Cover Image: The Book of Last Letters

The Book of Last Letters

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Member Reviews

*Thanks to Netgalley for giving me an ARC*

I loved this. Although, I did had a few questions in mind but I loved it. Stephanie wasn't that bad of a character and I loved her. I also liked Elsie but damn did it broke my heart for Nelly. The author didn't shied away from the horrors of the war.

The ending was okay; it felt a bit too odd for it to be ending but I did liked the twist between Elsie and Harry's daughter that came in the end. I do have questions for Elsie's neighbors; the Golds. 

Regardless, this was a nice story.
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Loved this book so much.
An emotional and gripping story, I simply couldn't put this down.
Set in both the present day and world war two, the story is brilliantly written, the type of book you don't want to finish because it's so good!
Kerry Barrett is one fantastic writer, 
Thank you netgalley.
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This was a cracking read that, had I more time, I would have consumed in a single sitting. Featuring characters from the 1940s and modern day, it skillfully weaves two narratives together, linking them by reference to the eponymous Book of Last Letters, created in war-time London, and discovered some 80 years later. 

Elsie Watson is a young nurse, mourning the death of her brother Billy at Dunkirk, and working at the South London District Hospital in 1940, caring for the casualties of enemy bombing raids, including airmen from Biggin Hill. One day she is asked by a terribly injured young mother to write to her children so they will know where she is and that she is safe. This desperate plea for Elsie to make contact with loved ones of the injured and dying, leads to another and another request for help until her idea to create a book, where patients can write thoughts, messages, spiritual verses, and even cartoons and drawings for those they love or fear they will leave behind, is born. 

But Elsie’s life is complicated by the unwanted attentions of Jackson, and then the terrible tragedy that befalls her friend Nelly. We learn of the developments in her story between the tale of struggling artist Stephanie, or Stevie, her modern day counterpart. The South London District Hospital is now Tall Trees, a care home, where Stevie, who has her own burdens, works. Her brother is in prison, and the circumstances that put him there have drained Stevie of her creativity and happiness, leaving her fragile and insecure. 

When handsome historian Finn Russell shares with her the newly discovered Book of Last Letters, found in what would have been the old hospital boiler room, an art project is born that will not only unite the past with the present, but reveal the discovery of old love and old tragedies. Elsie’s bravery and steadfast loyalty sits alongside Stevie’s own determination and courage. The tension builds in the final chapters as Stevie works to determine Elsie’s fate and we learn of the circumstances that brought Elsie and the book to the hospital’s boiler room on the night she was forced to leave it behind. 

Both female characters are well drawn and charming. Perhaps Jackson’s sinister personality is a little heavy handed - you didn’t need to be a literary genius to gather that trouble is bound to ensue - but the gathering pace and tension in the final pages was compelling and heartbreaking in equal measure. A thoroughly entertaining and satisfying read!
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This is a excellent  read, I really enjoyed it. I was intrigued by the premise,, and it lives up to its appeal. I understood that it would be a dual timeline novel,  but unusually for this currently popular writing style, both narratives are equally as interesting. 
Elsie is the young nurse we meet, working in a London hospital in 1940, enduring nightly air raids with her good friend and nurse, Nelly, whilst fending off the unwelcome attention of her creepy neighbour Jackson. Her idea of having injured servicemen and women, and other patients, write notes in her communal book of last letters is such a lovely idea. It becomes much more popular than she could have imagined, and by its very nature, infinitely precious.
The present day story of Stephanie, one time artist, now a carer in a retirement home, hoping to complete the artistic challenge of an art project for the Tall Trees home where she works, is just as intriguing a story, as Stephanie/ Stevie too decides to start a book of last letters for her residents, whilst trying to uncover the mystery of where Elsie disappeared to in 1942.
The romantic associations of both young women are beautifully described, taking account of the era they happen in. 
A very thought provoking book, I was completely immersed in both stories, and was happy to read their alternating chapters. Both are beautifully written, well plotted, and the narratives of both timelines never flags. I didn’t want to put this book down. Both protagonists are fully rounded characters, as are their menfolk, and the lesser players in the stories. I will look out for more of this author’s work. Highly recommended. 
My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my advance copy of this book.
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This is a dual timeline historical novel revolving around Stevie, a fledgling artist and nursing home care giver in present time and Elsie a nurse in London during the Blitz. 
Elsie, lives with her fellow nurse and best friend Nelly after a military airfield is bombed nearby, the wounded are brought to Elsies hospital for care. Elsie agrees to help a wounded airman write a letter home since both his arms are injured. Upon hearing of Elsie's offer to pen a letter there are numerous requests from the other injured men for help writing home, giving messages for loved ones, saying goodbyes-just in case, even just writing down memories. 
Elsie is overwhelmed, but along with Nelly they attempt to fill the requests. When a neighbor hears of what the nurses are doing she tells of nurses in WWI who kept scrapbooks for their patients, passing the book around letting them write messages to loved ones, goodbyes, recording memories, events, feelings, even jokes, poems or drawings. Hearing about this Elsie decides to implement her own at her hospital, passing the book from ward to ward for everyone to write.
There is so much more to Elsie's story than just the passing of the book to be written in, if I described everything my review would be the size of a novel. So rather than do that let me say this, I loved Elsie's story! I was completely captivated with her character right away. Elsie is portrayed in a way that makes her "knowable", sahew is real and a reader can easily empathize with her.  And her story is a beautiful though rather sad story. 
Now the present day timeline about artist/care giver =Stevie, wellI did not find her or her story compelling at all. Now this is just my personal feelings, I tend to always gravitate to the stories from the past,m usually skimming quickly through the present day chapters, which is pretty much what I did here. 
Would I recommend this book? Most certainly! It is well written, the prose keeps your attention, the story flows smoothly and quickly and best of all....it is based on real events! I love the novels based on reality. 
So, thumbs up, make sure you grab a copy on March 30, curl up in your fav chair and read, read, read! 
Thank you to HQ Digital and Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return.
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Thank you to #NetGalley for the advance copy of #TheBookOfLastLetters by #KerryBarrett

