Author: Barbara Taylor Bradford
Publication Information: St. Martin's Press. 2012. 420 pages.
Book Source: I loved the original Emma Harte book, A Woman of Substance, by Barbara Taylor Bradford. So, when she comes out with a new book, I take a look to see if it is a book like the original.
Favorite Quote: "My family is my sanctuary."
Letter From A Stranger is a book that travels across time and place and really tells two stories. One is the story of Justine. The second is the story of her grandmother Gabriele. Justine's story is the story of a woman discovering family secrets and struggling to make sense of them. Gabriele's story is the story of World War II and the story of survival.
Both stories are interesting and could have made an entire book onto themselves. Justine's story has many facets - her career as a filmmaker, her estranged relationship with her mother, her discovery that her mother has lied to her, her search for her grandmother who she believed had died, and finally a love story. Gabriele's story also has many dimensions with the most critical being the horrors of World War II and the courage and survival through those horrors.
Unfortunately, in telling both stories, the book seemed rushed. Neither story felt complete, and the characters did not develop as much. The breadth of the story was interesting. Unfortunately, the depth was lacking. Some of the events felt sudden and convenient. I wish both stories had been told, but I wish either both were developed more, or one was made the primary focus.