The Last Letter From Juliet by Melanie Hudson

Coddiwompling

The Last Letter From Juliet by Melanie Hudson is a beautiful historical and contemporary novel that celebrates the role of the Air Transport Auxiliary during World War II.

The novel is set in present day and the war years beginning with 1938, in the form of the story of a hundred year old Juliet. The reader is enthralled with her bravery and love as we become enchanted with her story.

Flying was still in its relative infancy but Juliet had become passionate about it as her parents were fliers. Her enthusiasm is catching. The ATA flew planes including spitfires to where they needed to be. They did not engage in combat but the women were very brave as they were targets for the German Luftwaffe.

Grief hurts. “Grief, it’s like the sand you get stuck between your toes, you can never brush it all off in one go.” Grief overwhelms, consumes and stops us in our tracks. We are immobilised and need to learn to live again. Inspiration for a character comes in the form of a plucky old lady. Loss in times of war had to be coped with immediately as the war effort must go on.

When people are old, we sometimes forget that they were once young and they lived and loved and lost. “Stop seeing me as an old lady and see me as I really am.”

The novel is about love. There are some great loves within the story. “Love doesn’t have to last a lifetime, to last a lifetime.” There are loves that will not die. There are loves that mean someone somewhere is waiting for their love. These loves reach beyond the book to envelope the reader.

Much of the novel is set in Angels Cove. The name is very appropriate as we meet angels along the way.

The Last Letter From Juliet is a novel that I never wanted to end. I ‘lived’ the action and now I mourn the ending. I loved the characters who felt like dear friends to me. The novel is a work of great beauty and great love. I adored it.

JULIA WILSON

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