Written by Katie Fforde.
Enthusiastic bookshop's worker, Laura Horsley had came to an dead end in her relationship with the book store she worked at. The bookshop was announced close as Henry, the owner thought that there was no more profit collected from the business and Henry himself is an old man who needed rest in his 70. Laura made so many memories from working at the bookshop. She organised literary events where she invited authors to talk about their books while quoting from their books, made a book group where a group of people talked about the selected book and discussed about it. Moreover she will called up loyal customers if any ordered books that she taught was their cup of tea and told them that there was new book in store. She worked in a team with Grant, his gay friend who was now more that just a talking friend and also Henry where she learnt a lot from. She loves books and read them all in whatever situation. While working in the bookshop, she had benefits of reading new ordered books before they selling them ( and without paying them) and ordered books that she taught suited their customers. Henry's happy with how Laura worked and he didn't really care about it. By closing down of the bookshop, Laura ended up jobless and payless as she needed money for house rent. Her parents didn't like how she treated her life and they taught working in bookshop was a waste of money and time and her degree, which she thought otherwise.
In her last event for the bookshop, she met an author' agent (that's what I called them cause Katie only stated agent in her story so I didn't know the real phrase for the job haha) and because it was the end of her working at the bookshop, she acted out of character. She told the agent, Eleanora how she truly felt and what she taught about literature. Laura read tons of books, modern fiction particularly. She loved romantic genre and her best books were Dermont Flynn's books. One of his book, she learnt in her degree years. She loved the books so much she even fantasized herself in relationship with Dermont (typical fangirl). She talked a lot with Eleanora and the agent thought she was the best for whatever thing that she had in mind. She asked Laura to come to her house and listen to a discussion about literary festival. For the first time she taught such invitation was too big for her and she didn't think she can make it. But after Grant and Henry pushed her and in fact there was nothing to lose actually, so she went to the discussion. The meeting was so intense she wanted just to crawl under the table, sit there and waited for the meeting to end until someone talked about the literary festival where sparked her to speak up. Sarah talked about inviting famous authors to come and named several which bring attention to the chairman to asked who were them. Laura responded automatically and she drawn everyone attention to her. Fecked (Irish style). That what she said, silently, in her mind.
That was the beginning of the episode of Laura organising an event called Somerby Festival during winter in Somerby, UK. She had been expected to invite such infamous-doesn't-leave-his-home-at-all-whatever, Dermont Flynn. YES! Her most favourite author where she fancied him so much form her young age (LOL). Dermont lives in Ireland and it took her 1 hour and 15 mins (to be exact from what I googled) from London to Ireland. She made 3 flights to west coast Ireland and stayed at the village named Ballyfitzpatrick (difficult word -,-) with Monica, new girlfriend from the Somerby Festival team. The climax of this story was about how Dermont, the infamous author fell in love with Laura, a fangirl from London.
Although the book titled Love Letters, there was none love letter exchanged between Laura and Dermont. It were always phone and emails. Nothing much (just lovemaking in between). How Laura felt when her dream guy was in front of her, talked to her, had a deeper conversation, exchanged secrets, worried and take care about him made Dermont such an irresistible guy for her. You know how it feels when we are in love, like having inconsistent feelings, once you are so in love and in other time you just want to kick your partner and that was what Laura felt. But because Dermont never confess his feeling, she taught she was in unrequited love relationship. It hurt her, she blamed herself, she cried alone, she raged without telling him why, she turned to ice cold lady suddenly, she missed him and you know the others. Most of the time, this story only told about Laura's side and not really Dermont where at the end of the day he finally confessed. While Laura taught Dermont had another girl and he just used her for lust as Dermont nickname is Women Killer, instead Laura cured one of author most feared disease, author's block. Where author cannot think of good piece to write anymore. Laura ran away from Dermont, not returning calls, demanded her friends stayed quiet about her whereabouts and that what made Dermont's life hard like a rock.
He searched her everywhere for the past few months until he ended up in front of her family house, late at night, panting as he was marathon to reach her house. She confused and her parents feeling angry and all of them needed clear explanation of the situation. He told her everything about his pursuit of happiness, finding her. At last they were blessed by Laura's parent and they moved to settle in Ireland.
The few scenes that I loved are :
1. The journey to find Monica so-called long distance boyfriend, Seamus.
Laura and Monica cycled about 3 miles to the another village which has difficult name too and it was all the way climbed up a hill. How Katie described the place reminded me with New Zealand. The scenery was picturesque. I can imagined the hill they climbed, Laura's panting, Monica's encouragement, Laura lied down on the ground looked up to the sky and tried to catch her breath, the girls talk, the mountains, the small calm village atmosphere, the clean air they breathed, I love it so much. I remembered the time I spent with my 3 years roommate gossiping while walking, silenced trekking, and satisfied smile when we reached the top or when we finally on the base again. The satisfying feeling of experiencing nature and talking to a friend. How Laura joked about Monica meeting Seamus, it was a happy imagination.
2. The unrequited feeling Laura had towards Dermont.
There were lots of Laura's monologue about her feelings. She cried alone, she overthinking how Dermont felt about her. I feel connected as I also had a tons of monologue with my unrequited love relationship. 5 years is a loooong time and I experienced a lot. Catching my breath when I saw him, when I talked him. You know my mind went blank. I said some stewwwpid shit when I shouldn't. Forgive me dear crush, I was nervous like I was gonna die when I saw you. LOL *exaggerated a bit but yeah that was how I felt.
3. Laura's satisfaction when the festival ended successfully.
She didn't think that she can do whatever thing that she did while organising the festival. She talked in front of school children advertising essay competition, dealt with lots and lots of agents and publishing company also finding her dream guy. Dealing with short coming problems because the author still did not confirm their attendance because of other unconfirmed matters. The festival was packed with activities even Laura didn't have time to think of questions for interview session, with Dermont Flynn. She was too busy, entertained the authors, transported them from one event to another. Overall, she was happy. She happy that she gained new experience and broke her shell. Laura's story made me rethink my future. I am a lot like her, low self-esteem, shy, and didn't thing I can do more than what I have done. Maybe I can challenge myself and be like Laura, be barave to do something out of norm.
Love Letters doesn't talk only about romance and love, but I learnt about courage, dealing with crazy situation, and making new friends. I enjoyed the journey of going back and forth from Somerby, London to West Coast Ireland. And it was only I hour 15 mins journey so no motion sickness for me :)
P/S: Thank You kak Susan for giving me this book, I enjoyed it so much.