When is love impossible? Can you really love someone when times demand that you don’t?
This book starts with the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and a young woman bearing a letter sent to her grandmother many years ago. We are led back to a time right after the war where German prisoners were housed in Norfolk England and tasked with the removal of bombs planted during the war. It’s 1946, and sentiments run high as there are few who have not lost a beloved someone to the war. The main character Fran has lost a brother, but then encounters a German prisoner, who touches her heart in so many ways with his kind and loving nature. Fran falls for him and he for her, but with tensions running high Fran and Thomas find their love seems to be doomed.
Also, present is a young man, Martin, who through no fault of his own is deemed unable to serve. He becomes the brunt also of the mentality some had of those who could not serve. However, Martin’s mother holds a secret which Martin will learn that will change his life. He too, is smitten with Fran and vies for her attention, but her heart is won by Thomas.
Fran has a sister, who hates all that has to do with the Germans and constantly reminds Fran of the loss of their brother, a wound Fran feels most deeply along with her mother. However, the war is over and tensions need to be cooled as the people come to realize that many of these prisoners were not Nazis, just young men compelled to serve.
We are also witness to the loneliness war brings to the women who are left behind as the head of the camp’s wife became involved with an American soldier who promised her the world but delivered only emptiness and heartache. We see the results and the devastation that was brought to many a soldier before we ever knew about PTSD and the effects it had on minds.
This was a fine story that made us look at the aftereffects of war and how one can’t control the ones they love and care for. The brutality often survived after the last battle was fought.
Thank you to Sarah Mitchell, Bookouture, and NetGalley for a copy of this book due out June, 18, 2021.
and here’s the author:
After graduating from Cambridge University, Sarah Mitchell practiced as a barrister in London for 20 years, working in the field of human rights and European Law. She was tempted to write fiction for a long while and finally signed up for an introductory creative writing course with the Open University. Two years later she took a sabbatical from the bar to do an MA in Creative Writing at the UEA and has never looked back. THE LOST LETTERS is her first novel, inspired by a walk on the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea to calm her nerves before starting the MA, and the decision her grandparents almost made to evacuate her mother to Canada at the start of the Second World War. Sarah now lives back in Norfolk – where she grew up – with her husband and three almost-grown-up children, and combines writing with some legal work.