** This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.**
Author: Willowy Whisper
Published By: Willowy Whisper (2016)
Synopsis: First it was just a letter, maybe a joke, a coincidence. Now it was more than that. Now it was a living nightmare, threatening everyone he loved, pulling his greatest fear into a reality . . . As the letters keep coming, Brock Sumner watches his world shatter at his feet. Building a wall around his heart seemed like the only answer. Is there any other way to protect the woman he loves?
A drunk, with no incentive to change; a runaway, with a price on his back; a young child, afraid in the dark . . . Will the letters, perhaps, pull their lives together? Or will the killer find a way to destroy them all? (Taken from Goodreads)
I cannot wrap my mind around this book.
This book was amazing.
I mean. Seriously.
It’s a Western murder mystery, with strong pulls of romance, and a positive, strong Christian message (not at all cheesy, either). It’s right up there with all the other great works of literature in my opinion—and get this: it’s written by a 17 year old! This book is easily one of the best written books I’ve ever read in my life. It had me in tears, had me laughing, had me shouting “No!” at times…The author did a phenomenal, phenomenal job.
The characters were well developed down to the last detail, and so, so amazing and loveable. The distinct character arcs of each character show such growth, with not one character staying the same throughout the course of the story, but instead changing and learning and growing; and of course, it was done beautifully, skillfully, and with elegance. Not one character is unlovable; and even the characters that are, in theory, more unlikeable the reader still cares about. Each character’s thread is a strong pull on the story and each character contributes in an important way. Not one character do we not know, not one character do we not love, not one character do we not understand; it’s as if we were right there in the story, living it out and understanding the characters just as well as we understand people in real life. Granted, some of the characters we know better than others, but the way it came together leaves no doubt that the author not only put lots of thought and development into each character, but also loved the less important ones just as much. I get the feeling you could ask the author about the most insignificant character in the book and she could tell you their birthday and their family and everything about them—that’s how well rounded the characters were and how much thought seemed to be put into this book.
The storyline flowed so naturally yet so astoundingly, pulling together so many seemingly unconnected stories together to form one bigger, greater story. What the author is able to bring together—the most unrelated stories, without being cliche or cheesy, but still being well written—is truly stunning and I am in awe. There’s the drunk who doesn’t want to change. There’s the guy who’s determined never to love again. There’s the friend who’s facing his own awful situation. There’s the sweet girl who’s in love and also struggling with feeling loved. There’s runaway with a terrible secret. And there’s the young child who lives in fear. And every one of their stories is distinct and beautiful, unique in its own way, yet somehow, all of them tie together to form a beautiful picture and an incredible story. I was worried that the book would end pathetically—there was so much going on and so much to pull together—but I could not have been more wrong. Willowy Whisper did not only just do a good job, but an incredible one.
And then the themes: can we talk for a minute about the themes of this book and how well they are done? The things woven in this book are well above the author’s age and deserving of adult recognition. She’s right up there with other famous literary works, and I was stunned by the amount of mature topics she was able to weave together at her age. I will note that everything was wholesome and positive—but it definitely ranked a higher reading level in my opinion, not just in the writing but in the content.
As well, there are so many positive Christian messages, and nothing at all cheesy about it. They were natural and graceful and flowed easily with the storyline, causing you to cheer and smile every time it showed itself. The love and romance remained wholesome and sweet and had me laughing giddily every time a love interest I’d been rooting for occurred. Though I will note there is a lot of romance in this book—almost every character falls in love—it does not come off unnaturally or forced, but rather in a gentler, sweeter way, causing the reader to root for the match rather than groan at yet another love interest.
The author has a marvelous way with words—I’d say that’s what it comes down to. Her ability to tell a story is far above her age and I was completely blown away. Her books never cease to amaze me, and in the case of The Letter, it not only amazed me, but also captivated me. I enjoyed every word of this book, which had me crying, laughing, shouting and much more as I navigated the pages of the characters’ lives. They truly came alive.
Recommended to: I’d highly, highly recommend this book, which has taken its place among my other favorite books of all time!
** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**