This review is part of the TLC Book Tour for The Love Letter.
~ About the Book ~
When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.
Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted—something straight from the heart.
Set in stunning upcountry South Carolina, The Love Letter is a beautifully crafted story of the courage it takes to face down fear and chase after love, even in the darkest of times. And just maybe, all these generations later, love can come home in a way not even Hollywood could imagine.
Genre: Historical/Contemporary (Timeslip)
Release date: 12 June 2018
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
~ Excerpt ~
Did I tell your story, Hamilton?
Jesse didn’t have much to go on. Only the letter and Aunt Pat’s history of the family—which did not include Esther.
But his soul rattled with a deeper question. Had he told his own story?
Jesse flipped the original letter over, harboring a slight hope that words had magically appeared on the back, revealing more. But the page was empty. It was that emptiness, along with the echoing hollow in Jesse’s chest, that had inspired him to write the script.
The deck lights flipped on automatically, catching Jesse’s eye. Staring toward the deck, he tried once again to see his great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather penning this letter to a woman he never married. Did he not love Lydia? Or did her death, and Esther’s husband’s death, merely unlock a buried love?
What of his own love story? His mistakes? What would Hamilton have done differently? Would he have not fought at Cowpens?
What would Jesse change if given the chance? Never made his confession to Loxley? Walked with her out of the house? Down to the beach?
Beyond the deck, the sun set along the edge of the Pacific, washing the windows with a romantic glow. Jesse tucked the letter away, grabbed his phone, and made his way down to the road, crossing over to the warm sand, aiming for the shoreline.
He’d not touched his feet to sand in eight years. But if the past was in the past, anything he held against himself could be dropped at the water’s edge. He would let the waves baptize him and wash his guilt away.
But instead of going the distance, he dug his feet into the shifting sand, a dark sensation in his gut. And he knew. He’d never be free from the past.
No Hollywood success, no California gold, no posh place by the ocean could erase the truth. Just like Grandpa Hamilton, Jesse had to live with what he’d lost.
Taken from “The Love Letter” by Rachel Hauck
Copyright © 2018 by Rachel Hauck
Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/
~ Review ~
It’s hard to imagine two more contrasting settings than modern-day Hollywood and war-torn 1780s South Carolina, but they pair up exceptionally well in this latest dual-timeline story from Rachel Hauck. Even better, they explore some of my favourite questions about love: Is the idea of ‘one true love’ the stuff of fairy tales, or does it exist in our world? What is ‘true love’ anyway? And what does it take to find it?
Even betterer (don’t tell my children I just used that word!), although the historical and contemporary stories dovetail together into an unexpected and poetic whole, they also leave the reader with a subtle tension to explore when it comes to those questions I just mentioned about ‘true love’. Food for thought and plenty of fodder for book club discussions!
Although both of these stories held me firmly in their grasp, I particularly loved the development of Jesse and Chloe’s relationship. There was an inexplicable and somewhat understated attraction between them from the moment they met, but because of their previous experiences they tried (with varied success) to ignore their chemistry and simply develop a friendship. These moments provided some of the sweetest parts of the book: the back and forth as they shared their past shame, the simple honesty of their friendship, the semi-frequent and oh-so-sweet kisses, and the moments of connectedness when they “sat in silence and simply breathed.”
I also loved the way the two stories paralleled and contrasted one another. Hamilton and Jesse are held back by guilt over past actions, and Esther and Chloe are each forced into a situation they’ve done everything in their power to avoid: In Esther’s case, submitting to her father’s expectations, and in Chloe’s case . . . well, you’ll find out. I won’t say any more except that the unexpected developments kept me turning the pages past my bedtime and pointed the characters toward the freedom and happiness that comes from the truest love of all. And if that sounds like I’ve left out all of the contrasts, you’re right. You’ll have to discover them for yourself, because SPOILERS!
If I may be allowed one small complaint, it would be that the characters seemed prone to stuttering at the beginning of sentences—at least, enough that it became a bit of a distraction for me. Otherwise, I’ve found my appreciation of this story has actually increased the longer I’ve allowed it to marinate in my mind.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ About the Author ~
Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and two pets and writes from her ivory tower.