Author: Nicolas Barreau
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
Book Description: For fans of Nina George, Elena Ferrante, and Valentina Cebeni, a charming, uplifting novel about a man who sets out to fulfil his dead wife’s last wish.
Julien Azouly, the famous French writer of beautiful romance novels, has stopped believing in love. When his beloved wife, Hélène, dies at the age of thirty-three, leaving him alone to raise their young son, Arthur, he is so devastated that he loses faith in the happier side of life—and along with that his ability to write.
But Hélène was clever. Before her death, she made her husband promise to write her thirty-three letters, one for each year of her life. Six months after the funeral, Julien finds himself standing in the most famous cemetery in Paris, the painful first letter in his hand. Little does he know that something strange—and wonderful—is about to happen.
An ode to love, Paris, and joie de vivre, Love Letters from Montmartrebrings the reader down narrow streets, past the cozy red bistro on Rue Gabrielle, and all the way to Montmartre cemetery with its beautiful stone angels, where we will discover the truth we all hope to find: that love is real, that miracles can happen and that—most of all—it’s never too late to rediscover your dreams. Empathetic and wise, this is the deeply profound yet very human story of a man who finds love just when he thinks all is lost.
Rating: 4 stars
Review: I personally picked this book up as a whim, and I am absolutely ecstatic that I did. This was just such a lovely story about a man learning how to move on after the death of his wife who he adored and raise their very young son.
In the opening, Hélène is dying of cancer. She asks her husband Julien, who is a famous author, to write her 33 letters after she dies for each year of her life. While this story talks of her death, you will not be spending much time in this space. We quickly move to the aftermath of a man who is completely lost without the woman he so loves.
Julien very much struggles, to write these letters, but boy when he does they are just so real. Throughout the very hard time, you see this very tender relationship with his four year old son, who he loves and just wants to do right by him.
A big part of this story is the Montmartre Cemetery where Julien spends so much of his time, to talk to wife, contemplate relationships. You will also meet a very supportive cast, that shows Julien there is a light at the end of this very dark tunnel.
This was a very beautiful story and it is virtually an ode to a woman he will love for the rest of his life. The prose is sparse at times, but so good. Take time to read the letters in the pages, they can be quite long, but are so important in the telling of this story. Each one is a bigger discovery into Julien’s self.
Thank you Edelweiss and Arcade for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.