Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.goodreads.com
Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.
When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.
“Letters to the Lost” possessed all the makings of an engaging and emotive read, yet, unfortunately, fell quite short. The premise, while promising, lacked originality and did not deliver the uniqueness that I had hoped for.
The plot unfurled predictably, and the story’s overall structure felt reminiscent of several novels in the same genre. The storyline, involving two grieving strangers finding solace in each other through exchanged letters, has been explored plenty of times before. The author’s attempt to reinvent this narrative was not particularly successful.
Starting with Declan Murphy, he is introduced as a ‘bad boy’ figure, a character trope that is overly familiar in the genre. While the author attempts to add dimension to his character through his troubled past, these efforts fall short. His backstory seems insufficiently explored and his growth throughout the novel feels abrupt rather than gradual. The result is a character that, despite having potential for depth, ends up feeling somewhat surface-level. Juliet Young, on the other hand, is a character defined by her grief. Yet, her sorrow often feels generalized rather than intimately personal. Her character development is rushed and her transformation lacks the depth and gradual evolution that would make it believable. The resulting character feels flat and her emotional experiences become hard for readers to fully connect with. Their relationship, which forms the central axis of the story, also leaves much to be desired. The emotional connection between them falls flat at times, lacking the depth and authenticity that would make their bond compelling.
In a genre rife with profound character studies and innovative storytelling, “Letters to the Lost” unfortunately doesn’t stand out. While I am sure some readers may find value in this book, it did not resonate with me.