The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn (Review by Marie Nguyen)

2 min read

Rating: 3.5 / 5

The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant follows two spans of time – one following the perspective of Esther in 1951 and two other points-of-view in 2018. The 2018 timeline is told through two characters, Rachel, a researcher that accepts a posting in the Isles of Scilly, and Eve, a young woman helping her famous mountaineer grandmother write a memoir of her life and climbing adventures. Rachel is the character that finds hidden letters on an island occupied only by a single resident – these letters connect the two timelines as Rachel becomes persistent in finding the person for whom they were intended.

The author, Kayte Nunn, follows what seems to be a popular standard in historical fiction lately where a letter, or some other historical document, connects at least two timelines. Although I appreciated the insight into what happens to the characters in the earlier timeline, I enjoyed the 1951 timeline significantly more than the current day story. Following Esther, who is committed to a mental asylum by her husband in a time when very little was known about depression and men could make such choices for their wives without their consent, kept me intrigued as there were so many complex elements – such as love, friendship, and vivid scenery descriptions – and where we saw so much character growth and change. Eve’s perspective seemed like a device to just push along the story and I wasn’t really invested in her at all. I didn’t connect with Rachel either, mostly because I found her fairly unlikeable in her poor choices and way she treated people. Though the story was fairly predictable, there were moments that really touched me and most of those occurred while reading Esther’s point-of-view. And although I feel that jumping between so many perspectives took away from the impact of Esther’s experiences, The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant has a very good balance of providing a fascinating and well-researched setting with a compelling story.

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2 min read

Rating: 3.5 / 5

The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant follows two spans of time – one following the perspective of Esther in 1951 and two other points-of-view in 2018. The 2018 timeline is told through two characters, Rachel, a researcher that accepts a posting in the Isles of Scilly, and Eve, a young woman helping her famous mountaineer grandmother write a memoir of her life and climbing adventures. Rachel is the character that finds hidden letters on an island occupied only by a single resident – these letters connect the two timelines as Rachel becomes persistent in finding the person for whom they were intended.

The author, Kayte Nunn, follows what seems to be a popular standard in historical fiction lately where a letter, or some other historical document, connects at least two timelines. Although I appreciated the insight into what happens to the characters in the earlier timeline, I enjoyed the 1951 timeline significantly more than the current day story. Following Esther, who is committed to a mental asylum by her husband in a time when very little was known about depression and men could make such choices for their wives without their consent, kept me intrigued as there were so many complex elements – such as love, friendship, and vivid scenery descriptions – and where we saw so much character growth and change. Eve’s perspective seemed like a device to just push along the story and I wasn’t really invested in her at all. I didn’t connect with Rachel either, mostly because I found her fairly unlikeable in her poor choices and way she treated people. Though the story was fairly predictable, there were moments that really touched me and most of those occurred while reading Esther’s point-of-view. And although I feel that jumping between so many perspectives took away from the impact of Esther’s experiences, The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant has a very good balance of providing a fascinating and well-researched setting with a compelling story.

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