Friday, 14 February 2014

Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase - Louise Walters

Just an old letter found in a suitcase....and that letter falls into the hands of the writer's grandaughter - she only knows this because they have the same (rare) name, and that can't be a co-incidence - even though the label on the old suitcase her father gives her to store things in says Mrs Sinclair. And certainly, the suitcase was her grandmother's.

The paragraphs do jump back and forward in time: the current time describes Roberta, the finder of the letter, who works in a second-hand bookshop and loves to collect the letters, notes, photographs and ephemoria left behind in those books and, in 1940/41, Dorothea who is in love with a Polish WW2 pilot despite being married. Yes, in case you didn't know, many Polish pilots helped the RAF out in WW2.

This is one of those novels that was deceptively easy to read. A little mystery because of a found letter is the story in a nutshell, but there is so much more to it than that. I found myself going back several times to re-read that found letter, which is what starts the book off. The letter is full of love and also bitterness and it offers a clue to something the reader will not know of until around two thirds of the way through. The pain of love, the ache of stillborn children, the way that love could change your life if you let it may lead one to think this is a light and frothy read - but it is not. It will stay with me for a long time - I loved it.