BOOK: Letter from a Stranger
AUTHOR: Barbara Taylor Bradford
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers Aust
WHEN award-winning film maker Justine Nolan returns to her beautiful childhood home, she is intrigued by an envelope she finds in her absent mother's post.
The letter inside contains a shocking revelation.
If genuine it will change everything she believes about her family's recent history, her mother and her adored grandmother, Gabriele.
With the support of her beloved twin brother, Richard, Justine resolves to uncover the truth.
To do so she must travel to Istanbul - the teeming, beguiling city on the cusp of East and West.
Yet even when her quest succeeds, Justine is faced with a further mystery: Gabriele's background is not what it seems.
Justine is given a book of memories in which the real story unfolds, taking her back to the darkest days of European history, with its suffering and astonishing acts of bravery.
At the heart of it lie the final facts of Gabriele′s identity - and her own.
I have always found authors who try to weave present events with historical ones fall far short of expectations - but not Barbara Taylor Bradford.
She is a genius at weaving together Justine's present quest to find out more about her beloved grandmother and the detailed account of said grandmother's childhood.
Both are dramatic and filled with passion and it is this passionate writing style which keeps you enthralled.
It feels like you know the character and by the end you are completely invested in getting the outcome you want.
And while the novel came to the conclusion I wanted and hoped for it was anti-climactic - it felt a little forced.
Despite this it was a great novel and I would happily read it again, knowing I would get something different out of it on each subsequent reading.
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