With many points of view taken into account, this is a story of family. As in all families, there are those we love, those we like, and those we cannot abide. All are portrayed here. Central to the novel is a grand old Sufflolk manor house called “Island House”.When poison-pen letters are distributing throughout this idyllic English village, they sew the seeds of doubt and suspicion upon their recipients – many of whom are members, or are in some way related to the Deveraux family. Family secrets are slowly revealed…
But will the Deveraux’s be able to endure their secrets scrutinized in the light of day? Many generations of the Deveraux family are drawn together after a tragic automobile accident. Will justice prevail?
I must confess that at first I was cast adrift by this novel due to the vast amount of characters. My attention span has been less than optimum since this pandemic has taken the world by storm. As I gradually became more familiar with the characters – and how they related to one another – I was again cast adrift, but in a different way, I was immersed in the family, the story, and the idyllic setting.
Told for the most part in 1962, the story has several flashbacks to the war years. Romily Deveraux-Temple, a mystery novelist, was also a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary during the war. Her story was fascinating and she is the matriarchal figure that ties the many threads of the story together.
Evelyn Deveraux, a mathematician, was also heavily involved in the war effort. She was a code breaker at Bletchley Park. A fact that she has kept secret.
Past mistakes and past loves resurface adding interest and suspense to what is already an absorbing family saga.
Before reading this, my first Erica James novel, I hadn’t realized that “Letters from the Past” is in fact a sequel to an earlier novel, “Coming Home to Island House” which is set during the war years, some two decades earlier. This in no way marred my enjoyment of this novel, but if I had read the other book first I might not have had so much trouble initially with the myriad characters. Rest assured this book reads fine as a stand-alone.
With elements of historical fiction, romance, and even mystery, this novel will be greatly appreciated by all who enjoy compelling women’s fiction. Highly recommended!
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Anne Cater and Random Things Tours via Orion Books.Published by Orion Books on April 16, 2020
ISBN: 9781409173854 ASIN: B07W1KBDV9 400 pages
Check out some of the other stops on the tour for “Letters From the Past”.