Letters from the Past
By Erica James
Published by Orion April 2020
What it’s about:
It’s the autumn of 1962 in the idyllic Suffolk village of Melstead St. Mary. Evelyn Devereaux’s husband Kit is planning their 20th wedding anniversary party. But as they plan to celebrate, Evelyn receives an anonymous letter that threatens to unravel the secrets she’s kept hidden for many years – secrets that reach back to the war and he days at Bletchley Park.
Evelyn’s sister-in-law, Hope, has brought joy to countless children with her bestselling books, but despite having a loving husband and caring family, happiness has never come easily to her. Then in an instant her fragile world is turned upside down when she receives an anonymous letter.
Acoss the village, up at Melstead Hall, Julia Devereux has married into a life beyond anything she could have dreamt of, not realising until it’s too late that it comes with a heavy price.
Meanwhile, in the sun-baked desert of Palm Springs, Romily Devereux-Temple, crime-writer and former ATA pilot, is homesick for her beloved Island House, where she’s saved the day more times than she can count. On her return she finds that along with Evelyn, Hope and Julia, she’s confronted with a letter threatening to reveal secrets from the past. Once again Romily is challenged to save the day and hold the family toegther. Can she do it, and maybe seize some happiness for herself at the same time?
What I think:
My stop on the blog tour for Letters of the Past coincides with publication day – Happy Publication Day Erica James!
Letters From the Past continues the story of Romily Temple and the Devereux family which began in Coming Home to Island House. I haven’t read the first book, but this stands alone and you don’t need to have read it as the author fills in any necessary back story.
Each story is told from a different character’s point of view. And the Devereux family is large and complicated, so this takes a little while to get to grips with all of the characters, their relationships and secrets, but once you do the story flies along.
This is book that explores the impact that the past can have on your present, primarily through the women in the family.
Every one has secrets that are hiding or events from their past of which they are not proud. The anonymous notes that the women receive reignite their feelings and fears as they try to work out who has sent them and what the motive is.
Motherhood is also a theme that runs through all of the individual stories. Biological mothers, step-mothers, adoptive mothers and illegitimate children all feature in the book. Some of the women love motherhood but some are struggling with their feelings and the roles that society expects them to play.
Romily is the central figure and my favourite character. Despite being years younger than her now deceased husband, Jack and nearer in age to her step-children than her husband, she is charismatic, adventurous and warm-hearted. Island House remains the focal point for the Devereux family and Romily brings them together while searching for some happiness of her own. her time in Palm Springs and relationship with screenwriter Red is a really engaging part of the story.
I really loved the way that the different threads of this story come together. The range of characters means that there are some you love, some who are quite horrible and some who surprise you. The ending is satisfying without being too sentimental and neat. there is a sense that these characters continue to live on after the events in this book – so who knows, maybe we have not heard the last from the Devereux family.
About the author:
Erica James is the number one international bestselling author of twenty-two, including the Sunday Times top ten bestsellers Summer at the Lake, The Dandelion Years and Song of the Skylark. She has sold over five million books worldwide and her work has been translated into thirteen languages.
Erica won the Romantic Novels of the Year Award for her novel Gardens of Delight, set in Lake Como, Italy, which has become a second home to her. Her authentic characters are thanks to her fondness for striking up conversation with complete strangers.
Check out her website: https://ericajames.co.uk/
and follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheEricaJames
Thank you Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for invited me to be part of this blog tour and sharing Letters of the Past.
Follow Anne’s blog: http://randomthingsthroughmyletterbox.blogspot.com/