Violet Ackerman has drifted through a career, four children and a divorce without ever knowing who she is or what she wants. After moving to the coast, she starts receiving a series of mysterious letters sent from a mother and baby home in 1959, written by a pregnant twenty-year-old Elizabeth to her best friend. These letters intersperse Violet's turbulent relationships with her lover, her infuriating son and the eccentric fellow members of the Village Committee. Who is sending Violet these letters, and why? What will happen to Elizabeth's baby? "The Letters" invites us see what happens when we don't run away. Will love be enough to encourage Violet to stay?
Fiona gives an overview of the book:
Violet bursts from her lover’s house and leaves the door gaping like a mouth. She jogs the two and a half miles back to her own cottage, spitting Catherine-Wheel sparks of fury. The soles of her feet slap the ground as she blows out her breath in short blasts. Rah. Rah. Rah. Her eyes are fixed straight ahead. Houses move past her, trees, parked cars. She doesn’t notice the familiar hint of seaweed on the breeze, or that the laces of her left trainer have come undone and are sopping wet and trailing behind her. She turns into her street and doesn’t notice her neighbour, Wendy Peters, sweeping crisp frosted leaves from her front path. Wendy gives her a friendly wave and opens her mouth to frame a ‘yoohoo’ before clocking the look on Violet’s face and thinking better of it. Her hand and face remain frozen into a gesture of welcome long after Violet has disappeared down the road. Violet doesn’t notice the stars above her, glowing like fading embers in the darkening sky. It’s only when she’s slammed her cornflower-blue door behind her that the wind drops, and she slumps down onto her doormat like a fallen kite. She’s home.