A Novel in Letters

Years ago I read a book, 84 Charing Cross Road, which told a story through letters. The letters were written by a woman in New York, if I remember it correctly, and a used book seller in London, England. The entire story was contained in their correspondence.  

I was fascinated by this book, so much so that when I was later in London, I set off to see if I could find 84 Charing Cross Road. I found Charing Cross Road but I couldn’t find anything numbered 84.  I don’t doubt for a moment that it truly existed.  I just didn’t find it. 

There was a sequel to that book which I also read but I don’t remember the title of it. I remember that the woman in New York finally met the family of the man who had corresponded with her. Both books were nice gentle stories.

I was made to think of them when I read yet another book of letters this past week. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a collection of letters between a journalist, her publisher, a friend or two, and a group of people who live on Guernsey. I don’t want to spoil the book for you but I would highly recommend it as a good read.

Alas, there won’t be a sequel to it, I’m afraid, because the author died and her niece had to complete (do the re-writes required) the book for her. That’s a loss for us because the author is an excellent storyteller.

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