself in a derelict cottage in a back lane in London. It’s obviously been empty for a while and has no services, but there are still a few belongings there from the previous occupant. She hides out in there and is surprised when a letter arrives. She opens it and finds it’s from Dan, an old guy in the USA, and he’s searching for a lost love from seventy years ago. She has a look around and comes across a box of letters, filed in date order. She has nothing else to do so starts reading them. The letters are from Dan to Stella during the war years. She is touched to read these and wants to help Dan in his search. Jess is discovered hiding at the cottage by Will, who is an heir hunter. Things don’t run smoothly here and after a few hiccups Will wants to search too.
The story of Stella and Dan was set in some incredibly difficult times during the war.
Stella is a girl with no family, educated in the poor school. She is still firm friends with Nancy who she’s known since those school days. Stella becomes a housekeeper at the vicarage and ends up marrying the vicar. It seems a perfect happy-ever-after partnership, but it is far from it.
A chance meeting between her and Dan at a bombed church is the spark.
Dan is a pilot stationed in East Anglia for the US Air Force. Reading about some of the bombing raids on Germany was very tough, and many of his comrades were lost in the war. We know that Dan is still alive, but not well, as we meet him as an old man at the beginning of the book. The worry of being a casualty of war is felt as his letters are read throughout the book.
I loved reading the letters and got a real insight into his feelings for Stella.
A truly beautiful love story.
Stella and Dan, Jess and Will will stay on in my head for a long time. I love how the two stories run seamlessly into each other. This book made me feel so many different emotions from sad to happy, I was totally swept along by the story. The ending was perfect and I finished it in tears.
I can’t recommend it enough.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; Paperback Original edition (23 April 2015)
Get your copy on Amazon UK here:- Letters to the Lost