“Letters To Bizzy” by John M. Tabor – Book Review

John, a jaded literary agent, is in his sixties and has just had the unenviable experience of clearing out his mother’s house after her passing. While doing so he found a shoebox of old, unopened letters. Why would his mother have kept them all these years, but never opened them and read their contents? Curious, he takes the letters back home with him and reads… They are dated from 1947-1953 , all addressed to Bizzy. Who is Bizzy?

As he reads, and we read along with him, we realize that they are all written by a man named Robert Guthrie, and that Bizzy is his daughter. Robert lives on Bogues Bank in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The letters are a testament to his love for the history and people of the area. He hopes that by relating his thoughts via letter he will be able to form some sort of bond with his estranged daughter.

“Change is the inconvenient truth by which all folks are forced to live.”

There were several things that I really enjoyed about this short novel, the most prominent being the wonderful Outer Banks setting of the letters. I had the privilege of visiting the Outer Banks once on vacation, and can testify that it truly is a magical place.

The characters sprang to life via the letters and we come to meet them during bad times and good, through the rich and varied history of a barrier island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Bogue Banks was vulnerable to change wrought by the weather, and also the change brought about by incomers to the area. The history of the area during the Civil War was particularly interesting as the location was centrally located between the Confederate South, and the Union States in the North.

This is a slow moving story, much as a summer day in North Carolina. The friendships between Robert Guthrie and his best friend Thomas, a black man, and between Robert and Alice, an elderly, eccentric, and very wealthy white woman, were well described. “…you had to be a little cautious about being seen fraternizing with folks of a different shade.” I particularly enjoyed the scenes where Robert and Thomas worked arduously on a shrimp boat.

The vast contrast between a Boston snowstorm where John is reading the letters, and summery Bogue Bank where the letters are set, was very pronounced.

I was not overly fond of the lack of articles in the writing. ‘A’, ‘the’, and ‘an’ seemed remarkably absent – perhaps as a tribute to the local dialect??

The flow of the novel, when switching from the letters, to John’s own whisky-fueled reminiscences seemed off and could have benefited from clear delineation from headings of some sort. I did appreciate how John tried to thwart the amorous intentions of his neighbor, Peggy.

I relished how the author intertwined the lives of the protagonist, John Tibbits, and the letter writer, Robert Guthrie. To sum up, I recommend this book to those who like a character driven read with lots of historical references, and a strong sense of place.

Feel free to check out what other bloggers on this tour thought of the book:

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Travelling Pages Tours via Dreaming Big Publications – for the writing of this review as part of the tour.

ISBN: 9780578568539 – ASIN: B099GP2PJB – 176 pages

John Tabor worked as an executive in the bio-pharmaceutical industry for 32 years. Scientifically trained, he earned a B.S. degree in Biology from Elizabethtown College and a Ph.D. in Genetic Engineering from Kansas State University. He completed postdoctoral training at the Roche Institute for Molecular Biology and at MIT. During his career he participated in many technical firsts, including the launch of a new class of biotherapeutics for treatment of immune disorders. Over the course of many years he has authored numerous scientific articles and edited a book on Genetic Engineering in Industrial Pharmacy. Although gratifying, he always found the process of technical writing somewhat unimaginative and promised himself someday this would change. In retirement he has now reinvented himself as a writer, and is free to explore the creative side of authorship. John Tabor’s first non-technical book is “In My Father’s Shadow”, a series of short stories chronicling the life of his father and time they spent together. “My First Five Years at Sea” is his first book of fiction following the adventures of a young man who is shanghaied from the potential of a brilliant career, only to find he was meant to spend his life at sea. His current book “Letters to Bizzy” is a fictional account of a man exploring letters he found in his dead mother’s attic which takes him on a voyage into the past and to an island rich in culture.

Connect with John Tabor via his website, or on Facebook.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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4 Responses to “Letters To Bizzy” by John M. Tabor – Book Review

  1. Fascinating premise. Thanks for the review, Lynne! Adding it to my TBR.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: “Letters To Bizzy” by John M. Tabor – Book Review @book_blogtours #BlogTour #LettersToBizzy #BookReview – Book Library

  3. Pingback: “Letters To Bizzy” by John M. Tabor – Book Review @book_blogtours #BlogTour #LettersToBizzy #BookReview – Imobiliare 24

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