A few years ago when I was a Creative Writing student living off of cold beans and Strongbow at university I had to critique a short story for one of my lectures, the short story I chose was Fiona Walker’s ‘Red Letter Day’, having fallen in love with it. As part of my coursework I was required to interview the author so I nervously sent Fiona an email thinking that I probably wouldn’t hear anything back, however, not only did I get a reply but Fiona answered all of my questions and then even asked to read my piece of work after I had done it. I couldn’t have been more over the moon. (I got a 1st for that coursework by the way…thought I’d just slip that in there! Oh yeeeeaaaaaah!)
Ever since reading ‘Red Letter Day’ I have been a big fan of Fiona’s books and having read some of her backlist a few years ago I was super excited when Novelicious sent me ‘The Love Letter’ to review…
Allegra “Legs” North works in publishing, has a sister selling her wedding dress on ebay after a divorce, oh and her ex-brother-in-law is now married to her best friend *awkward*. She constantly looks after the wants and needs of the demanding authors the house represents and is currently sleeping with her boss, Conrad…..oh yes, and, when she split from long term love Francis, Allegra poured her heart and soul into a letter to him, stained the pages with her tears…..then never got a response. Ouch!
So when Conrad asks Legs to arrange for mysterious author Gordon Lapis to appear at a high society book festival on the Devon coast, where she spent her Summer holidays as a child and fell in love with Francis, it’s up to Allegra to face her past…..literally….since Francis’s father is in charge of the event.
Allegra is easy to love as a character, from the opening scene where we see sister Roz making her don her too-tight wedding dress to pose for pictures on ebay, her wit and warm personality are easy to relate to as a reader. Her relationship with her young nephew is also incredibly poignant.The character of Conrad was a git; His arrogant nature grated on me and Istruggled to understand why Allegra was attracted to him at all.
Once Legs returns to Devon we meet more gloriously written characters from her past, including her eccentric mother who likes to spend a lot of time naked *Oooh Matron* and of course, Francis himself, polite, handsome Francis. But whatever happened to Allegra’s love letter? Did Francis ever read it? Did he ever reply?
Packed full of beautifully written characters that made me laugh, angry, frustrated and mystified (watch out for author Gordon Lapis!) and set within the gorgeous scenery of Devon I loved this book. It’s filled with passion and substance and is a definite must for anyone who believes, unfailingly, in love.