Cover Image: Letters to a Stranger

Letters to a Stranger

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Member Reviews

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.   Thank you NetGalley.

I have to agree with the majority of the reviews below.   Berta just wasn't likeable.    The story felt incredibly drawn out, slow, and difficult to read.       I tried my best to get through the entire book, but ultimately I was not able to finish ti due to lack of interest.
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I really wanted to like this book but it didnt worked out well.  The main character constantly alluded to her sad childhood and her abusive mother, but I could never get a good feel for what happened to her.  The entire thing felt like it was a huge mess that had potential if it could have just been brought together.
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I really liked the summary of this book & was looking forward to reading it. However it failed to live up to my expectations.
I wasn't particularly keen on the writing style - I found it meandered a lot & I lost interest. I also didn't like Berta much. She was quite self-absorbed and felt sorry for herself. Not someone I found it easy to empathise with.
In many ways it wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't the one for me.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.
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Family and secrets.... I wanted to keep flipping the pages to find out more about these secrets.   
The storyline is well written and the characters are realistic.  
Many thanks to Amazon Publishing UK and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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this book will make you cry. And hold the one you love closer at night and appreciate having that special someone in your life.  it was a great read.  would highly recommend
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I really wanted to like this book especially based on the blurb. Unfortunately I never really felt a great deal of empathy for the lead character who was a little too self-absorbed for my liking. The sense of how she was abused by her mother never really came across and it sometimes felt a bit too much like teenage resentment against her mum and sister than anything significant. I read this because I felt I had a duty to but it was exactly that: a duty, not pleasure that got me to the end, unfortunately.
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I received a free electronic copy of this special novel from Netgalley, author Mercedes Pinto Maldonado and translator Jennie Erikson, and Amazon Publishing US.  Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.  I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work.  I am pleased to recommend Letters to a Stranger to friends and family.  It is a tale filled with tragedy and angst, hope and love, and a strong dose of justice served.

We view this story through the eyes of the younger daughter of Madridite Dona Alberta de Castro.  Berta de Castro is self-exiled in England since she was 19, working her way up in the business world until at almost 35 she is the owner of a renowned restaurant in central London.  When she receives news of the death of her mother, she is sad only for Teresa, the household help that basically raised her in a house without love or compassion. Teresa has always taken great care of the de Castros no matter how OCD and unreasonable Dona Alberta can be.  Dona Alberta and eldest daughter Yolanda, 5 years Berta's senior, seem to be missing vital emotions, and making the trip home to Madrid even for Teresa's sake is one Berta is hesitant to take. It is a bad time to be leaving her employees at Berta's Kitchen shorthanded as the heavy London tourist season is just getting started. Yet Berta feels she must go, but only plans to stay for a couple of days, just long enough to make sure that Teresa is being taken care of, and sign off on any paperwork needed by her mother's lawyer. Sister Yolanda has been living in Australia for several years and has informed the Madrid lawyer that she will not return to Madrid at this time.  

But days turn into weeks as one thing or another demands more time.  There are too many hidden agendas and secrets and unending mysteries. Feeling she is being shadowed and knowing her mother's home has been invaded, Berta has the locks changed and hires a private investigator. And then she gets immersed in tokens from the past, her own youthful treasures hidden in the attic by Teresa when Bertha left home.  She needs the consolation of renewing her relationship and helping Teresa - and reading years worth of unopened and non-forwarded love letters locked in a chest in her mother's room, from a young gardener named Saul to her sister Yolanda. Year's worth of letters.  Berta cannot imagine a love that could be so open, so giving, so frank.  It is something she has never seen nor experienced, and with time she sees that it is an impossible emotion unless you are willing to drop all of your defenses.  But that is something she is not prepared to do.  Or is she?  And then there are more deaths...
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Thank you Netgalley for giving me Arc of Letters to a Stranger

This book got a great plot and I don't want it to end because its starting to get interesting 😂 

I can't believe what Berta's mom and sister did to Berta's dad and her sister's dad. They are insane!! 

