The Love Note Kindle Edition
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From the Back Cover
Can one determined woman put the pieces together?
Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1865 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.
Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings--mostly negative ones--about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa's search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words.
Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.
"Joanna Davidson Politano has a gift for blending historical romance with just the right amount of intrigue and mystery."--Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author
"I cannot wait to read more historical novels by this talented writer."--Urban Lit Magazine
Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears, A Rumored Fortune, and Finding Lady Enderly. When she's not homeschooling her small children, she spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two children in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B087RTJNPR
- Publisher : Revell (October 20, 2020)
- Publication date : October 20, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 8606 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 398 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0800736893
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #45,902 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Willa Duvall won my empathy instantly, and although she lives in Victorian England, I related to her voice as though we were not only in the same century, but sitting and talking in the same parlor. Her passion and determination when it comes to the medical field influence how she approaches life, and Joanna creates a perfect mix. Willa is not a perfect or ideal human, but she is an ideal medical professional in that she doesn't judge. I commend her tireless advocacy for Golda Gresham, as well as patients like Phoebe and unnamed souls suffering in substandard hospitals or institutions. Additionally, I loved Willa's quiet but strong faith, her outspoken yet compassionate nature, and her journey through spinsterhood. That is, she finds love, but in unconventional ways, and after making true peace with the idea it's not going to happen.
That brings me to something else I loved about this novel--the layers of love. Willa's journey centers the layers, but the other major characters each get their own layers, love types, and experiences, which shows the height and depth of love as it is meant to be understood. Golda Gresham and the symbol of her heart condition work great, as do the threads of love between Celeste and Phoebe, or even Maisie and Willa or Golda. Some of the more conventional "romance threads" don't work quite as well, but I enjoyed their little twists and turns. Burke and Clara get points there, as Clara's artistic talent serves as a mirror into how a marriage can grow, change, almost break, and then recover.
I've said before I love settings that function as characters, and Crestwicke certainly fits the bill, particularly the ruins. I have a "prayer closet," but I wanted to go up there with Willa and talk to God in that sacred space. To go along with that, I loved how some ordinary moments became almost sacred because of how Willa, Gabe, and others related to God. The scene on the beach with Luna is a standout, as is the scene where Celeste cleans and nurses Phoebe. The actual love letter does this, too; I felt from the beginning it was meant to represent how God thinks of us, and I loved having that confirmed.
Joanna throws in some great little twists that take the story down paths that work in the story but jarred me just right. I don't want to spoil them, but look for situations where certain people are not who they say they are, or where identities and relations are assumed to be one thing and turn out to be another. This sort of twist takes me back to some Victorian/Gothic favorites like Jane Eyre and Rebecca, as far as tone and mood. Thus, The Love Note becomes a mysterious yet comforting read.
Now, to the weak points. I hate to bring them up because The Love Note's premise and overall execution is so good, but in the interest of fair warning, here we go. I loved the complex layers, but some of them got a little too complex. At various points, I found myself rereading to confirm who was who and what their motives were, or who people were pretending to be.
As noted, some of the conventional romances don't work as well as they could. Gabe and Willa, for instance, are easy to root for, but their love story gets dragged out in the face of all the other stuff. I'm also still not 100% on board with Burke and Clara, because the latter seemed like he didn't quite learn his lesson about treating his wife poorly. There were times he almost seemed abusive, especially toward his mother (who was supposed to be abusive too, so that threw in another wrench).
Finally, while some layers got too deep, others got hardly any attention. For instance, I liked the idea of Celeste's relationship with Phoebe, but it didn't match the rest of the story, nor did Essie's thread. Plus, the Rose/Grayson thread could feel intrusive. It was supposed to be the thread that held everything together, but it just interrupted everything and everyone else. Overall, it came across that Joanna couldn't settle on what kind of story to tell or whose story it was (the multiple POVs were odd).
Having said all that, I would read The Love Note again, and I'll definitely read Joanna Politano again. She's a challenging author for sure, but I like that. I'd like to see more authors approach books, especially spiritual threads, in the Christian market like she does. The threads need to be a little tighter, but overall, Joanna can craft a gorgeous and memorable story.