Books

THE LETTER by Ruth Saberton

I had never heard of this author before and was rather put off by the title (which is so plain, unprovocative, and common), but you cannot judge a book by its title! This novel is a wonderful piece for people who want to know more about the Great War, as well as those of us who (unfortunately) still have to deal with the horrors of war, and all the damage it causes not only mentally and physically, but in lost opportunities, lost people, ruined lives and lives tragically cut short.

Author Ruth Saberton’s writing is powerful and her characters convincing. Who could possibly forget Daisy’s near-naked bathing or near-fatal careen down a hill on a borrowed bicycle? Both escapades netted her the heir to the local Lord of the Manor who instantly (and passionately) fell in love.

And how happy they would have been if only the inevitable snobbishness of his parents (Daisy was only a doctor’s daughter) and the Great War had not intervened.

The Great War was a truly horrible war which affected everybody both in England, Western Europe and beyond.

In my family, both of my grandmothers were lucky women who never had the heartbreak of losing multiple fiancés or wandering around for years unable to get past their first love to young men who simply vanished into thin air. Somehow, they both managed to marry despite the dearth of men.

But the men of that generation were not so lucky. My step-grandfather lost a leg in action off of Jutland in 1916, my grandfather acquired permanent damage to his lungs as a result of being on a boat full of creosote that was torpedoed by the Germans, and my stepfather (who signed up in 1918 at the age of eighteen) was thankfully prevented from going to the front by a bout of Spanish flu.

Therefore it is not surprising that such a beautifully written novel about such devastating tragedy set in one of the most beautiful parts of the world (Cornwall) should receive such acclaim. If you have never heard of this writer or this novel before, you are in for a treat. Five stars.