Many a time have I read a brief synopsis and found myself somewhat interested in a novel - but something about the words describing this book pulled me in from the start.
“Pain can take a lifetime to heal, but hope lasts even longer…
Corie Harper is twenty-eight years old when she is first visited by a ghost—in the form of a graduation letter she forgot she wrote. Although she spent a decade burying that desperate girl and her regrets, each page resurrects the past, dragging Corie back to a time when all she craved was Scarlet Hinden’s friendship and Tuck Slater’s heart. But she couldn’t keep them both and keep her word.
Scarlet is haunted in her own way, by memories of Corie and of a night that left her wishing she were dead. But Scarlet is not only alive, she’s carrying new life: a baby she never wanted and is terrified to have. Convinced she would be a disastrous mother, she questions whether or not she deserves the love of any man. Especially the father of her child.”
I'm not sure I've ever been this addicted to a novel from a first time author, and I didn’t have it in my inbox for more than a few hours before I started reading it. I suppose the combination of my curiousity, and the unusual plot peaked my interest.
In order to preserve the tidbits of joy you will find in this book, this review will avoid giving a detailed play-by-play and a deep character overview. Letters for Scarlet is a well-written, perfectly paced story altering between two former best friends Corie and Scarlet - two women who haven't seen each in over a decade. The reasons why they are reunited aren't typical of a chick lit novel; in fact nothing about this book is. The language is strong with precise portrayal of each scene, both past and present. It has a somewhat gothic undertone which is quite different from a typical 'fluffy' chick lit read. There is also no token 'hunk' walking around trying to gain the affections of the protagonist – something that also never happens. The only man in a main role would be Corie's husband Tuck, the former third component of the three high school friends.
The absolute best part about this novel is that nothing appears as it seems. There is a dark secret that the reader is not privvy to until the very end, and there are several possibilities that I myself came up with - none of which were correct. I kept waiting for secret affairs, a love child, divorces, and many other life events that didn’t unfold at ALL as I presumed they would.
Saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this book would be an understatement. It is quite possibly one of the best submissions I’ve ever been lucky enough to review in my time with Chick Lit Central. Not only do I hope I read more from Julie C. Gardner, I will be searching high and low for her next novel.
Thanks to Julie C. Gardner for the book in exchange for an honest review.
Michelle Drodge is 29 and lives in a small town north of Toronto in Canada with her daughter, who is five going on fifteen. She works in Management Communications during the day, but moonlights as an aspiring writer after her daughter goes to sleep. One day she hopes to see her own book on the shelf alongside her favourite Chick Lit authors!
More by Julie C. Gardner: