If there’s one thing I happen to have a penchant for (rather like ‘my one weakness!’ to quote someone from Larkrise to Candleford), it would be stories told in the form of letters. Correspondence, if you will. I love it. I’ve corresponded with friends since I was seven or eight, my first pen-pal being my now sister-in-law. Letters give such a glimpse into the every day life, into the stories people are living every day.
I enjoy writing them and receiving them from loved ones, and I enjoy reading letters by people I don’t even know, especially if they are telling a story. A few favorites come quickly to mind:
Whether or not you’re a huge fan of Ronald Reagan, this memoir is an adorable collection of letters written by Ronald Reagan to his wife, Nancy. It’s a poignant glimpse into the love life of this famous couple before and during their years in the White House. This book inspires me to continue writing love notes to my man.
An unusual friendship begins with the correspondence between an American and the staff of a British bookshop on Charing Cross Road in England. Set post-WWII, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the correspondents and the culture of the time. You come to care for the characters just as they come to care for each other. It has a rather bittersweet flavor to it, however; best consumed with a cup of tea.
A sweet and satisfying story told in letters exchanged between Juliet Ashton and the inhabitants of the small island of Guernsey. Also post-WWII, set in the UK. Romance. Intrigue. And a glimpse of an island held captive by the Germans during WWII. Love this book.
While the story isn’t told entirely in letter format, a good portion of it consists of letters written by Anne to her fiance, Gilbert, during the couple years of teaching before their marriage. While you can definitely tell that it was one of Montgomery’s later works in the Anne series, she’s still quite, witty and charming. I would love to have Anne’s knack for letter-writing.
What are your favorite books told in letter-format?