‘Lost letters have only one hope for survival. If they are caught between two worlds, with an unclear destination and no address of sender, the lucky ones are redirected to the Dead Letters Depot in East London for a final chance of redemption…..’
[ About the Book ]
Inside East London’s Dead Letters Depot, William Woolf unites lost mail with its intended recipient. White mice, a miniature grandfather clock and a full suit of armour are among the more unusual items lost then found thanks to William’s detective work.
But when he discovers a series of letters addressed only to ‘My Great Love’, everything changes. Written by Winter to a soulmate she hasn’t yet met, her heartfelt words stir William in ways he has long forgotten. Could they be destined for him? But what about his troubled marriage?
William must follow the clues in Winter’s letters to solve the mystery of his own heart.
[ My Review ]
What an enchanting tale!!
The Lost Letters of William Woolf is the captivating debut novel from Irish writer Helen Cullen. Just published in paperback on 2nd May with Penguin (originally published in 2018 with Michael Joseph), it is a pleasure to have been invited on the blog tour today to share my thoughts with you all.
William Woolf has a job that may appear rather dull to many but not to William. A frustrated writer, William now spends his days as lost as the letters he handles. A post office employee, William’s job is to discover the destination of a letter or parcel that, for whatever reason, is missing the address label. Spending his days in the Dead Letter’s Depot, William treasures the moment when he discovers a small clue that will eventually lead him to the intended receiver of the letter. If the item deems worthy, William dons his post office uniform and personally delivers it himself. There is a certain feeling of accomplishment for William when he sees the emotions crossing the faces of these people, as they open up an unexpected memory or something of great personal, and in some cases financial, value.
William is married to Clare, two college sweethearts who once had similar ideologies and dreams. Clare was a free spirit when William first met her. She was in and out of many relationships but proper happiness was something that always evaded her, until she met William.
‘The difference between intensity and intimacy. It was an epiphany for her; unconditional love that was so far removed from that of her childhood home or the toxic men she was consistently drawn to throughout college and her first year at university. She hadn’t understood that you could find creativity, passion and adventure living inside a dependable, trustworthy man. It was an irresistible combination, with which William seduced her…’
William has always felt she was a little out of his league and as the years pass the cracks appear in their relationship. Clare now has a very successful career and, initially, was very supportive of William working in the post office. It was to be a temporary situation, while his career as a writer was being established. But now, Clare is angry and frustrated. She is at a point in her life where she is financially sound and is looking for more. Yet William’s career and aspirations, in Clare’s eyes, have stagnated, as has their life and their marriage. Clare is not happy and her resentment toward William is impacting their relationship and their daily living.
William makes a discovery at work one day of a letter that doesn’t appear to have any specific destination, yet is addressed to ‘My Great Love’. It is a love letter, written by a woman who calls herself Winter. It is soon to be the first of many similar letters that land on William’s desk, all by the same hand. As William reads the heartfelt words and the love emanating off the pages from this mystery woman, he starts to look closer at his own life and his fragmenting relationship with Clare. Is their’s a marriage worth saving? Can they reignite the passion, the love of those early days?
The Lost Letters of William Woolf is a beautifully constructed tale of a very special love. Helen Cullen has written a poignant and elegant story, capturing something very rare, something truly unique. William’s character is stunningly portrayed as he struggles to rediscover himself and to make sense of his marriage to Clare. This is a book that will make people stop and think of their own personal relationships with family and friends. Have we lost the ability to communicate openly and honestly? Can we, as a society, solve this dilemma that many now are conflicted by? Helen Cullen uses letter-writing as a very important and central element in this novel. Is it a dying art? Should we just sit back and let this powerful method of communication disappear? I will leave the final words to Helen Cullen…..
‘In this digital world that we live in, we can communicate with more immediacy and efficiency than ever before, yet so many of us are more isolated than ever before. Technology can give us all a false sense of connection that really doesn’t permeate to the heart of who we are or eradicate loneliness.’ – Helen Cullen
[ Bio ]
Helen Cullen is an Irish writer living in London.
She worked at RTE (Ireland’s national broadcaster) for seven years before moving to London in 2010.
Her debut novel, ‘The Lost Letters of William Woolf’ was published by Penguin in July 2018 in the UK, Ireland, Australia and South Africa. It will be published in America by Harper Collins in June 2019 and has sold in translation to numerous foreign markets including Italy, Germany, Russia, Greece and Israel where it hit the bestseller charts in August. The TV option for the book has also been acquired by Mainstreet Pictures.
Helen was nominated as Best Newcomer in the An Post Irish Book Awards 2018.
Helen is now writing full-time and working on her second novel. She is also a contributor to the Irish Times newspaper and Sunday Times Magazine.
Website – https://helencullen.ie/
Twitter – @wordsofhelen