The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis (Book Review)
Today I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis. As soon as I saw this stunning cover and heard about the storyline I couldn’t wait to delve in and see what happens. Thank you so much, Anne Cater, for the tour invite.
The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis
‘A great book, truly hard to put down. Fast paced, brilliantly plotted and desperately sad at times – all hallmarks of a bestseller’ Lesley Pearse on The Girl in the Letter
Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Kathryn Hughes, this gripping novel of long-buried secrets will stay with you for ever.
A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away. A mystery to be solved.
1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.
Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late.
Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for ever…
Read her letter. Remember her story…
The book is set in two time zones, 1956 and the present day, which worked well for me. The prologue reveals a letter written by a woman to a child called Elvira. It grips you from the very first page. You really feel the urgency and sheer desperation by the letter writer and want to learn how the situation came about.
Ivy Jenkins is sent to St Margarets’s in 1956, she is unmarried and pregnant and her family believes that she has brought shame on them. She is told that her baby will be adopted and then she will return to her family, however, this is not the case. Ivy’s story is compelling yet heartbreaking. At times it is an extremely difficult read, mainly because the story is based on actual events. It’s hard to think that these practices went ahead just over two generations ago and it could actually be your grandmother or great-grandmother who was subjected to this cruelty.
The present-day story centres around Sam, a mother, and journalist who is desperate for a break in her career. She comes across a letter and feels compelled to investigate the content further. However, the building in question is due for demolition so she needs to work against the clock to uncover the truth.
For a debut, this book is outstanding. The writing is simple yet atmospheric with a chilling edge. I felt that the subject had been thoroughly researched and dealt with in a sensitive manner. As the many secrets are revealed, the story becomes totally immersive and it was truly difficult to put down. I can’t wait to read more from this author and I will remember the characters, especially Ivy Jenkins, for a long time to come.
Thank you to Anne Cater and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book. I reviewed it honestly and voluntarily.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Emily Gunnis previously worked in TV drama and lives in Brighton with her young family. She is one of the four daughters of Sunday Times bestselling author Penny Vincenzi.
Follow her on Twitter @EmilyGunnis
and Facebook @emilygunnisauthor.