This is a very heartfelt tale split between Elsie in 1940’s Blitz and Stephanie working in todays London. 
Elsie is a nurse in wartime with new casualties coming in every night, when one of the airmen with two broken arms asks her to write to his parents she quickly agrees, the word spreads and Elsie writes many letters, which gives her the idea to have a book of last letters that everyone can write in, in case they don’t come back. 
Stephanie is working in a care home in the present time and struggling with getting her life back on track, when she hears about the book and wonders if she can do something similar now. 
It’s a wonderful story that will make you think about your last letters. 
Have you written yours ?
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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It had been some time since I have been so engrossed in a book that I regretted every moment I put it down and could not wait to meet up with the characters again.
These duel timeline interconnected stories have strong female characters who are recovering from upsetting events in their lives whilst helping others as well.  
Elsie, a nurse during the Blitz in London organised patients to write letters and thoughts to their friends and family.  If they were unlucky and sis not survive, these thoughts would act as some kind of solace for the family. 
When the book is rediscovered some 60 years later, Stevie a worker at the care home determines to find out more about Elsie and to make a new book for the patients in the care home.
A truly inspired book.
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Wow, what a beautifully written book set in London during the 1940’s and present time in a nursing home which was a hospital in war time. It tells a story of a nurse who starts a scrapbook full with messages and stories to loved ones. It’s a compelling story about war, love, heartbreak, friendship, loyalty and secrets and pulls at your heart strings too. You fall in love with the characters, I loved it, couldn’t put it down and was sad when it ended. Definitely recommend giving this a read. 5* from me.
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This is the first book I’ve read from Kerry Barrett but it will not be the last. I loved the story, the characters and the fact that it’s partly based on a true story.

Set in the 1940s and the present day the book features the lives of two women who are dealing with tough times in their lives. Although a parallel timeline the story(stories) are easy to follow and. The book flows well and touched on some difficult topics at times. Their stories come together throughout the book and is cleverly done by the author. The women are connected by the setting which used to be hospital that is now a care home and a book that Elsie wrote as a nurse in the blitz.

Highly recommended and I’d love to see this book turned into a film or series as I think it would be great seen acted out.
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A dual timeline story, based around what was a wartime hospital now an old people's home. Stevie works in the care home, having given up her painting after her brother is sentenced to prison. Struggling with feelings of guilt and anxiety, Stevie does her work and exists without really living. 
Elsie and Nelly are young nurses working in the hospital during the 1940s blitz, trying to help young injured airmen. A friend suggests that Elsie starts a scrapbook for the young men where they can record their thoughts and feelings, and leave messages for lived ones if they should not survive. The scrapbook is an incredible success, and soon becomes a portal for messages between one special patient and Elsie. This is an engaging and enjoyable story but the author doesn't shrink from highlighting some of the horrors of war. Elsie soon faces destruction and loss in her life, as well as a very real threat from someone nearby.  This is a great story,  I love the way the author brings together the stories at the end. A recommended read
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I really enjoyed this book as I particularly love the authors style of writing.
She is able to swap from different eras with fluid writing.
I love the characters, the friendships and how different characters are able to support each other but not in a predicable way.
Stevie, Finn, Elsie and Nelly will keep you wanting to find out more.
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Another amazing book inspired by a true story.
Written in dual timeline set in London in 1940's and in present day.

1940 in London
Elsie Watson and her friend, Nelly, are nurses at the South London District Hospital. There is a bombing and raids on the streets of London. Wounded soldiers occupy the hospital and most of them will die without getting the chance to say any last words to their loved ones. After writing letters to families for some patients, Elsie comes up with an idea to let people write all kinds of things, messages for loved ones, memories of the time, notes, pictures or even poems in the notebook. She passes the notebook from ward to ward collecting messages, probably some of these being their last messages. But the worst is yet to come when Elsie writes the last message for her best friend. I cried a few times until this point but my heart was crushed during this section of the book.

