The Letter – Kathryn Hughes

This was one of the “3 for £5 ” books I got the other day. It appears to have been printed on the strength of high e-book sales – many of them are quoted in the opening pages and I have to say that they aren’t entirely misguided in their enthusiasm.  It is not a bad book at all and takes serious subjects seriously – domestic abuse, the Magdalen laundries.  The story flows swiftly and is well structured and there are shades of Maeve Binchy however it lacks Binchy’s  lively characterisation and compassionate humanity. The people in “The letter” are more situations than characters and while empathising with their plights in some cases I never found myself really caring what happened to them. There is also perhaps a little too much coincidence and I think the last scene was an unnecessary mistake. No need to tie up every last end and it just seemed spiteful.


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