Sincerely Yours is a novella collection of four short stories in which four young women find their lives changed after receiving a letter signed with the valediction, “sincerely yours.” This common theme ties the four stories together nicely, despite the very different time periods and plots. The new paths of each woman entail exciting adventures among rivers, drawing rooms, inns, and hospitals and will perhaps even lead to everlasting love.
Moonlight Promise by Laurie Alice Eakes
Camilla Renfrew responds to a letter from a friend who offers protection after a false accusation leaves her running from the law. She finds herself drawn to the mysterious captain of a steamboat bound for her destination. The setting of the first story is interesting and the dangers involved for both characters make the plot exciting. However, the flow of this novella is a little choppy and forced, pushing the characters toward each other in an awkward fashion. Although not uncommon for a novella, the ending was a bit too neat and unrealistic.
Lessons in Love by Ann Shorey
Marigold Montgomery Bentley uses her initials when writing articles for a popular magazine, causing everyone to assume she is a man. However, when the editor writes her a letter asking to meet, M. M. Bentley finds herself desperately trying to continue the rouse to save her writing career. This is the most well-written and enjoyable of the four novellas. The characters are likable and the plot is entertaining even as it gives its readers a glimpse into women’s roles in the late nineteenth century. As is the case with most novellas, the romance is quick and tidy, but the inward strength of the characters and their complimentary life goals makes their love believable and sweet.
One Little Word by Amanda Cabot
Lorraine Caldwell receives a letter from her brother for the first time in several years and the note of pleading in his tone causes her to join him at the remote and beautiful Lilac Inn. Instead of spending a short time with her brother as intended, Lorraine instead discovers she is attracted to the mystifying carousel carver and thus extends her stay as she discerns what matters most in life. This particular novella is fascinating as it details the unique process of creating a carousel. The descriptions allow the reader to visualize the beautiful colors and hard work involved in the creation of the carousel. The love between the characters develops quickly and the ending is rather unrealistic in its neatness, but the short story is enjoyable.
A Saving Grace by Jane Kirkpatrick
Grace Hathaway travels to save her friend from a remote and mysterious hospital after the woman’s young daughter sends a letter begging Grace for help. Upon her arrival, Grace discovers the hospital promises rapid healing but instead only serves to harm the patients; she thus seeks the help of a doctor who has a secret of his own. Although this novella at first seems mysterious and exciting, it quickly becomes almost creepy as Grace discovers the horrible practices used to “cure” the patients. The plot is not enjoyable and the horrifying conditions and physiological mind games of the hospital do not create a pleasant scene for romance. This short story could stand alone as the tone was so different from the lighthearted and sweet storylines of the first three novellas. (This author is offering a giveaway! See the details here: http://janeswordsofencouragement.blogspot.com/)
I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.