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domenica, maggio 07, 2017

The Letter by Kathryn Hughes

It was a letter.
Just a letter.
An old, old apparently innocent letter, in that lazy day of 1973 because it was written in 1939 and never posted.
Who knows why?

Tina discovered it casually in an old second-hand coat in the charity shop located in Manchester, where she works with enthusiasm.
Her life appeared brilliant at first.
She was intelligent and she could have found something better but then she met her Rick, she fell in love for him and she married him discovering the first night of their wedding his brutal side against her.

Since there it was hell. Four years of hell. Praying that his brutality would end, believing for better, but when a man is violent he won't never change.

Chrissie and Billy are the other protagonists of this story.
The protagonists of the letter.

They lived in the city, they met up in a party, and they were very young in 1939, the other section of the story, although Chrissie spent some time with Clark that evening a friend of Billy much more unlucky with girls.
But they felt something that evening when they said to each other: "Hi."
And they understood.
They understood that their destiny was connected.
They discovered that they were in love.
But this girl, daughter of a very severe doctor met a heavy ostracism from his father and when the doctor discovered she was pregnant he sent her without compliments to Ireland, where lived the sister of her mother.

Once an unwanted pregnancy in particular in good families was a big problem and girls were put in convents where they would have had their babies and then they would have signed some papers where they would have declared that they didn't want to have anything to do anymore with the baby, and the baby would have been adopted by a couple paying a large amount of money to the sisters.
Not only: in general these girls remained as Chrissie did for three years in the structure for working, and for re-paying the sisters for the disturb. At the same time the sisters would have remembered them that they were heavy sinners, people unwanted by a good society. All the time.

Description of Ireland, so rural and ancestral is beautiful and terrible and gives the sense of the sacrifice and torment of this girl.

William, third part of the story, has been grown up by his American parents. He is beautiful very satisfied of his life but he knows that his original family is from Ireland and he thinks that it's arrived the moment to close the circle.
He knows that he was once adopted because he was three years old when it happened and now, adult, remembering something of that three years spent somewhere in the Emerald Island wants to try to discover...He wants to try to discover the name of his mother.
He wants to ask her why she abandoned him.

Of course remembering who grew him up gratefully but trying to understand why more than 30 years ago he was abandoned, rejected by his original mother.

Once arrived in Ireland he meet the ostracism of nuns but he receives a lot of help and thanks to these suggestions he goes to Manchester, where for a casualty meet Tina. Tina was searching for the final answer...

Telling to you that this book is just moving would be reductive. It's much more.

The letter written by Billy and not given to Chrissie changed the entire destiny of a family but it will have also the power to change the vision of life in the various protagonists of the story in good and in bad.
Not only: the destiny of Chrissie, maybe could have been less drastic, more sweet if she would have known a lot of things. If she would have known that she wasn't forgotten by her mom, by Billy.
If manipulative people wouldn't have played a bad role on her life, this girl would have lived a different existence.

Through these characters of the past it will be possible for the protagonists of the story in search of answers to understand their present and their future like also as a hard heart can cause a lot of mess in a lot of existences.

The Letter by Kathryn Hughes is readable in a short time but it contains a myriad of important and serious topics. Rejection, loss, violence, physical and psychological, refusal of a new life, hypocrisy, falsity, cruelty, but also help, generosity, new beginnings. 
What it is amazing in this book is this light construction of the plot wanted and created by the author. She was able to keep the reader happy and cheerful all the time although what read  sometimes very sad and unfair. Kathryn Hughes is in grade to give lessons of life with real human strong example. It is important to be as good as possible, to be opened, to give future because changing in worse the life of a person can happen in a second, but then re-build an existence can take a long time and sometimes it's impossible.

There is no compassion for the creator of all this mess.
Scrooge if compared at the dad of Chrissie was a very good lamb and a good Christ also in the darkest moments of his existence. Trust me!
At the end he didn't destroy the life of anyone as the dad of Chrissie, egoistically and because of his social status, reputation and dark heart did.

Highly recommended.

I read the italian copy of this book bought through my book club: Club per Voi.

Anna Maria Polidori

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