Oh yeahh how can Berta fall in love with Saul (her sister's ex bf?) just from reading his love letters? Asdfghjkl I'm speechless

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Letters to a Stranger by Mercedes Pinto Maldonado is a fiction where the protagonist Berta has to come back to Spain from London to settle the financials and properties after her mother's death. Berta has a troubled childhood from which she runs away at the age of nineteen and builds a life of her own in London. 

Berta has to face her childhood demons while she stays at the house where she grew up. When she tried to find answers from her past with the help of a private detective, she finds herself in trouble. Her nanny Teresa, pet cat Aris and her doll Neca are her only companions. She finds a bunch of letters in the attic and starts reading them. Berta falls in love with the writer of the letters who happens to be living far away in USA trying very hard to get back in touch with his love Yolanda. 

The story's plotline is a little flat but readable. I really wish Berta finally settled with Saul.
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The only bad thing about this book is that it had to end.   It was such an enjoyable read and the writing was stellar.  I am going to be reading much more from this author!  Highly recommend!
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This was such an amazing read that I couldn’t put it down. It went everywhere with me. To the doctors office, the dentist, the eye doctor. IT WENT ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE. I was so sad when it ended that I immediately went and bought more books from this author!
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Letters to a Stranger is an original and beautifully written story. Berta is returning to Madrid after fifteen years to deal with her deceased mother's estate. She feels nothing but contempt for her mother, and elder sister Yolanda, and hasn't spoken to them since she escaped. Berta's mother Dona Alberta was a cold and callous woman who showed no love to her daughters. Where Berta became quiet and compliant, her older sister Yolanda became sly and manipulative. The only person who showed any warmth or affection to Berta was their housekeeper, Teresa who was more of a mother to her than her own. As Berta reflects back on her life, she realises her emotional scars have not healed. As secrets and lies are revealed Berta begins to wonder if there is anyone she can trust. A locked drawer in the attic reveals hundreds of letters from a man called Saul, in love with her sister, and accused of murdering her husband Bodo, who was also her mother's lover and Berta's father. Saul escaped Madrid on a false passport, and lives in the U.S., falsely accused but unable to return to his homeland for fear of arrest. Berta becomes obsessed with discovering the truth and hires a private investigator Alfonso. As she reads Saul's letters of undying love and despair, she begins to fall in love with him. She writes back to let him know that his letters have at least been read, albeit by a stranger, and that he has given her hope. As Alfonso begins to uncover the truth about the past, Berta is devastated to discover the extent of her mother's and sister's crimes which are darker than she could ever have imagined. In a most poignant moment, she attends an exhibition of Saul's work in Paris (he is an artist) and is beyond shocked to find that he is there. He had received her letter and came to thank her and to let her know that he is starting a new life. This moment is devastatingly sad, but also a beautiful end to their story. And we hope, as the reader, a moment of healing for Berta, and the start of a new life for her too, in the knowledge that love does exist and that she is worthy of it.
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Depressing? Cathartic? Somewhere In Between? This book is all about loss, with a tale of finding yourself in the loss embedded within it. Because of this, it is really hard to decide how I ultimately feel about the book. It is absolutely strong and well written (at least in the English translation), and does an excellent job of creating a world and telling a compelling story within that world while evoking emotions within the reader. But this is one of those books that you’re going to want to pick up as zany hilarious romantic comedy as you can find afterwords, just to lift your spirits a bit. Great tale, very much recommended.
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It had been fifteen years since Berta had last been in Madrid. But she had to return following the death of her mother. As she starts readying her mother's home to be sold, she comes across some letters. She did not know that when she went to Madrid, that her life would change forever. 

Berta had left Madrid fifteen years ago as she did not get along with her mother and sister. I was intrigued by this story from the moment that I read the blurb. There's so many secrets uncovered. There's so many questions that need answered. But not all of the secrets are buried in the past. The characters are complex. The plot line believable. A great read.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Amazon Publishing UK and the author Mercedes Pinto Moldonado for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Initially I was really into this and super drawn in by the story and setting, but it all just got a bit boring. Aris the cat was probably my favourite character in the whole book as the rest are all just unlikeable for me. I felt that a lot of things were left unresolved which left me feeling frustrated as i wanted answers and explanations! I don’t blame our protagonist for moving to London though; her family sounds awful!! The largest issue was the love for Saul just from reading his letters. Who would honestly fall in love with their sisters ex after reading some letters??? 

