The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen
|The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: Lost Letters form the basis of this magical and enchanting novel - a careful and beautifully studied portrait of a man and his relationships, and a heartfelt love letter to the power of the written word.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: July 2018|
|Publisher: Michael Joseph|
|External links: Author's website|
William Woolf is a letter detective, working in the Dead Letters Depot in East London. He spends his days deciphering smudged addresses, tracking down mysterious people and reading endless letters of love, guilt, death, hope, and everyday life.
When a midnight blue envelope lands on his desk, William is bought into the world of a woman who addresses letters simply to "My Great Love". As he is swept ever more into the world of the mysterious woman, William finds himself awakened in ways he couldn't have expected.
But as his hunt for the mysterious woman grows ever stronger, his marriage crumbles - stagnant and stale after years of neglect. It's up to William to decide if his future lies in the world of the letters, or if he should rebuild that which was so important to him just a few years before.
Helen Cullen is an Irish writer who lives in London. Previously working at RTE in Ireland, she moved to London in 2010, and currently works for the Google UK Marketing team. The Lost Letters of William Woolf is her first novel.
There's a magic in words -I know that, and you, reading a book review, undoubtedly know that too. It's something that Helen Cullen clearly believes in, as she has written this remarkable tribute to the power of words - a beautifully truthful and heartrending tale of a man who lives through the words of others.
William Woolf is a creation who will, for me, be remembered for a very long time - and Helen Cullen has pitched him perfectly - eccentric enough to make for a memorable character, but filled with emotion, fault and feeling to ensure that he's brought to life as a vivid, human character. It may be that I have a particularly large amount of empathy for a shy man who's frequently wearing large amounts of tweed - but he's such a wonderfully warm character to read about that I daresay every reader will fall in love with him.
The Lost Letter Office is a great starting point to build the book around - a place where a myriad of voices and stories come through the doors everyday - perhaps robbed of a final destination but nevertheless touching the hearts and lives of those who read them. In the wrong hands it could have resulted in a hugely twee read, but Cullen holds off the saccharine sentiment and instead crafts characters who feel immensely real - and explores the deteriotation of a marriage in a fine, often painful detail that makes this a far deeper read than one may first expect.
Beautifully crafted, compellingly told, and filled with characters who will stick with you long after reading, The Lost Letters of William Woolf is a remarkably assured debut novel that celebrates the power of words, explores human emotion, and leaves you with lingering memories of the Lost Letter Office and wonderful William Woolf.
Many thanks to the publishers for the copy - and for further reading I recommend The Final Testimony of Raphael Ignatius Phoenix by Paul Sussman - another read that blends flights of fancy with human emotion to create a books that's moving, powerful, and hugely memorable.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen at Amazon.com.
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