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Letters From the Past: The captivating new family drama from the Sunday Times Bestseller - the perfect escape for 2020!
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Letters From the Past: The captivating new family drama from the Sunday Times Bestseller - the perfect escape for 2020! (Hardback)

Usually despatched within 2 days.


The captivating new drama of family secrets and second chances, from Sunday Times bestselling author Erica James It's the autumn of 1962 in the idyllic Suffolk village of Melstead St Mary. Evelyn Devereux's husband Kit is planning their 20th wedding anniversary party. But as they prepare 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 her 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 too receives an anonymous letter.

Across 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 home, and shocked to learn what has been going on in her absence, she finds herself reluctantly confronting a secret she's kept hidden for a very long time. Once again Romily is challenged to save the day and hold the family together. Can she do it, and maybe seize some happiness for herself at the same time?

From the gorgeous Suffolk countryside to the glamorous resort of Palm Springs, let Erica James sweep you away...


Readers are enchanted by Erica's storytelling...

'A glorious summer story which sizzles with passion: idyllic location, compelling characters and lives so interwoven that their secrets have the power to change everything. I wanted it to go on forever'

Cathy Bramley

'Joyously readable'

Woman & Home

'The setting is almost a character in itself in this evocative tale of tears and laughter'

Woman Magazine

'Erica James offers glorious escapism set in a house to die for'

Sunday Express Magazine

'Full of warmth and appeal'

Good Housekeeping

'A captivating read: beautifully written and heartrendingly sad'

Daily Telegraph

'Absorbing and uplifting'

My Weekly

Fiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945History & PoliticsRegional & national historyEuropean historyBritish & Irish historyPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesSocial groupsRural communities Publisher: Orion Publishing Co Publication Date: 16/04/2020 ISBN-13: 9781409173854  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Erica James is the number one international bestselling author of twenty-two novels, 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 Novel of the Year Award for her novel Gardens of Delight, set in beautiful 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. Chat to Erica online: Twitter: @TheEricaJames Facebook: @EricaJamesAuthor Instagram: @the_ericajames

More books by Erica James

Customer Reviews

Letters can be powerful things, and in this book they take on special resonance as from early in the book they threaten relationships. This novel is actually a sequel to a previous book concerning this very extended family, but I read it as a standalone. It means that the first section shows several people going about their lives but it is quickly revealed the relationships between the people who are nearly all in Suffolk, England, where the central house in the story is to be found. Island House has evidently been home at some point to many of the characters in the novel, though its owner, Romily Deveraux- Temple is in America at the beginning of the book. The time is autumn of 1962, when war is a memory from childhood for many of the characters. Evelyn is married to Kit, and has two children who are at Cambridge University. His sister, Hope, is married to Evelyn’s brother, Edmund, with an adopted daughter Annelise who is a junior fellow in Oxford. Kit and Hope’s other brother, Arthur is the permanently angry and aggressive husband of Julia, father to Ralph and Julia’s son Charles. Julia, Hope and Evelyn together with Florence, Romily’s housekeeper, all receive unsettling anonymous letters. The book is so well constructed that all the characters have their story told, but Romily’s story is once more big enough to encompass all the others. I was pleased and intrigued to have the opportunity to read and review this extremely engaging book of family and friends. Melstead St Mary is a small village, where generations of people have worked together and relationships have become complex over the year. Evelyn’s marriage to Kit during the War followed his severe injuries on a ship, and her own work and experiences at Bletchley Park. When she receives a letter which questions her children’s parentage, it sets off all sorts of memories. Hope is a successful author of children books and is driven to work, while her husband is the local doctor. Edward’s dedication to the people of the village makes a letter’s suggestion of his multiple infidelities possible to Hope’s already confused mind. Julia is already in an abusive relationship as Arthur is excessively controlling and dominating, so a letter which alleges her inadequacy is profoundly disturbing. Meanwhile, Romily is in America meeting a mysterious writer who may work on a film adaptation of one of her books. Red St Clair is a man who has an attitude which she finds annoying and upsetting, but there is something which she finds more attractive than she can understand. Many storylines come together as desperation and drama come to a head during a Christmas which brings the area to a temporary halt. This book takes complex and three dimensional characters and situations and presents them in a linear way which develops ideas and associations so cleverly that the story is satisfactorily explored. There are moments of high drama, and painful memories here, but all are dealt with in a sensitive and appealing way. I was really drawn into the story and I found every character, even relatively minor ones, have realistic and understandable motives for what they do and say.This is a mature novel which offers enormous insight into relationships which exist outside strict conventions and expectations. I recommend this book as a wonderfully engaging family story.

- 24/04/2020
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