by Emily Williams
Buy it on Amazon here.
Disclaimer: I was sent this book by the author in return for an honest review.
I have to admit, when I was first sent Letters to Eloise (2017) I was sceptical. This was for a number of reasons. First, I am a professional proof reader. I generally work off of a computer screen and knew that I would find it challenging reading the novel as a pdf. Honestly, I spent the first hundred pages proof reading and not simply reading. Not good – but I admit, that was completely on me.
Another factor was that I very rarely read this genre, and honestly, I have only ever read one series of self-published books that I genuinely enjoyed. But… I decided to give it a go anyway and this is what I thought:
To start off I am going to write about what I disliked, and then I will move onto what I enjoyed.
So, at times the dialogue seemed somewhat unnatural and unrealistic. We do not generally speak how we write, right? Also, the character (Flora) is relaying these conversations that took place anything from a few minutes to hours ago onto paper; they are not happening as you are reading (if you get what I mean). At times the language felt too rehearsed, maybe.
This, however, changed the further I got into the novel; the dialogue began to flow better and I stopped feeling this way.
There were also some typos and grammatical errors and whilst it can be extremely difficult to edit your own work, and we are all human and make mistakes, they just grated on me and it threw me off at times.
Now, onto the good stuff…
The main character, Flora, is a postgraduate student who discovers that she is unexpectedly expecting. Flora is smart, bookish, and the most unlikely candidate to fall pregnant and have a secret affair with her older, and mysterious lecturer after a failed relationship with River, her long-time boyfriend.
We are with her after she learns of her pregnancy and in her attempts to contact River, we accompany her to her interesting hospital appointments with Art (her doctor) and his plant, and are there to see her fall in love as she relays all of this to her baby, Eloise in the form of letters. There is a lot of sorrow, humour and affection present throughout the novel.
I think that these letters had something to do with the ease of reading. I generally like letter writing as a medium and felt this worked really well and I found myself powering through quite quickly.
I also absolutely loved, loved, the description of university life – if you are looking to understand what life is like living in halls and also doing a postgraduate degree then this is probably the book for you. I was transported back, and to be honest, it was from this point that I was hooked.
Although, at times, the relationships between the characters were a little clichéd; I felt the close bonds between each of them; from the loud, domineering and excitable Brook to Flora’s quiet and thoughtful father, I loved them all. There was not one that I did not like reading about, including Tate.
I also admire the amount of thought and research that clearly went into the book. The messages left by Tate from Aberald to his Heloise and the tit-bits of information about pregnancy and the baby’s growth before the letters. They were very clever and witty little touches.
The story was full of raw emotion; confusion, love, fear, pride and then the ending…
The ending happened.
You could feel something, a kind of atmosphere, but I did not expect what actually happened to happen. But it did. And I cried.
Letters to Eloise is a touching story of love, loss and a mother’s fierce instinct to protect her child and I thoroughly enjoyed the escapism it provided me.
Recommended for: Somebody wanting emotion, romance, and a casual read.
For some other reviews on the book check out: