Dude. Aussie authors are awesome. I’ve been a fan of Cath Crowley when I read Graffiti Moon many moons ago. Ever since then, I’ve waited upon bated breath for each of her brilliant books. Sadly, I’ve only ever read one other book of hers (A Little Wanting Song) so I was freaking excited to learn that Words in Deep Blue was being released in North America as well. Man, she’s awesome. I’m convinced that she drinks in the same fountain of brilliance as my beloved Melina Marchetta. Sigh.
As a book lover, I can only recall one instance when I didn’t enjoy a book set in a bookstore. 99% of the time, romances that start and were cultivated in this consecrated ground is a huge draw. I suppose it’s like being in familiar space, mingling with the familiar crowds. But ultimately, it’s the characters prowling the aisles that draw us in. The deep thinkers, the romantics, and the lover of words make for an interesting cast.
Well, there wasn’t a shortage of such characters in Words in Deep Blue. Henry, for example, is a combination of a romantic (albeit, a little blind) and a lover of the written word. His family owns the bookstore that just so happens to have The Letter Library; a special shelf of books containing personal notes left by people looking to connect, reconnect or simply write letters to the void. Horrifyingly enough, the notes are written within the pages of the books.
One of these books contained a letter left for Henry by Rachel. A girl who has loved Henry from afar. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. Because she moved away soon after she realized Henry either never got the message or ignored her completely. Fast forward to a few years and Rachel was not the same person. Dealing with the grief of losing her brother and losing track of what’s left of her family. In the meantime, Henry was also going through a tumult of changes in his life. His girlfriend unexpectedly broke up with him and his parents just announced that they’re selling the bookstore.
The thing about these Australian authors is that they’re able to tap into the emotions that would make their stories even more poignant, you know? I can’t figure out what it is, but for some reason, I’m always left raw by the time I flip to the last page. Regardless of whether or not it had an HEA. The same goes for this book. I vacillated between sadness, happiness, anger, and deep annoyance throughout the entire process.
It is, by all sense of the word, a book about grief and how to deal. In Rachel’s case, she simply stopped living the same could be said of her mother. It’s like they forgot how to since the death of her brother. In Henry’s case, it’s the death of relationships. His and his parents. It took me a bit to forgive Henry for being so hung up on his ex when his ex clearly didn’t give a shit but Rachel’s reintroduction in his life slowly helped him somehow.
There are bits of poignant stories in the background as well. Through The Letter Library, we are introduced to people and their stories of heartbreaks, lost loves, and second chances. Truly, Cath Crowley belongs in the annals of prolific Aussie writers that crosses borders and oceans. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time and I will continue to look forward to her books in years to come.