A historical fiction with an inspiring woman at the heart of the story. Uplifting and entertaining, but does it just fall short?
Today on the blog I’m reviewing The Last Letter From Juliet which I received in my January 2020 book subscription box from Once Upon A Book Club Box. As a part of this post I won’t be revealing the specifics of items received alongside the book as a part of the subscription box. No spoilers here! However, there is a discount code at the end of the post for Once Upon a Book Club.
What is The Last Letter From Juliet about?
The Last Letter From Juliet follows two women. The daring Juliet Caron, a World War Two pilot who lives a life full of adventure and love and Katherine Henderson a grieving widow trying to rebuild her life and self.
When Katherine Henderson arrives in Cornwall for Christmas she finds herself swept away by reading Juliet’s story and meeting the woman herself. On the eve of Juliet’s 100th birthday she’s enlisted to make Juliet’s final Christmas wish come true.
A story of love torn apart by war, loyalty, friendship and resilance this is a story told through time and letters. Inspired by the real female pilots of World War Two.
What I liked about The Last Letter From Juliet?
This story is told from two points of view and two time periods. The first time period and perspective is Juliet, as a young woman living in World War Two. Katherine’s perspective is set in 2005, as she reads the letters Juliet has written as her memoirs.
I enjoyed reading the memoirs of Juliet, and discovering her story at the same rate as Katherine. It bonded me with both characters, and was an interesting and effective framework for the story.
Juliet’s story was fascinating, in particular because of its real life inspiration. Prior to reading this novel I had no idea about the ‘Spitfire Girls’ as they were called. War is a tragic, awful thing. There will always be elements of a story set in this time that are emotional. That emotion was well written and vibrant.
I was inspired by the knowledge that these female pilots risked their lives and demonstrated the skill and bravery that women can have, in a time where it wasn’t broadly acknowledged.
What I didn’t like about The Last Letter From Juliet?
Unfortunately this book did have quite a few typos within it. While the story is still wonderful, it detracted from my reading experience.
It’s a shame because otherwise this book is really great, but it has some key errors that let down what is ultimately a beautiful story. I don’t normally note this as an issue in my reviews, but this was quite noticeable. This isn’t a reflection on Melanie Hudson at all, but rather an editorial error that should have been picked up. Accidents happen, ultimately it’s not a big deal.
There’s a trope within fiction of ‘strong female characters’ and The Last Letter From Juliet could be viewed by some as playing into that trope. I don’t think this would be a fair criticism, but it’s one to be aware of. It’s important to have stories that show various women and highlight the different strengths each has. Women are strong, so why in fiction do we think these characters are unique or different?
While we often point out books that have ‘strong female characters’ that’s not how we describe books where males are the primary characters. I’ve been reflecting on this recently, so let me know what you think!
I think The Last Letter From Juliet highlights the resilience of different women, and it’s a beautiful story of love. It allows women to push the societal boundaries without compromising on their femininity, they’re not men, even though they’re doing what men do.
Historical fiction and romance fans, this book is wonderful! Despite the errors in the copy, I really enjoyed this book. I ended up staying up really late one night because I needed to know what happened.
You may need some tissues on hand, because this book serves up some serious bittersweet moments.
Once Upon A Book Club?
I mentioned at the start of this post that The Last Letter From Juliet came in my January Once Upon a Book Club subscription. If you haven’t heard of Once Upon a Book Club you’re in for a treat.
Every month the team at Once Upon a Book Club curates a book box. A book is selected and gifts assembled to go with it. This isn’t like any other book subscription. The gifts correspond to a page number within the book included in your subscription.
Often these gifts relate to something the character is experiencing, or an item that is featured within the story.
I’ve been very impressed with the quality of gifts included and the thoughtful connection each has with the story. The Mister gifted me a subscription for my birthday last year and I’ve loved it!
Once Upon a Book Club has kindly given me a discount code for readers of this blog and followers on my social media. If you’d like to give Once Upon a Book Club a try, use the code: STEPHHUDDLESTON10 to save!
Where Can I Get a Copy of The Last Letter From Juliet?
*The Last Letter From Juliet is available from Amazon here.
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Until next week,