What a BIG SMILE of a book!
That may be a grammatically incorrect statement but it is the best way to describe how reading the book made me feel.
I read this quite short book, composed entirely of an exchange of letters, in 24 hours. I began it before bedtime (and turned off my reading lamp rather later than usual) and completed it as soon as I got home from work the next day.
I think I smiled the whole time.
The correspondence begins shortly after the end of World War Two and is between the actual author, who presents herself as a poor American screenwriter and author, living alone in New York and an Antiquarian bookseller in Charing Cross Road, London. The touching, engaging and often humorous correspondence spans 20 years.
I don’t want to give too many details in case you haven’t read the book ( I’m sure many have somehow I missed it!) as it’s better to discover the characters’ lives as you read, but I also found it interesting to be reminded of an era when people traveled less and there was no Internet. Helen has no idea how to “translate” pounds into dollars and sends actual cash in envelopes (we actually used to do that for years, too!!!). More than that, it was a revelation to her how difficult times were for the British in the years right after the war ended!
Sometimes, “sharing” (via a book) a friendship between people from different countries who have never met, is just what a person needs to read and be reminded of.
Particularly so when one takes into account the fact that I learned of this book AND was lent a copy by a friendly colleague whom I lent the book “Address Unknown”, which is another book composed of letters.
It’s always good to talk to people about books!