Letters for Scarlet by Julie C. Gardner
A touching story of hope and friendship, laced with unpredictable twists! 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. Letters for Scarlet traces one friendship from deep roots to branches torn by broken promises and loss. Fans of women's fiction author Kristin Hannah will enjoy the multi-faceted characters and the depth of the story that binds them together.
Since I set up my website I've had a steady stream of requests from authors to review their books. I turn down far more than I accept, and write a review on considerably less than I read. I'd say that Letters for Scarlet is one of the lucky ones - except it isn't. Luck has nothing to do with me writing this review, but excellent writing does.
Poetic, almost literary in places, this novel ensnared me from the start. How could I resist writing as good as this:
"...lump of sadness swaddled in my arms..." when one of the MCs is thinking about her childless state.
"...harbouring a negative attitude like a fugitive in the attic..."
and this was only a couple of pages in!
Then there was the premise - maybe every fledgling adult should be made to write a letter to their future selves.
Each character was painted with a fine brush, brought to life with different perspectives. And all through the novel ran guilt, and blame, and lack of trust. The misconceptions and misdirections added mystery and intrigue, and it all came together in a moment of revelation for the reader. Not all is as it seems in this novel. The end isn't nicely wrapped up and delivered with a bow; but the reader is left with hope and a sense that the characters need to be trusted to find their own way forwards.
About the Author
Julie C. Gardner is a former English teacher and lapsed marathon runner who traded in the classroom for a writing nook. Now she rarely changes out of her pajamas. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and three dogs. To find out more about Julie and her upcoming books, visit JulieCGardner.com or follow her on Twitter (@juliecgardner), Instagram (@juliecgardner), and her Facebook Author Page (Julie C. Gardner).