Monday, February 13, 2023

The Hidden Letters by Lorna Cook

On the eve of a world war, a forbidden love will blossom in the garden of a stately home and one young woman will make a choice that will change her life forever…

As the storm clouds of war gather, Cordelia seeks refuge in the grounds of her family estate.

Isaac has recently arrived to tend to the gardens, and the connection between him and Cordelia is as immediate as it is forbidden.

Isaac begins to secretly teach her how to cultivate the gardens, so when he and all the young men are called away to war, Cordelia takes over.

From the battlefields of Europe, Isaac sends her letters, that give her hope for a future in peacetime.

But when these messages abruptly cease, Cordelia must face up to the worst and take her future – and the fate of the garden they both loved – into her own hands…

An epic, sweeping tale of love, war and the strength of the human spirit. Fans of Lucinda Riley and Kate Morton will be absolutely gripped by this historical page-turner.

Kindle edition, 400 pages
Expected publication March 2, 2023
by Avon Books UK
2.5/5 stars

This is my first time reading a Lorna Cook book. It’s also the first time in a long time that I have read anything pertaining to WW1.

Taking place in England, The Hidden Letters tells the story of a young woman named Cordelia. Born into privilege her life is filled with expectations and duty. Before the onset of war, she begins a friendship with Isaac, someone who takes care of the gardens at the family home. What follows is a very slow paced story. I really wanted to enjoy this book.  I have heard so much about the author and whether my expectation level was too high because of the buzz on social media or the references to Lucinda Riley and Kate Morton (both favourites of mine), this was not the captivating story that I had hoped for.

I struggle to connect with the characters and to feel the friendship develop, the plot just didn’t work for me until I hit the 75% mark where things picked up remarkably. The story took on some intrigue, which led to a surprising twist and an ending that worked. However, the action came a little too late to make up for the first 3/4 of the book.

I have another of her books on my shelf and will give her another go at some point in time.

My thanks to Avon Books UK and NetGalley for a digitial arc in exchange for a honest review.

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