4 Star Review: 9 Letters by Blake Austin

Friday, 19 February 2016
9 Letters9 Letters by Blake Austin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Don't you just love the magic of books especially when you find a story that makes you cry and smile at the same time. What I'd like to know though is where the hell did this story come from? It was painfully emotional but beautifully told. Blake Austin, you owe me tissues, lots of tissues!

After reading the synopsis, I was 100% drawn to it. The premise was familiar but the story was refreshing. I'm not a lover those “ugly cry” books so this was as close as I am even willing to head into those waters but despite the emotion, the book was also shored up with wonderful message of hope.

Telling the story of Luke and his late wife Emily, we meet Luke 12 months after the death of his wife. After receiving an unexpected delivery of nine letters from Emily, Luke is forced to face his grief head on and by doing so brings the pain of the loss back to the forefront of his mind once again. Being set a series of tasks and demands, Luke finds himself questioning Emily’s reasoning behind the letters but it soon becomes apparent that she's trying to save him and release him from his guilt, from beyond the grave. Each letter is poignantly written and emotionally gruelling especially as Luke realises that with each letter, Emily is fast approaching the end of her life.

After following out Emily’s wishes in the first letter, Luke meets a woman who makes him start to believe in a future without his one true love, even if at first he can't entertain the prospect. Rae is a caring woman whose ex has made her question whether she will ever being able to trust a man again, but in Luke she sees his pain and is drawn to his vulnerability. Through their love of dogs and their need to protect each other, their friendship grows but will Luke ever be able to move on from Emily?

This really was a sweet story. I loved the connection that Luke and Emily had, especially as they came to love and marriage at such a young age. From different backgrounds, they found each other in school and from that first meeting they knew they were destined to be together [see, emotional overload right there!]. From that early love though came a loss which reverberated through both Luke and Emily’s sister, Natalie. Natalie blames Luke for Emily’s death but thanks to Emily, Luke soon starts to realise that he was not a catalyst in her death. I preferred the connection between Emily and Luke to Luke and Rae, however, I think Blake Austin portrayed their different relationships perfectly. One was an innocent and pure love and the other was a more mature and gnarled affair. I really can’t compare Emily and Rae anymore than Luke could [but I still preferred Emily, shhh just don’t tell anyone] I have to say though, that last letter, hurt, a lot!

The only downside to this story, and I really hate to mention it, was the vernacular the author used. I couldn’t tell if it was deliberately written into the story or just accidental. Either way, for me being a Brit, I found it a bit lumpy and unnecessary. Yes, I like to be able to feel a story through accents and verbal personalities and that was acceptable, to a point, but after that I just felt that on occasion, words had been inadvertently omitted rather than intentionally so [but hey, I’m no master wordsmith myself so who I am to talk].

Anyhows, [see, this vernacular thing can work both ways] I thought this was an awe inspiring book and an amazing piece of writing from a newbie author and one I will definitely reach out to again. Congratulations Blake, you knocked me off my feet and that’s hard to do.

Copy provided by the author in return for a honest review.

No comments