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My Whole Soul Is Yours
on November 11, 2010
Kisses that set the blood on fire, declarations of tears, pet names, a king who would throw himself at his lover's feet and kiss them, dying wishes, exciting letters from prison complete with escapes and letters written on the battlefield right before death. These are the types of letters and things discussed that make this a very exciting read.
Most of the men writing these letters were very talented and get your full attention. There are a few disappointments, mostly because the letters are too short. Also, two of the letters are written by women, not men! At the start of each section there is a short biography of the writer. I felt they were often more detailed than they needed to be but were very well done.
To start the book, John Adams speaks of the "unalterable Tenderness of My Heart." Sullivan Ballou states: "my love for you is deathless." The letter is so sad at times it brought tears to my eyes. The letter I truly loved was by Honorede Balzac. It is an intensely intimate letter. Oh, you could only wish a man would write you these words! I can only imagine the rapture Eva felt when she read his letter. I had to read it again.
While I had heard of Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved," here we read such a tragic letter where hopelessness and desire intertwine. Then onward to the very surprising angry letter from Napoleon to Josephine. Apparently she did not write him as often as he wished.
There is no letter by Scott Fitzgerald, in fact the only letter is from his Zelda. I don't know why the editor chose to do this. The letters from James Joyce, Mozart and Nathaniel Hawthorne were slightly disappointing. I expected so much more after the initial stunning letters. Mark Twain and Leo Tolstoy's letters were also very short.
Do not be surprised if you become a little jealous of these women who so captured the hearts of eloquent men. There are also letters by Robert Browning, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, Winston Churchhill, Pierre Currie, Victor Hugo, John Keats, Franz Liszt, Jack London, Robert Peary, Edgar Allen Poe, Sir Walter Raleigh, Robert Shumann, Dylan Thomas, Vincent Van Gough, Voltaire and Woodrow Wilson.
While it feels like you are peering into some secret world while reading on the Kindle, you might want the actual book so you can find letters more easily the second time. Sure you can bookmark them on the Kindle but is it really the same?
To be honest this is an extremely romantic collection of letters that seem to mean so much more than poems. Why anyone would wish for poems instead is beyond me. These letters express such heartfelt emotions and the bliss of new love. For me at least I finally realized how men experience love and it is especially beautiful. While reading you can somehow feel the happiness the recipient felt as she read the words for the first time. I myself had to go back and read a few love letters again, they were that delicious. This is a great deal for $5!
~The Rebecca Review