Good evening, bibliophiles! I’m spending a quiet evening at home and after a bookstore run, decided to bring everyone my latest book review! It’s called 9 Letters by Blake Austin. I finished it late last night, but decided to think on it a bit before I posted what I was feeling. I have to say, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel now that it’s over.
I just came off of reading a heavy World War II novel, so I figured a romance might be up my alley for something quick and light-hearted. Obviously I was wrong. Why is that?
Meet Luke Cawley. He’s a young widower trying to wade through life without his beloved wife, Emily. He lost her to cancer a year prior to the audience meeting him. Through a mix of flashbacks, and a series of letters he receives on the anniversary of her death that she had written days before her passing, we’re with him as he tries to lick his wounds and heal.
In her letters, Emily gives Luke closure. She comes to terms with her condition, and offers him words of encouragement to keep living even after she’s gone. She also gives him a series of tasks and challenges in order to get her husband out of his funk and back among the land of the living.
Death is easy when you’re the one who’s gone. For the rest of us left on earth, it’s something else entirely. Luke isolates himself from friends and family, and gives up on a lot of who he was when he was happily married. Losing his wife when they were barely into their twenties was not in his plans, and now, he doesn’t know how to cope.
I enjoyed the lessons offered throughout this story, and found the characters quite relatable. As someone who has encountered quite a bit of death throughout my own (youngish) life, I was able to really understand where Luke was coming from when it feels like the world is ending.
I’m thrilled Luke began to come around the more he read the letters. He knows he’ll never be the same again, but that doesn’t mean he’s not allowed another chance at happiness. Thanks to King, Rae, some of his old friends, Morris, Heartland Habitat, his sister in-law, Natalie, and his own family, I have hope that he’ll return to some level of normalcy the more the days go on, without letting Emily’s memory fade.
It seems silly, but, the only reason I gave this three stars instead of anything more was because of a bit of back-speak and double negatives. Maybe it had to do with the southern, country lives of the characters, but some of it made me cringe.
Overall though, an enjoyable, but bit of a sad and tragic read, so, approach with caution.
My Final Rating: three out of five stars