In Denmark, Professor Kristian Larsen, an urbane man of facts, has lost his wife and his hopes for the future. On an isolated English farm, Tina Hopgood is trapped in a life she doesn’t remember choosing. Both believe their love stories are over.
Brought together by a shared fascination with the Tollund Man, subject of Seamus Heaney’s famous poem, they begin writing letters to one another. And from their vastly different worlds, they find they have more in common than they could have imagined. As they open up to one another about their lives, an unexpected friendship blooms. But then Tina’s letters stop coming, and Kristian is thrown into despair. How far are they willing to go to write a new story for themselves?
I read this cover to cover during the most recent Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon. I did a vlog of the experience, if you’d like to see my thoughts while I was reading.
- Epistolary novel! I love epistolary novels! Woooo! 🙂
- It’s a debut but doesn’t feel like one. The writing is always believable as letters. Some authors stray off, writing novel scenes in the middle of missives, but no such problem here.
- Youngson is a retiree and her age proximity to the protagonists only adds to the authentic feel.
- I like how they arrange to exchange letters – after sending a few through the mail they decide to continue to write longhand, but scan and send them as email attachments. They also promise to print out each letter before reading it, to preserve the analog feel.
- I liked learning about the characters and the plot kept me interested. It wasn’t hard to read it within a day.
- I feel bad bringing this up because it’s a problem with the whole of literature more than this one particular book, but… why can’t a guy and a gal just be friends? I want more books with platonic friendships, free of “will they/won’t they” overtones and insinuations of romance. The first three quarters of this book got my hopes up, but sadly platonic love just doesn’t seem to be a thing.
That’s just my hangup, though. Otherwise it’s a pleasant read and an easy recommend to any and all epistolary fans.