November 21, 2016

Book Review: Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey

I promised to love you forever, in a time when I didn't know if I'd live to see the start of another week. Now it looks like forever is finally running out. I never stopped loving you. I tried, for the sake of my own sanity, but I never even got close, and I never stopped hoping either.

Late on a frozen February evening, a young woman is running through the streets of London. Having fled from her abusive boyfriend and with nowhere to go, Jess stumbles onto a forgotten lane where a small, clearly unlived in old house offers her best chance of shelter for the night. The next morning, a mysterious letter arrives and when she can't help but open it, she finds herself drawn inexorably into the story of two lovers from another time.

In London 1942, Stella meets Dan, a US airman, quite by accident, but there is no denying the impossible, unstoppable attraction that draws them together. Dan is a B-17 pilot flying his bomber into Europe from a British airbase; his odds of survival are one in five. In the midst of such uncertainty, the one thing they hold onto is the letters they write to each other. Fate is unkind and they are separated by decades and continents. In the present, Jess becomes determined to find out what happened to them. Her hope—inspired by a love so powerful it spans a lifetime—will lead her to find a startling redemption in her own life in this powerfully moving novel.

Both storylines are equally compelling – Stella and Dan’s doomed World War II romance and Jess’s present day predicament of trying to stand on her own after having escaped a violent relationship. Like Jess, who escapes from her frightening reality by delving into the bundle of old letters in an abandoned house, I was swept away by Letters to the Lost. I could not wait to find out what happened to Stella and Dan, what tore them apart and if it was still possible to bring them back together. An absorbing and heartwrenching read.

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