Present day
Stephanie works as a carer at Tall Tree where her Nan is a resident in the dementia unit. Her life is not easy. Her twin brother is in prison and she blames herself for it. After his arrest, she lost interest in painting neverless she comes up with the idea to paint a mural on the empty wall. Inspired by the book of last letters, Stephanie wants to tell the story of Tall Trees during the World War II when this building was a hospital. Additionally, she starts the notebook for residents to record their words and feelings. At the same time she is committed to find out what happened to Elsie.

This is the story of two courageous women who despite their own struggles and problems, found a way to help those in need.
Very engaging, emotional and interesting story. I love this book for raising the importance of last words and for the lovely characters. The book covers family problems, friendship and love. And the choices and sacrifices a person has to make during the hard time of one's life.
Great book that I highly recommend. Kerry Barrett is one of my favorite authors and I'm always looking forward to reading her books. 

Thank you @NetGalley and @HQStories for providing me with this ARC e-book in return for an honest review.
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This is the first book that I have read of Kerry Barrett. I am a fan now.
This book follows Elise back in WWII and then Stephanie in the present time.
Elise was a nurse during WWII at a hospital in London. She had an idea to have soldiers and patients at the hospital write memories to their family members (last letters.) Elise wished that she knew what her brother’s final words were.
Stephanie is an artist who works at the same building as Elise did, but in present time. Stephanie is a care giver who stopped painting due to family issues. She wishes she had better communication with her estranged brother and her nan who has dementia.
Elise and Stephanie have a lot of the same characteristics and a lot in common.
There weren’t a lot of characters in this book that you had to keep track of which was wonderful as they were all well-defined.
Thank you to NetGalley and H.Q. Digital for allowing me to read & review this book.
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Loved this novel! Historical fiction and duel story lines. I was drawn to Elsie’s story of hope, friendship, love, hardship and some twists I didn’t see coming. The connection and need for Stephanie’s storyline was simple and clear. It allowed me to focus on Elsie’s story every other chapter and continue to place the pieces to the puzzle. This book is being released on March 30th, I highly recommend it as a Spring read. Thanks, NetGalley and H.Q. Digital for the e-book inspired on an incredible true story.
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Based on a true story this is a heartbreaking but uplifting read. The story and the characters grabbed me from the outset and I couldn’t put it down. Absolutely brilliant.
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This is without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read. If you enjoy wartime fiction, and want something with a bit of a difference, this is the book for you.
It is based around real happenings of the war, but the characters are fictional. Despite this, they have been written beautifully and you could almost think that they were indeed real people. Set in World War II and present day two, the story follows two very different women in different lifetimes but with the same personality.
The pathos that comes through in this book is incredible.
I genuinely felt caught up in the story and couldn’t put it down.
Stevie’s dilemma with her friend Nelly was extremely well written, with the right amount of sadness and respect.

I wish I could give this book 20 stars.

Absolutely amazing – my book of the year so far! Please excuse me – I’m off to track down the author’s other works now!
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This is a wonderful life affirming story. We meet two nurses in a London hospital treating the wounded airmen during the Second World War. Elsie has the idea of giving the wounded a chance to write messages to their loved ones. Today Stevie works as a carer in an old people’s home that is on the same site as the hospital was and she discovers the history of a Second World War journal created by a nurse called Elsie. It has been rediscovered at the site. This is a dual time line story and there is a beautiful love story in each of the times. Stevie decides to create a modern journal that residents of the old people’s home can write in the same way as Elsie’s patients did. This is an incredibly moving story and you can’t help being swept along with the events. The war is the most exciting part of the story but Stevie also has difficult issues to resolve. This story is both enjoyable and well researched and Barrett is an author to look out for.
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Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of The Book of Last Letters by author Kerry Barrett. 

This book follows two women, Elise and Stephanie, in different timelines. Elise works at a hospital in WWII while Stephanie works as a carer in the same building but is an assisted living facility in the present. Elise creates a scrapbook for her military patients which includes last letters and Stephanie re-creates the idea in the present when Elise's book is rediscovered. 

I really liked how the author highlighted the compassionate nature of these two women and their struggles with their difficult professions. And how even though it's their job to care for others, both needed to remember to take care of themselves. This book is historical fiction but at times almost a mystery too as Stephanie in the present tries to discover what happened to Elise after she started the scrapbook. Both women have romances and even some suspenseful moments at times. It was a fast yet beautiful book to read. 

I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for fans of historical fiction.
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This book brings to life a little known piece of history.  The concept of a scrapbook of messages and memories kept in wartime is lovely.  The idea that last messages could be passed on to loved ones in the event of death is heartwarming.  Stephanie uncovers the story of one such book and discovers what happened to its creator Elsie.

An enjoyable story for lovers of WW2 fiction.

Thanks to Net Galley and the publishers for the opportunity to review this book.
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This is the first Kerry Barrett book I’ve read and it certainly won’t be the last.
Such a brilliant concept of having the soldiers last letters dealt with although heartbreaking too. This story is a dual time line in WW2 and the present day with seamless connections to both. I could not put this book down and thoroughly recommend it.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC you have set me off on the Kerry Barrett trail.
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