Sunday, March 12, 2023

BLOG TOUR - Letters to a Stranger



England, 1940. Dearest Ruby, you must have heard the news by now. The very worst has happened. Our countries are at war. What can I do? How can I stop this nightmare from happening? One day soon we’ll be together again. I swear. I love you. E. x

Present day. Ruby Summers has lived an extraordinary life. Now, at ninety-six years old and living in a quiet countryside retirement home, Ruby may be an elderly lady, but her memory remains perfect.

She remembers the summer in rural Norfolk eighty years ago when she fell in love with Edmondo, and the stolen moments spent in the orchard dreaming of their future. But tears fill her green eyes when she also remembers the September morning they embraced as they listened to war being declared on the wireless. As her village turned against Edmondo and his Italian family, Ruby knew she would be forced to make an impossible choice – one that would lead to a betrayal her heart never recovered from, and an earth-shattering secret she has never shared…

But when lonely Ruby decides to take part in a letter-writing scheme for the elderly, and single mother Cassie replies, she realises this could be her chance. Her last chance. By revisiting her past, can she finally share the secret that has haunted her for all these years? And will her unexpected connection with Cassie unearth truths even Ruby never knew were hidden – 
or will it tear both their lives apart?

This totally gripping and irresistible story of wartime love and heartbreak will captivate readers who love Lorna Cook, Fiona Valpy and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Author Bio:

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Title:   Letters to a Stranger
Author:  Sarah Mitchell
Publisher:  Bookouture 
Genre:   Historical Fiction 
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   319
Date of Publication:   March 9, 2023
My Rating:   5 Stars 

In this touching book, a beautiful story is told in the form of letters, text messages, as well as emails. This dual-timeline story goes back and forth during the World War II era and present day during the height of the pandemic. 

Our characters are elderly Ruby, nearing 100 years of age, in present day exchanging letters with a complete stranger due to a correspondence program set up with local residents of a retirement home where they were meant to write letters back-and-forth with students. However, Cassie, the mother of the student meant to write the letters, takes on the task because her six-year-old son was mistakenly included in the program. 

There is more to learn about both Ruby and Cassie. For Cassie, she has taken her son away to keep him as far away from anyone infected with the virus, as he has had seriously poor health and is she feels that he would be too vulnerable to Covid. Cassie exchanges emails with her partner but also letters with the owner of the place where she is staying. As far as Ruby is concerned, her story begins when she is about 17 years of age and has found love, but because of the war and the ideals associated with the war, her love is a forbidden one.

This story had me utterly enthralled. While the story started slow because it was all in letter format, it quickly became very engaging. I suddenly found myself very immersed in both Ruby and Cassie’s stories, more than eager to see how their lives evolved based on each of their experiences. Quite a bit of the story was heartbreaking, especially when we read of Ruby’s life, especially as Cassie starts to read some of Ruby’s actual writing when she was younger. 

Sarah Mitchell wrote the story in a compelling fashion, which will no doubt, inspire some to think about how written letters can have a very powerful affect on one’s life.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Sarah Mitchell grew up in Norfolk and studied law at Cambridge University. She practised as a barrister in London for nearly 20 years before turning to writing. Sarah and her husband now live in beautiful North Norfolk with three almost-grown-up children, an extremely affectionate dog and a horse called Joey.  Her debut novel, THE LOST LETTERS, was inspired by her parents' experiences in the Second World War and her desire to explore the heart-breaking impact of the war on women and children. By contrast, THE COUPLE is a dark psychological thriller that twins themes of right and wrong with the age-old complication of an all-consuming past love. Her third novel, THE ENGLISH GIRL is a story inspired by an incredible true love story, a beautiful, sweeping tale of hope, courage and heart-breaking choices. Now, her fourth novel, LETTERS TO A STRANGER, explores themes of love, betrayal and redemption, through the eyes of young Ruby Summers who is forced to make an impossible decision when Italy joins the Second World War and her village turns against the love of her life.

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