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Having grown up initially in a time of letter writing and witnessing the introduction of texting and social media, I love books that incorporate the historical importance of the written word! We forget how much thought can go into a letter when we have instant communication with people at all times. There was a movie and show on Hallmark called Signed, Sealed, Delivered that reminded me so much of this book. Set in modern times, it followed a dead letter office and their efforts to find the owners of letters. This book is set in the late 19th century, when letter writing was still a main mode of communication, and with everyone moving out west and becoming more separated from their families, it's not surprising that letters frequently found their way to dead letter offices. It was so enjoyable to read a book like this one!
Penelope Ercanbeck grew up knowing love and wanting love in return. Her parents wrote each other love letters, and she dreamed one day that she too could have such a romance. But three years have passed since her father died, and Penny is beginning to realize how much love might just be another fairytale. Working in a dead letter office to take care of herself and her mother, she becomes quite attached to the letters, especially the ones about matters of the heart. One particular author especially catches her eyes, as the man continues to write letters to a sweetheart who continues to not receive them. Realizing that there's a mystery to solve, Penny is determined to reunite the two. However, things are not so simple, and this one action leads to another which leads to another which leads to Penny taking the trip of a lifetime to meet the man who calls to her heart.
Penny was a darling character! I loved her idealistic view of the world, despite all the hardships she faced. She could have laid down and let her mother walk all over her, let her uncle decide her future, and remain uncaring about the plight of the poor letter writer, Thomas Conner. But her vision of a future love and the idea that everyone should find that love someday led her to have an amazing adventure, and it was such a pleasure to read! Thomas was an interesting hero, one who seemed to be in the midst of reforming himself, and he was charmed by Penny and wary of his interest in her. He had a dark past, and he was not without enemies, so their relationship definitely had its roadblocks. I also questioned his motive for writing the letters, given the circumstances that are eventually revealed to the reader. Seemed a bit odd. However, I thought the author did a wonderful job explaining everything and providing enough detail without getting bogged down in it. Lots of action, romance, and mystery to keep the reader going into the wee hours of the night!
I look forward to reading more books by this author! She is sure to be one I pick up in the future.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**