Title: Letters to the Lost
By: Brigid Kemmerer
Review By: Aurora
This story is life. Straight forward, no sugar coating. It taps into what it means to grieve, to regret, to live. That is what I love about Letters to the Lost.
This story is all about finding someone who shares the pain of losing a loved one.
Juliet and Declan are almost complete opposites besides for this commonality.
Juliet writes letters to her recently deceased mother and leaves them at her grave. Declan decides to reply. That one simple move begins a long chain of letters and emails that link these two lives to one another.
Every chapter shows the contrast between their real lives and the lives they express in their writing. So much is kept hidden when in person, but when writing to a secret stranger, what is there to hide? Each letter reveals some private thoughts and memories that give an outlet for their pain. Just knowing someone else understands or is simply “listening,” often provides a sense of hope or comfort. I think that’s what is so well captured in the writing, the subtle shifts to being a little bit better.
Often times my main critique in books is that it’s difficult to follow and keep track of everything going on. That wasn’t so when reading this one. I think the formation of letters alongside their real lives helped keep the story moving at a nice, even pace.
Both perspectives seamlessly blended together without any choppiness. As every chapter passed, you could see how much more entangled Juliet and Declan’s real lives became, without either of them knowing it. Even with the third person point of view, I was easily able to get inside the characters’ heads and understand them.
I also loved how the author incorporated photography into the story. It gave another dimension to Juliet that wouldn’t have otherwise been there. It showed that she had hobbies, aspirations, and a life before her mother’s death. It also explains the relationship Juliet and her mother had before the accident.
Brigid Kemmerer is also the author of a mystery book called Thicker Than Water and five fantasy novels in The Elemental Series. After Letters to the Lost, I’m definitely going to check out her other works (especially the fantasy). And I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
Letters to the Lost almost perfectly summed up the grief one might feel when having lost a loved one. There are no definitive stages, just being. However, it wasn’t sad, it was almost hopeful. The beauty in which she brought the two lives of Juliet and Declan alive, has formed beyond what is written.