Dear Rosie Hughes by Melanie Hudson
Publishing Date: 1st February 2019
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 226
Genre: Women’s Fiction
A long lost friendship reconnected in letters, laughs and unforgettable life lessons…
Jojo Moyes meets The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in this powerfully moving novel!
The best friendships are worth fighting for…
It’s been fifteen years since Aggie’s friendship with Rosie Hughes ended abruptly. But now she’s heard from the village rumour mill that Rosie is off to war, she knows her best friend needs her more than ever – despite what’s happened between them in the past.
As Rosie faces a desert full of danger and Aggie falls further from the path to love she’ so wants, the two friends write each other letters.
The comfort in their shared words is an anchor to the life they knew before…and the only constant in a world as increasingly unpredictable as the wind.
Rosie and Aggie used to be best friends but then fell out of touch after something happened before they went to university. Fast forward 15 years and Rosie signs up to go to the Persian Gulf as a meteorologist and Aggie is a ghost author, suffering from a writer’s block. The two women start to write to each other and in a series of letters and emails we can see the strength of their friendship, as they explore their dreams, hopes and regrets.
I absolutely adored the way the book was written. The letters were sometimes able to tell us more than a conversation, the characters opened much more on the pages than face to face and it made the reading so captivating and interesting. The two main characters were totally different but it was easy to see why they used to be best friends, and also why they lost touch. Rosie’s relationship with her parents was beautiful and I loved their letters to each other, and how they tried to protect the other one. We see Rosie, after all the drama in her life, adapting to her new life in the desert, watching the results of war and the horrors of it. Aggie is the larger than life in this friendship, has brilliant sense of humour and doesn’t treat herself too seriously and is not afraid to laugh at herself. Her dating adventures were hilarious. But there was also a hidden depth to her, the other side – the vulnerable one. She was colourful and there was nothing stopping her, while Rosie wanted just to blend in – but it doesn’t mean that she wasn’t a great character, because she was. Learning about her life, of her losses, of everything that happened to her was heart – breaking. There were of course other lovely characters – Gethyn, Rosie’s parents, Aggies’s new friends at the cafe – even though they were not completely introduced to us, I still had a feeling that I know them, that they are simply good people. They all added tons of depth and humour to the story.
The letters between the characters were mostly short but they contained all the information that we needed, and the informal way of them made the book so easy to read and – actually – really chatty. You don’t always need all the details, I liked that there was room for imagination left to us. The author writes in such a way that you can identify with all the feelings and emotions the characters experience. You feel pain, fear, hope and joy – it is so perfectly captured.
So now. My problem. I loved this book, it was beautiful. Until almost the end. But at the end the author has made a decision that I’ve simply couldn’t agree with – it was a “no” from me. If I were a “normal” reader, and not a reviewer, who also appreciates thousands of other details that made me fell in love with this book, I probably wouldn’t give the book the 4 stars – it would be much, much less, simply because I can’t agree with the decision. I know it wasn’t my decision but still, it crushed me. It left me in pieces. For me, it wasn’t necessary. I appreciate it but don’t understand it. Now I’m going to shut up. But let me repeat that it was a beautiful, poignant, moving story about love, friendship and family, about new beginnings and second chances. About the value of friendship, about making the most of every day. It was charming and emotional, full of different kinds of feelings and emotions and I adored it. Highly recommended!