Overall it had a strong start but flattened out for the remainder of the book. 
Many thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.
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The book started off slow. I was a little bored with it in the beginning but once it got started and you realized that both her mother and sister married men that disappeared it really got going. Honestly I really liked the book. I felt like the ending was a little rushed to wrap it all up but I liked the character development and the fact that you didn’t really see the mystery plot coming in the beginning. The letters don't come into play right away so you don’t realize where the title comes from but I enjoyed having Saul’s letters be in the book. They were a great addition and you get to see the feelings of a man that’s insanely in love with a woman that was using him but never realized it. He thinks that it was all a misunderstanding and Yolanda will write back to him because their love is so true. 

Mercedes Pinto Maldonado did an amazing job weaving a story that when you get sucked in there's no way to put it down until  the book is over. It leaves you guessing. Though I will admit I did get a little frustrated that some things happened and Berta didn't call the police like I feel a normal person would. (That poor doll) I'm glad I was approved for the novel and highly recommend it.
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Really enjoyed this book! Was easy to read, great characters and storyline. Definitely recommend to others who  like this type of story. Author did a wonderful job.
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I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest review.

Such an interesting read. Part old mystery, part ghost story, part literary fiction combined into one compelling saga.

I enjoyed the story and kept wanting to get back to reading to see what happened 15 years ago. I was perplexed about the lack of resolution with Saul's story and the mystery involving her sister. Yes, there was information given but I still feel like a major chunk was left out. I also can't believe that Berta was in live with Saul...infatuation ..yes, everlasting love ..not so much.
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Publisher's description: Her family is built on secrets and lies. Can she confront the truth she’s been running from for years?

Fifteen years ago, Berta fled from Madrid to London to escape the controlling mother who made her childhood a living nightmare. Now, following her mother’s death, she is forced to return and face the ghosts of her unhappy past.

But it is not long before she discovers that her own bleak memories are nothing compared to the dark deception lurking in her family. How did her sister’s loveless marriage really end? And is the loyal housekeeper really hiding the truth about the strange disappearance of Berta’s father?

As she searches for facts among the fiction, Berta finds a handful of letters that reveal a story more twisted than she could ever have imagined. And as she starts piecing together the sinister family mysteries that have always plagued her, it soon becomes clear that these dangerous secrets are not confined to the past…
"Letters to a Stranger" by Mercedes Pinto Maldonado felt like an extremely slow read. Berta is in Madrid for the first time in 15 years, handling her mother's estate. Her older sister Yolanda is not around and suggests in their only conversation in the entire book that Berta "sell up" on her mother's two properties and go home to London. Little did we know that her sister had ulterior motives, but we never really find out what those are. We also never really find out the back story of Berta's mother and why Berta and Yolanda's childhood was so tormented. We know that it was...just not enough background to explain why.


The story is narrated by Berta, and she spends an endless amount of time reading letters that she finds in an old bureau in the attic of her childhood home. The only other key characters are Theresa, the housekeeper who practically raised Berta and Yolanda, and Alfonso, a private investigator Berta hires to look into the disappearance of her father many years ago. Because Berta is alone most of the time, the book is practically all narration with very little dialog. It took a really long time to pick up, and much of the book is Berta wallowing in her own self-pity. It actually was quite depressing.

There is an interesting spin on a love story without a happily ever after with a murder mystery backdrop that wraps up a little too neatly without a lot of explanation. This one wasn't for me. Maybe some others would like it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. This title is scheduled for release on October 22, 2019.
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Two interesting characters in this book. Berta and her hideous mother. I would have fled from the mother as well to be honest and went to London. The return journey after her death however is difficult - it has been 15 years since Berta was last year. When she meets the woman who looked after her mother for many years, all kinds of secrets come out. There’s a lot she has to do to come to her past and on that note, there’s a lovely little subplot involving Aris the cat who helps her do just that. Sadly, there’s a lot of thinking time in this book, a lot of hard emotions to face and Berta does seem to overthink things. The novel felt very drawn out and dark because of this and the ending, in contrast, a bit to fairytale-esque. 

An interesting translated book to read though!
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