Is it possible for a book written entirely in letters to sustain my interest?
If you’d have asked me before I started Dear Lily, I would have said ‘no’. In fact, if you’d asked me about 10% of the way through Drew Davies’ second book, I would have still said ‘no’ but something happened as I carried on reading – I forgot how it was written and became captivated by the story.
So, yes, with great writing, a wonderful cast and a catchy tale, which is funny and heartbreaking and all the things in between, it is possible to write an engaging book entirely in letters.
Here’s the blurb:
It’s me, Joy, your much wiser and (very slightly) older sister. I thought I’d start a new tradition of letter writing – now that we’re long distance.
On the plane over here, I began to cry in seat 21C. I think the magnitude of it finally hit me, after everything that happened…
I haven’t even unpacked yet – the only thing I’ve taken out of my suitcase is Harville, your beloved childhood teddy. Sorry for stealing him, but I need him more than you do. Every time I look at that little brown bear I think about our childhood. Remember that dance we made up to Annie’s ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’? (Remember the broom choreography?)
I’m also sorry for abandoning you – I’ve always been your agony aunt, and a buffer in your infamous shouting matches with Mum. But I had to leave, Lily, I had to.
Anyway, I’m here now. I’m here to start over, and to face up to the past. I want to learn to laugh again, and to find someone to love who will maybe even love me back. You always told me I was just getting by, not actually living, so I’m finally doing it. Wish me luck, little sister.
Joy is a character who gets better the more you get to know her – and, as it’s written as a sort of stream of consciousness, you get to know her well.
She looks like she has it together – moving to a new country for a promotion – but she’s like a duck on water, gliding along on the surface but furiously paddling underneath to keep going. And sometimes she sinks.
She has a great supporting cast around her who help to move the story along and I really enjoyed learning more about Denmark.
Without giving anything away, I found myself getting more and more intrigued by Joy’s little sister, Lily, and was thrown off course a couple of times but that’s all I’ll say about that.
In summary, this book turned out to be a nice surprise, it has a slow start but I couldn’t put it down by the end.
Well done to Drew for taking a risk, it paid off.
Price: £1.99 from Amazon.
My rating: Four stars.
With thanks to Bookouture (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for an honest review.
6 thoughts on “Book review: Dear Lily.”
Oh thanks for this –
I like the way you do revjews because you give just the right amount of personal opinion / snippets or a taste of the book – and then the critique – this one sounds great.
Side note – I just watched a movie called “foreign letters” and I expected it to have a lot of letters and it did not – but the movie was superb – if you ever get a chance to see it – please let me know what you think
What a lovely thing to say, thank you. I’ve just watched a trailer for that film. It looks interesting. I’ll see if I can watch it somewhere.
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🙂 keep me posted if you see it
I once read a book that was all emails, strangely that worked too!
I really didn’t think I would like it at first, so pleased I carried on.
This sounds really good, I like books written in this kind of format. Dear Rosie Hughes by Melanie Hudson is similarly written in a series of emails and letters. This sounds like a book I’d enjoy.