Tuesday 3 October 2023

Book Review: The Hidden Letters by Lorna Cook

The Hidden Letters by Lorna Cook book cover

AD* | On the eve of a world war, a forbidden love will blossom in the garden of a stately home and one young woman will make a choice that will change her life forever...

As the storm clouds of war gather, Cordelia seeks refuge in the grounds of her family estate.

Isaac has recently arrived to tend to the gardens, and the connection between him and Cordelia is as immediate as it is forbidden.

Isaac begins to secretly teach her how to cultivate the gardens, so when he and all the young men are called away to war, Cordelia takes over.

From the battlefields of Europe, Isaac sends her letters, that give her hope for a future in peacetime.

But when these messages abruptly cease, Cordelia must face up to the worst and take her future – and the fate of the garden they both loved – into her own hands...

Set against the tumultuous backdrop of an impending world war, The Hidden Letters invites readers into the world of Cordelia, a young woman seeking solace within the confines of her family estate. The arrival of Isaac, the estate's new gardener, sparks an immediate and forbidden connection between them. At this moment, the stage is set for a poignant love story that transcends the boundaries of class and society.

One of the first things that struck me about this book was the depth of emotion it conveys. Lorna Cook deftly weaves a tapestry of emotions throughout the narrative, taking readers on a rollercoaster ride of love, hope, sadness, and reflection. The impending war adds an extra layer of tension and urgency to the story, making every interaction between Cordelia and Isaac all the more meaningful.

What sets The Hidden Letters apart is its ability to strike a delicate balance between being plot-driven and character-driven. While the overarching narrative is compelling and filled with twists and turns, the characters themselves are given ample room to breathe and evolve. Cordelia, the main character, undergoes significant growth throughout the story, transforming from a sheltered young woman into a strong and determined individual. However, it's not just Cordelia who experiences this transformation. Minor characters also receive attention and development, bringing them to life and adding depth to the narrative.

Cook's prose flows effortlessly, making it a delight to immerse yourself in the world she creates. The historical setting is richly detailed, transporting readers to Britain on the cusp of war. The author's meticulous research is evident in the vivid descriptions and atmospheric elements that perfectly capture the essence of the time.

Another noteworthy aspect of the book is its cast of characters. They are not only lovable but also highly relatable, despite the historical setting. Cook has a unique talent for creating characters that resonate with readers, drawing you into their world. What's particularly refreshing is that the flaws of the characters are not the central focus of the story; rather, they serve to add authenticity and depth to their personalities.

The Hidden Letters is an engaging and evocative read that offers a window into a bygone era. Lorna Cook's storytelling prowess shines through in this historical romance, and fans of the genre will undoubtedly find it a valuable addition to their collection. It's a testament to the author's ability to craft emotionally charged narratives that resonate with readers long after they've turned the final page.

Content warnings in this book: Grief, suicidal thoughts, and a suicide attempt.

Rating: 4 stars

The Hidden Letters is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds great. I love relatable characters!

    Corinne x