This might seem a bit of a departure for me, but The Love Letter is a novel I really enjoyed earlier this year, and now as I write the review I googled it to remind myself of some of the finer points.
In doing so, I discovered the story behind The Love Letter – originally published as Seeing Double back in 2000 it seems the publisher at the time lost faith in the book and pulled all of the publicity and marketing for it, leading to disappointing sales for the author.
The reason for it? Riley has created a fictional version of the Royal Family, in which a journalist stumbles upon a secret that could tear the monarchy apart.
It all begins when our journalist – Joanna Haslam – is forced to cover the funeral of a famous actor. Tucked in at the back of the church she befriends an old lady who has snuck into the ceremony.
From this moment on Joanna is on a path that will take her into a dangerous world where some parts of the establishment will do anything to keep the secret from coming out.
This book wasn’t what I expected it to be at all when I picked it up. I’d never read a Lucinda Riley novel before, but I had pigeon-holed her in my head into writing sentimental love stories and family sagas.
That’s a fairly reasonable judgement to make, even the publishers themselves make it – if you take a look at the category on Amazon, it places it in both historical romance and sagas. But this book is much more than that.
I found it much more like a thriller with one of those endings that left you flicking through the pages breathless as you barrel towards the ending. One of the best books I’ve read this year, and was good enough to make me consider picking up more by Riley.
The Love Letter is available now from Pan