Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Blog Tour: The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen

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Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to the wonderful debut from Irish author Helen Cullen. If you're of the same vintage as myself, you will probably remember The Jolly Postman books - we had one in Primary School and I was fascinated with being able to open letters meant for other people. Considering that one of my greatest wishes as a child was to open all the mail in the Post Van, it always makes my voyeuristic little heart sing when I find a good epistolary novel. In my teenage years, I read the Griffin and Sabine series - a Supernatural story about letters and postcards between a couple who have never met. I've often wondered why there aren't more fiction books about letters - thankfully, this one (wait for it) delivers. 

While this story isn't explicitly told through letters, they do feature heavily. William Woolf works at the Dead Letters Depot in London. This is where all the undeliverable mail ends up - sometimes it's because the person doesn't exist, or the intended recipient is Supernatural, or sometimes it's due to damage. William is a letter detective - he spends his days sifting through the mail, and picking out special ones to unite with their intended recipients. 

William discovers a series of letters written to "My Great Love" - he's married to his own great love, Clare, but their marriage is strained. As William begins to develop an obsession with the writer of the love letters, is he at risk of missing what's happening to his own relationship? 

I assumed that this would focus entirely on the letters, and I was completely wrong. While they are sprinkled throughout, this is equally a story about a marriage. Fans of Us by David Nicholls may enjoy the relationship aspect of the story. 

A few years ago, I found a love letter in a piece of furniture that we acquired second hand. We never found the recipient, and later lost the letter, but I did archive it here on the blog if you'd like to see it: 

The Lost Letters of William Woolf is a sweet, charming read. Some of the letters are incredibly heartfelt and they did bring a tear to my eye at times. The story of William and Clare's marriage is not uncommon, and I liked how we heard from both William and Clare. For me, William came across as much, much older than he was supposed to be - he's not yet forty - but maybe that's just me refusing to accept the fact that I am, in fact, a middle-aged woman now.

The Lost Letters of William Woolf is released on July 12th, and you can purchase it at all good bookshops or via the links below:

If you'd like to check out the other stops on the Blog Tour happening throughout the month of July, you can keep track via the below graphic:

The importance of letters is beautifully documented here - some of my own most treasured possessions are letters or cards from people who are no longer with us. It's lovely to have memories, but it's even better to have something tangible, something you know they wrote with just you in mind. I do wish that more people would send letters and cards, I fear that it may become obsolete in the future. This story just proves how important it is to keep letter-writing going, and how much love and joy can come from a small envelope. 

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