I was privileged to meet Emily Gunnis, author of The Girl in the Letter, along with several other authors at a RoofTopBookClub event earlier this year. You can read about that evening here. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of The Girl in the Letter at that event and then the lovely folk at TeamBookends sent me another in return for an honest review and I am delighted that I finally got round to reading it on my recent holiday.
The Girl in the Letter was published by Headline Review in paperback on 4th April and is available for purchase in all formats through the links here.
The Girl in the Letter
A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away. A mystery to be solved.
1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.
Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late.
Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for ever…
Read her letter. Remember her story…
My Review of The Girl in the Letter
A letter leads to a mystery for Sam.
I was fortunate to read The Girl in the Letter in one sitting on a long haul flight because it’s such an interesting and compelling narrative that it deserves concentrated and complete attention.
The Girl in the Letter is a magnificent story, filled with pain, genuine cruelty and a scarily plausible setting of St Margaret’s home for unmarried mothers. So well researched, many of the events are terrifyingly shocking and I felt unnerved and angry as I read.
The Girl in the Letter was not quite what I was expecting. I had anticipated a light, albeit emotional and touching story, but I hadn’t reckoned on quite such a roller coaster read of exciting plot, enmeshed narrative strands and fast paced story telling. I was completely captivated from start to finish.
The setting of St Margaret’s, and indeed, the competitive and pressured newsroom in which Sam works, both have a wonderful level of authenticity so that it easy to picture the scenes in my mind.
I loved the skilful characterisation. Emily Gunnis understands the complexity of personality and identity and how humans crave love and recognition. She writes so effectively that she has the ability to draw in the reader so that they are no longer merely reading a narrative, but they are finding out about real people who matter to them.
What I found so fascinating about the characterisation in The Girl in the Letter was that although Sam is the conduit through whom all the action is brought together, I didn’t find her as fascinating as the other characters. I think this is because even the most secondary people in the story are plausible and sadly familiar from scandals in recent history. I can imagine The Girl in the Letter might make uncomfortable reading for some!
I loved The Girl in the Letter. Emily Gunnis transported me to another time and place so utterly brilliantly that I felt part of the action. My emotions were not my own as I read. I thoroughly recommend The Girl in the Letter. It’s a cracking read.
About Emily Gunnis
Emily Gunnis previously worked in TV drama and lives in Brighton with her young family. She is one of the four daughters of Sunday Times bestselling author Penny Vincenzi.