I only recently discovered Rosy Thornton with her release of her book Tapestry of Love which I really enjoyed. What I didn’t expect was a book like this. I opened the page and was immediately worried. What faced me was a series of letters and emails. Not only was this the beginning of the book, it seemed that the whole book was made up this way. I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. How on earth was I supposed to get a feel for the story and characters through letters? I am pleased to say I was completely wrong!
The letters and various emails we see going back and forth are between the main characters of the book, and what characters they were. We see Richard Slater emailing his friend Michael Carrington who works in the Home Office. We also meet Margaret who frequently writes to her Gran and regularly emails her friend Bec’s. In addition to this we see the minutes to the WITCH meetings (Women of Ipswich together combating homelessness).
By around the 30 page mark I began to realise that this was not only cleverly written but was warm and funny. There is nothing better that getting a feel for people by reading the written word.
Margaret’s emails to her friend Bec’s were hilarious as we see them spouting off about their own lives. In addition to this there is a theme running through all of their emails where they try to integrate some of the lesser known words into their conversation and in turn award each other points for the use of the word. Never before in my life have I read a book and then actually gone to a dictionary and looked up a word. (By the way I can now tell you all that facinorous is another word for atrocious!).
I loved Cora, who was the woman who Margaret lived with and we see her take on things as she writes lovingly to her husband. In addition we see Margaret’s Gran writing back to her granddaughter to update her on her life and how things are going. I was very shocked and quite saddened at the realisation of Cora and her letters at the end but it was written so well that it all made sense!
All in all, I never imagined that I could enjoy this as much as I did due to the fact that it was all letters and emails. Rosy Thornton has done a grand job in writing a clever, warm and funny book by merely meshing together people’s thoughts and feelings. As much as this wasn’t the normal sort of book that I would pick up if I was in a shop, it just goes to show that Rosy Thornton can clearly produce a great book by doing things differently.