- Paperback: 303 pages
- Publisher: David C. Cook (June 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780781403696
- ISBN-13: 978-0781403696
- ASIN: 0781403693
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 137 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #678,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Mailbox: A Novel Paperback – June 1, 2010
"Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" by Lori Gottlieb
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From Publishers Weekly
Nonfiction author Whalen pens her first novel, centered on an actual landmark mailbox in Sunset Beach, N.C. Over a span of some 20 years, Lindsey Adams makes summer visits to the Kindred Spirit mailbox and deposits an annual written update on her life. When her husband divorces her, Lindsey makes the trek again and meets up with long-lost love, Campbell Forrester, whose own marriage dissolved years earlier. Unsure they can rekindle their youthful love, both Lindsey and Campbell struggle to make the leap from teenage infatuation to a lasting adult commitment. Whalen's use of a mailbox as the tie between people, memories, and romantic love is intriguing, and she makes it work more effectively than a reader might expect. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Marybeth Whalen speaks regularly through her association with the Proverbs 31 Ministries and served as the general editor of For the Write Reason and The Reason We Speak. She and her husband, Curt, have six children and are active in their community near Charlotte, North Carolina. She has been visiting the Kindred Spirit mailbox for years.
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For me, Lindsey was such a relatable character. Still haunted by a teenage summer love affair that happened when she was fifteen, Lindsey tries to move on with her life while dealing with two children and a recent divorce from a cheating husband. When she shows up for her annual beach vacation to the town where her old ex-boyfriend still lives, things get complicated when she realizes that she is finally free from the shackles of marriage that have stopped her from pursuing the relationship that she's secretly missed for the last twenty years. Although I've never personally had a summer love like Lindsey, I've been haunted by past relationships, as I'm sure many people have.
One of the things that made me like this book so much was how it had an aspect of mystery to it. Who was the person that she had been writing to at the mailbox for all of these years? Would she ever find out and be able to connect with this person? There were also a few surprising moments in the novel that I really didn't see coming. Usually chick lit books don't have that aspect to them, so I really enjoyed that there were some twists and turns that I didn't see coming.
There were two aspects of this book that I didn't like, though.
First of all, on the ebook version, for some reason, the acknowledgements and a million reviews of this book were included right at the beginning. I've never had this happen to me with an ebook before, and it was super annoying. It wasn't until 2% into the book that the actual first chapter began!
The second thing is that this book had a huge religious component. As I've said before in my reviews, I'm not a fan of religion being in books, especially when it's done like this. We find out that Lindsey is actually Christian about a third of the way into the book, when she realizes that she wants to reconnect with God as a way of dealing with her divorce. She starts talking about how she got interesting in religion, and speaks about the mailbox as possible having some kind of spiritual connection with God, and she begins to constantly read her Bible and her "devotional" book. Religious stuff in novels are fine, but only when it's clearly in the "Christian" genre or whatever. I felt that the religious stuff was really random and didn't fit with the plot. It was completely irrelevant and unnecessary. If all of it had been cut out, the book would have made just as much sense and, honestly, would've been so much better. Personally, I don't think that it's fair to bombard readers with "God" stuff in a contemporary novel that doesn't tout itself as being Christian literature, especially when there's a LOT of it, and it's not immediately clear within the first few pages that there is a religious element. I just don't appreciate it and it really didn't belong in this book.
Those two things aside, I really, really enjoyed reading this book. I stayed up late to finish it because I could not put it down, and I absolutely loved how it ended. While I thought that the ending was kind of obvious (which is fine, because it's the norm in chick lit), the way that the author brings you to the ending is all but "the usual."
The author effectively uses flashbacks, mostly through the notes written to the Kindred Spirit. Other reviews compare this story to a Nicolas Sparks novel and I agree with that assessment. I found myself longing to take a walk along that same beach and a desire to actually see The Mailbox.
The story line has believable details regarding Lindsey's painful divorce and her journey back to once again being filled with hope and renewed faith in God. I gave this story five stars because I feel that I got all of the romance of a Nicolas Sparks novel and combined realistic approaches to life's difficulties with a Christian faith.
When I started this book, I didn't know that it was Christian fiction. It did not take long to figure it out though. This book was not as heavy handed as some Christian books are. One thing that I didn't like was the flipping back and forth in time. I did like the characters. I think that this is book one in a series. I doubt that I will pick up the next one.
Lindsay and Campbell's love story is how you always imagine love to be. It's filled with ups and downs, weaved with joy and sorrow that in the end, merges poetically through a beautiful story of how their love started in 1985, and how it ends up in 2005. The identity of the Kindred Spirit was definitely a pleasant surprise. It's a story that emphasizes the sometimes the wrong turns we make in life, are the turns that point us in the direction we were meant to end up at all along.
What is refreshing is that not only does the book incorporate deep values of christianity, it's also such a sweet story devoid of what most romance novels do by relying on sexual scenes to create the story. This book was incredibly beautiful and hands down one of the best books I've read this year! I can't recommend this book enough if you're looking for a captivating love story that leaves you both smiling and crying at the end!