Kayte Nunn comes to the blog with a story of loss, love and sacrifices all played out with the Scilly Isles off the coast of Cornwall as the centerpiece in
The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant
What do an Australian Marine Biologist, an aged mountaineer, a psychiatrist and a recluse artist have in common? All spent time on one of the Scilly Islands to heal, study or simply remove themselves from society for a while. The story is told in multiple perspectives and all unfold to provide healing, insight and some new opportunities that were previously unexpected. Opening with a new opportunity for Rachel, she’s been hired to study a clam off the coast of Cornwall. A bit of a commitment-phobe, Rachel has spent her career studying different bivalves throughout the world, never really staying in one place for long. Used to her own company, capable and raised on the water in Australia, she’s excited by the new opportunity, if not thrilled with the cold. Heading out unprepared for a change in the weather, she’s soon stranded and near-death on the most remote of the islands, when rescued by Leah, a former artist who has consigned herself to life on the isolated island, preferring solitude to people. During her recovery, Rachel’s curiosity gets the best of her, and she’s found a packet of unsent letters to an E. Durrant in London. Love letters where the emotions of the writer fairly jump off the page. Instantly Rachel sets her mind to finding the intended recipient.
Esther Durrant is at the end of her life, and a fall necessitated her granddaughter’s help. While Eve had intended to head to Africa with her boyfriend to do some community service, her gran needed her and it is the perfect time to work on her gran’s biography – promised to the publisher within months. There are, however, pieces of the story that Eve just KNOWS her grandmother isn’t sharing, and for her part, Esther is lost in memories of times and people past, secrets kept and some regrets. When the call from Rachel brings the unsent letters to her doorstep, Esther asks Rachel to find Richard (the sender of the letters) and she’ll share the story with Eve.
Times past and present, with ‘treatments’ outmoded and attitudes and laws of the past all play into the story: from a woman ‘placed’ in isolation for ‘treatment’ of post-partum depression, without recourse and the full agreement of the ‘powers that be” in the 1950’s, to the illicit love between two other patients, the abiding love of the Doctor for Esther even as that love went unfulfilled. As the story unfolds we learn of sacrifices, struggles, healing and hope as each character finds something to cling to – even when they believed that they were to blame for things working in unexpected ways. With a progression that gives multiple points of view at different points in time, the story unfolds organically as questions are asked and half-answered right up until the conclusion of the story. A multi-generational mystery story that shows the power of love and the enduring spirit of humans in this thing called life. Grab this, a cup of tea and a comfy chair – you won’t regret the time spent.
Title: The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant
Author: Kayte Nunn
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Depression, Dual Narration, Dual Timeline, Family Saga, Grief, Historic Elements, Mystery Elements, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks
Published on: 3 March, 2020
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 53 minutes
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A cache of unsent love letters from the 1950s is found in a suitcase on a remote island in this mysterious love story in the tradition of the novels by Kate Morton and Elizabeth Gilbert .
1951. Esther Durrant, a young mother, is committed to an isolated mental asylum by her husband. Run by a pioneering psychiatrist, the hospital is at first Esther’s prison but soon surprisingly becomes her refuge.
2018. Free-spirited marine scientist Rachel Parker embarks on a research posting in the Isles of Scilly, off the Cornish coast. When a violent storm forces her to take shelter on a far-flung island, she discovers a collection of hidden love letters. Captivated by their passion and tenderness, Rachel determines to track down the intended recipient. But she has no idea of the far-reaching consequences her decision will bring.
Meanwhile, in London, Eve is helping her grandmother, a renowned mountaineer, write her memoirs. When she is contacted by Rachel, it sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to reveal secrets kept buried for more than sixty years.
With an arresting dual narrative that immediately captivates the reader, The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant is an inspirational story of the sacrifices made for love.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.