There’s something about ‘handwritten’ letters that is highly romantic – weather between lovers, friends or family. Maybe because these days you can send a 5 word text to someone in a nanosecond to make contact, it makes the thought of sitting down and putting time and effort
in to putting your words down on paper, sealing it up and posting the letter seem incredibly special.
So when I stumbled across this book at a sale I immediately picked it up and I finished reading it in two sittings.
The story takes place over two months, starting at the beginning of November when our male character Sam arrives in Alaska.
Sam is writing to his estranged wife Hadley, to whom he has separated following the death of their Son, Paul.
He has travelled to Alaska to visit the site where Paul tragically died in a plane crash, much to the non-understanding of Hadley. Sam, clutching at the last strings of his marriage, is reaching out via letter to try to get Hadley to believe he is doing the right thing by gaining the family some closure. Whilst receiving a lot of hostility at first, he is not willing to give up on repairing his once inseparable and loving family.
Slowly but surely Hadley starts to open up in her letters. Having moved in to an island cottage for the winter, she has started to take up painting again and begin her grieving process.
Small memories and jealousies start creeping in to the writings of both parties and it is clear there are lots of unfinished business between the couple. Hadley makes known her uncomfortable feelings about Sam sharing a tent with his travel guide Martha and questions if she should or even has the right to care. Though it is made clear that Sam remains as faithful as ever, it is here that the husband and wife start talking through the issues of their past – how did it all fall apart? Around this time we learn of Hadleys short-lived affair, what seems to be the final straw before the pair decided to separate, although the divide was made long before.
As the dangers of Sams travels become apparent and decisions start to come about – like wether or not to sell the family home – a lot of feelings start to get dug up between the two and we are taken through beautiful memories of the young family.
Reaching the site of his son’s death Sam does not have long to ponder due to weather problems, however, by placing an old family photo beside the plane wreck he receives the closure he was searching for.
Deciding she is not ready to give up their home and learning of Sam’s health problems, Hadley receives some closure of her own when she realises she is not ready to give up on her marriage.
With a few twists thrown in the end – a secret miscarriage, a con-artist and an isolated monastery – you are thrown in to the reunion you were hope for from the beginning.
A romantic, heartbreaking and yet happy story, I would definitely recommend this one for a read. Let me know what you think…