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A Thousand Letters Paperback – January 25, 2017
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Top customer reviews
So it pains me greatly to say that this book didn't work for me. I found it incredibly slow, and felt Elliot and Wade's romance and path back to each other was the secondary story. Wades's dads sudden illness and the Elliot's toxic family were the main story here and sadly romance took a back seat and a second place.
I didn't connect with Elliot, she was a doormat allowing her family to treat her appallingly. She had no drive, spirit or enthusiasm and at no stage did she "fight" to get Wade back in her life. Wade changed his mind about what he wanted with Elliot in every chapter that was told from his POV and none of his reasons for staying away now or why he behaved the way he did 7 years prior were credible to me. I was expecting angst but what I got instead was frustration because the story was drawn out for no valid reason.
The book however was well written and parts of it were touching and beautifully executed. Rick - (Wades dad) was a great character and I did enjoy some of the poems recited through out the book.
Overall the tone of the book was quite sad and melancholy which I didn't mind and Mary( Elliot's sister) and her dad were great villains.
Whilst this book didn't work for me it may very well work for you so I encourage all to give it a try.
Even though after almost immediately regretting her choice, Elliot wrote to Wade in an attempt to reverse the trajectory of their relationship, followed by another letter, and another, and hundreds more. That was all almost seven years ago and in all that time, the only response Elliot ever got was no response at all.
The thing with letters though is that you never can tell. With no response, Elliot has no way of knowing what, if any impact they had on how Wade felt about her or they way they'd left things. No idea if he'd even bothered to read a single one before throwing them out. No idea at all, and right now, none of that seems to matter too much.
What matters is that her mentor, and surrogate father figure, Rick, was dying, and suddenly Elliot's main priority was to spend as much time with him as possible while simultaneously supporting her best friend, Rick's real daughter Sophie, and Sophie's younger sister Sadie through this tumultuous and emotional time.
The thing is, Rick has a son too. One that has barely been home in the seven years since he enlisted, but upon hearing the news, he, Wade, is on his way home too.
In all the books I've read from Staci Hart, perhaps the thing I've enjoyed the most is the sense of humor woven through them. Whether it be a more serious tale laced with humor, or a full fledged RomCom, I could always count on at least a smile every few pages.
A Thousand Letters is not that kind of book. Set largely against the backdrop of a dying man's final days, with close friends and family struggling to come to terms with his prognosis and extended family at a loss for how to help in any meaningful way beyond providing casseroles, Elliot has an awful lot on her plate.
On the one hand, there's her own dysfunctional family, and on the other, the family she's adopted is performing their own spiral into dysfunctionality as they try, with differing levels of success, to cope with the pressures their situation forces upon them.
So rather than a smile every few pages, I found that instead almost every page brought a new twinge to the pain I experienced in my chest as I read, and every few pages brought tears. The narrative so real that each heartrending emotion felt by the major characters was echoed as my own. Each distressing realization they experienced flayed yet another layer from my heart, and as the disturbing distance between Wade and Elliot ebbs and flows as they stumble almost blindly through experiencing the same loss and grief without ever actually sharing it, I couldn't help but empathize with each in their own stupor while concurrently just wanting to lock them in a room together and forcing them to work their issues out.
What makes a book like this truly work, what makes the angst bearable after a fashion, is that, from the perspectives of the two protagonists, their reasons for choosing the path they're on need to work. Their thoughts and motives, based within their understanding need to be not just tangible to the reader, but compelling such that even while the reader, with the vantage of perspective is silently crying "You fool! You fool!", at the very same moment they're commiserating with the character, "Were I in your shoes, I'd have done the same", and Staci manages this duality with precision and grace.
While this first person, dual point of view masterpiece is set in the same universe as Staci's Bad Habits series and it's related spin-offs, it very much stands on it's own as a standalone novel, and I simply couldn't help falling in love with it.
In my not so humble opinion, this is the best characterization, the best development, the best crafting of plot and prose. In short, the best writing that Staci has produced to date and I can't but help recommend it to anyone, whether they've read any of her other works or not, so long as they have an ample supply of tissues, or don't mind soaking their sleeves.
All the stars.
For once in my life when reading a romance novel, it’s not the female I’m relating to. Wade’s story is one that hits really close to home, and his strength embodies everything that a man like him has been through. For a man who has been dealt some of the worst cards, his perseverance to move forward is outstanding. Even though he does it for all the wrong reasons, and never the right way, you can’t help but understand why Wade makes the decisions that he does. But even though it is always Wade’s actions that move this story forward, it isn’t really Wade’s story, no. It’s Elliot’s, and that symmetry is beyond poetic. It’s Austenesque.
Elliot. Goodness. Elliot is a character who I bow down to. She is selfless in every way possible, even when it turns her life upside down. You can feel all of her pain, love, and anguish, BUT you also get to read it. Elliot’s passion for poetry is something that brings this book to the next level. Each poem is chosen specifically with what is happening, and it just seems to open all the wounds over and over again, but in the best way possible.
I’m going to be super honest here. This is Hart’s best novel by far. But not just that; this is hands down one of the best novels I have ever had the pleasure to read. Austen would be proud. I was DESTROYED by this book. My heart was shattered into a million pieces, and then put back together with forgiveness, acceptance, and love. You will be put on this rollercoaster of emotions, but you will love every single second of pain and love that you will feel, because I can guarantee that even though there is pain, there is love. Some much love.