Back in February I took part in the blog tour for Letters To Eloise, in which I featured a guest post from author Emily Williams about the inspiration for her debut novel. I was intrigued about this story as I am a fan of books told in an epistolary format. And so I was delighted when Emily kindly offered to send me a copy for review!
‘Writing to you is an easier way of getting these thoughts out and one day you may find your mothers wittering vaguely interesting or at least amusing, or neither, whatever suits you.’
Letters To Eloise tells the story of Flora Tierney, a young woman in the process of completing her final year of studies. But when she falls unexpectedly pregnant, this leaves her with something of a predicament. Flora appears at first to have had it all – a promising student with a loyal best friend and a man who thinks the world of her, her first love. However, it soon becomes clear that Flora’s relationships are a little more complicated, and there is another man on the scene, one whom it is difficult to stay away from given his role within the university. This leaves Flora in turmoil, having to deal with her pregnancy at the same time as completing her post-grad studies, not to mention her tangled love life. Finding her situation daunting, Flora decides to write letters to help get her thoughts out into the open. And as she herself is trying to come to terms with her future, she chooses her unborn child as the recipient – a silent listener who will be there for her, and who will pass no judgment. I immediately warmed to Flora and was willing her on to do well, and I was intrigued to find out more about the events leading up to her pregnancy, and whether either of her lovers will be there by her side when she needs them the most…
‘I think Little Bump, words are still unsaid, words that need to be said.’
Before I started reading this book I wasn’t sure if I could relate to the subject matter as I am not a parent myself and have never really felt particularly maternal. However, as this story progressed I became engrossed in it, and I found that Flora herself was still trying to process that she was to become a mother. The reader gets to follow her as she considers her future, and how she will fare as a parent. Through each of her letters we start to piece together Flora’s story and her journey throughout pregnancy as she looks back to the past and the encounters that have shaped her current predicament. Most of the letters begin with a little snippet of information, facts describing what babies are like at certain stages in pregnancy which I found really interesting as a complete novice! I also enjoyed Flora’s comments to her baby at each stage, and it was heart-warming to see how Flora progressed and how her feelings towards her child altered throughout, how little Eloise became the most important thing, something precious to focus on when the truth becomes too much. In addition I liked the relationships she had with friends Brooke and Brian and their exchanges which were often humorous and also poignant when put to the test. I did find that the content of some of the letters seemed a little strange to be included in letters addressed to a child (such as Flora’s more intimate encounters) so I suspect not all of them were intended for Eloise and were more for Flora herself to reminisce about. All in all, this was a story which I found more moving than I anticipated and there were a couple of moments within this novel that left me genuinely surprised – and a little bereft!
‘The light shining in through the hall window rapidly dims around him, like it happened once before, a lifetime ago.’
Letters To Eloise is a lovely little book which explores one young woman’s journey into motherhood, and the importance of the past in shaping the future. It is a beautifully woven tale of love and hope. Many thanks to Emily Williams for providing a copy for review.