book review

A Thousand Letters by Staci Hart

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A lot of the hype that surrounds this book is that it’s inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Now, I’ve never read this particular Jane Austen novel (*gasp*), but I enjoyed it immensely nonetheless. And judging by the reactions of my fellow readers who have actually read Persuasion, it seems I’m going to have to set aside time to go through it, maybe to appreciate this Staci Hart book even more, even though my heart can’t possibly love this book even further.

Goodreads description:

Sometimes your life is split by a single decision.

I’ve spent every day of the last seven years regretting mine: he left, and I didn’t follow. A thousand letters went unanswered, my words like petals in the wind, spinning away into nothing, taking me with them.

But now he’s back.

I barely recognize the man he’s become, but I can still see a glimmer of the boy who asked me to be his forever, the boy I walked away from when I was young and afraid.

Maybe if he’d come home under better circumstances, he could speak to me without anger in his voice. Maybe if I’d said yes all those years ago, he’d look at me without the weight of rejection in his eyes. Maybe if things were different, we would have had a chance.

One regretted decision sent him away. One painful journey brought him back to me. I only wish I could keep him.

Things I enjoyed about this story:

1. It invokes EVERY. POSSIBLE. EMOTION. My gut is still reeling from all the emotions Staci Hart had crammed in there. For me to elaborate on this point would be giving too much of this story away. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. Take a day to lounge around at home with a box of Kleenex within reach. Trust me — you’re going to need it.

2. The chemistry between Wade and Elliot. Just off the charts! The extended looks of longing. The quick touch of the hand. The constant push and pull. The silences between them that seemed to speak volumes. I bought into their story, and was totally rooting for them.

3. All the lovely secondary characters. A part of me wanted to cheer for Sophie, Wade’s sister and Elliot’s best friend, during a couple of confrontations with Wade, while the other part wanted to hug her and take all the pain away. Ben, Wade’s best friend, couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. Charlie, Elliot’s brother-in-law, was the only person in her family who constantly had her back. And the best of them all — Wade’s father and Elliot’s mentor, Rick. How even as frail and withering his body was, his presence in this book was solid and everlasting.

4. Character growth. I love reading about how characters grow in stories. In this, Elliot starts out seemingly meek and reserved, but with each chapter, she grows more and more resilient, and it’s amazing to watch how she stands up for herself in the end. Meanwhile, Wade comes off as the older brother who seems to have everything under control, but deep down, is hurting just as much as all the other characters in the story. To see how Wade falls apart and pieces himself back together truly warms the soul.

5. The language. There’s something very poetic about the flow of this story. Fluid and lyrical. And though I know your average Joe doesn’t speak or think this way, it just adds to the beauty of the story. It definitely has an abundance of intoxicating lines that I could quote for days. Of course, I’ll leave those lines for the usual Thirsty Thursday.

Overall, it was just a damn good story.

One of the best things about yesterday’s snow day is finishing this book in one sitting. And boy, am I glad I’m working from home today. No amount of eye cream, frozen cucumber slices or cold spoons can help bring down the puffiness of my eyes from crying almost from the beginning of the book all the way to the end.

Thank you, Staci Hart. That was cathartic.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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