#bookreview The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen published by Michael Joseph

Lost letters have only one hope for survival . . .

Inside the Dead Letters Depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries: Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names – they are all the culprits of missed birthdays, broken hearts, unheard confessions, pointless accusations, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers.

When William discovers letters addressed simplyto ‘My Great Love’ his work takes on new meaning. Written by a woman to a soulmate she hasn’t met yet, the missives stir William in ways he didn’t know were possible. Soon he begins to wonder: Could William be her great love?

William must follow the clues in Winter’s letters to solve his most important mystery yet: the human heart.

My reading experience:

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publishers for my free ARC.

Meet William, disenchanted romantic in his perfect vocation. Shy, cautious and yet determined to get to the bottom of one particular letter in The Dead Letters Depot addressed to My Great Love.

This tale has meandering prose filled with sorrowful nostalgia befitting of a character so much older. I pictured William as a middle aged man rather than a young man is his thirties, but we learn of his grandpa chic and penchant for Corderoy very early on. William is lost. He is lost in the Supernatural section of the Dead Letters Depot, lost in his marriage and lost in his life path. The expectation of a novel abandoned, William finds a letter from a woman named Winter addressed to My Great Love and falls head over heels into the romanticism of a soul mate he has never met.

William and his wife Clare are growing up and growing apart. There is a lot to relate to in this book, from a friendship turned into relationship, grand ideas about how life should be, the disappointment and treadmill of reality, the distractions of and at work, and the illusion of love.

There are many exquisite phrases to make the reader stop and just take a moment. The characters grow as the story develops. Secrets, anxieties, deceit, betrayal, expectations- all things we hide from the people around us, are explored. An elegant conclusion to a wistful tale of the journey of love.

This is a story that will make the reader ask him or herself questions. I highly recommend The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen.

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