This book is going to stay in my memory for a while
From the enigmatic title to the gorgeous prose this novel captured my attention from the start and I couldn’t put it down until I finished. The breathtaking narration by Christine Williams brings the story to life and does justice to the written text.
Winston-Salem, 1960. Esther Jane (EJ) Cloud is a forty-something spinster who manages the Dead Letter Office and spends her free time volunteering in the town’s garden. When the town’s master gardener hands her a packet of handwritten letters that have all been addressed to a nonexistent person at the garden, EJ’s life will change forever. In her quest to discover the anonymous sender, she’ll have to examine her life choices, confront the realities of racism, and befriend a savvy, street-smart ten-year-old.
To say that Dead Letters From Paradise is a historical fiction mystery with a small side of romance doesn’t even begin to describe it. It’s a journey of self-exploration for a solitary white woman confronted with unknown and scary feelings through passionate anonymous letters. It’s a tale of courage and strength to confront racism and resistance to change. It’s an homage to friendship as one of the most selfless and meaningful human connections. It’s heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time.
If you’ve read Ann McMan’s books you are already acquainted with her unique style. Her witty dialogues, her clever sense of humour, and the depth of her stories leave the reader thinking and feeling at the same time. Some of her books – like The Big Tow – are funny and light, others – like Beowulf for Cretins – are clever and witty. Dead Letters From Paradise is harder to categorise so it’s better to give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Christine Williams has narrated all of Ann McMan’s books and is a perfect fit for her stories. Her different voices, accents, and emotional range make it easy for the story to unfold in the listener’s mind. An absolute joy to listen to. 5 stars.
Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins