Letters Never Sent

Letters Never Sent - Sandra Moran Despite all the excellent reviews, I ignored this book for months because I thought it would be too depressing for my taste, after reading the top 2 reviews on Amazon. I'm glad I finally took a chance on it. Let me say first, if you don't mind the minor spoiler, that this isn't tragic at all--very angsty, yes but it ends on a positive note.

Joan, a forty year old married paralegal with two kids, goes home to her recently deceased mother's house to settle her affairs. While cleaning out her house, she discovers a hidden stash of letters written by her mother but which were never sent out. The emotional and passionate contents of the letters come as a shock to Joan, as all her life, her mother Kate had never been anything but cold and distant.

Her interest piqued, Joan proceeds to investigate the hidden identity of her mother's lover and the circumstances of their love affair. The story goes back and forth in time from the present 1997 to the past (1930s to 1960). The alternating timelines sync perfectly as Joan slowly uncovers the mystery in the present while the author takes us back in time to the beautiful but ill-fated love developing between Kate and her lover. All the while, Joan has to contemplate her own very serious predicament, where any decision can have far-reaching consequences not just for herself, but for her family as well.

This book truly deserves the over a hundred five star reviews it got on Amazon. The characterizations are spot-on, from the brash feminist Annie, to the headstrong but ultimately conformist Kate, to the very conflicted Joan. Their stories are compelling and reflective of the times in which they occurred. The period settings feel authentic. But none of that will make an entertaining book without the ingenious plotting that holds everything together.

A perfect 5 stars!

P.S. Good books like these always make me think too much. And mulling over things sometimes throws up plot holes or some other incongruities. I can usually ignore them but in this book, a couple of important things bothered me a bit. Do not read if you haven't read the book, as these spoil the ending. 1. The entire premise of the book rests on Kate becoming a 'cold' and 'bitter' woman because she lost the love of her life and had to live with a man she hated and a child she didn't want. But when the final reveal is shown, Kate does gets her HEA, when Joan was just 5 years old. So why didn't that totally life-changing event change Kate for the better? 2. I can't believe how the author resolved Joan's predicament. Its the mother of all cop-outs! Using an accident to conveniently solve all her problems so Joan didn't have to make a hard choice? I know the author was probably trying to make Joan look better in our eyes, but come on, we're not purists! :)