YOURS TRULY, THOMAS by RACHEL FORDHAM
*I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review.*
Yours Truly, Thomas is a historical romance novel set in the late 1800s. It centers on a young woman named Penny who is an employee of the Dead Letter Office. Penny, a self-proclaimed romantic, has a tendency to get too emotionally connected to the dead letters she comes across in her work. One such letter is penned by a man named Thomas. He writes to a woman he clearly cares deeply for, yet his letters are not successfully delivered to her. As Penny sets off to deliver the letter to the woman it was written for, she unexpectedly finds herself on a journey to Azure Springs. It is in this small town where Penny finds answers for her uncertain future, as well as love.
This book is outside the normal genres that I read, so my frame of reference is fairly limited! I thought the book started out very strong - I loved the concept of the main character working at a dead letter office. I was instantly drawn into this storyline. I absolutely LOVED Penny's friend Dinah. She was a fun character and provided a nice balance to Penny for the few oddballs like myself who aren't romantics. :D I identified so much with her and wish we could have seen more of her in the novel (or maybe she could be the star in another book?). Margaret, with her little wise tidbits (and meddling!), was another one of my favorites. I also really enjoyed the setting of Azure Springs.
Fordham has a very nice writing style. She uses good imagery and everything has a nice flow instead of feeling forced or choppy. It gives her book a nice cozy feel, like sitting down with an old friend. My one criticism is that I felt that there was room for more development in the story, particularly in the last half. A certain part of the ending in particular - I won't give any spoilers - seemed rushed to me and needed a bit more fleshing-out.
But honestly - this book is worth reading if only for this dialogue right here:
"That tree survived a fire that devoured all its neighbors. It survived, and if you look at the base of it you'll see saplings. Whether of not it has scars, it's doing something. If you're that tree, then there's a reason that you're here. That tree fought for its life. Fight for yours." Guys, I don't even know how to begin to tell you how much I needed to hear that. Because I am that tree - scorched and with scars. This passage reminds us to keep fighting, even when we feel like giving up, and that we - just like the tree - can still create something beautiful. This was one of many messages of hope woven through the novel, but it was definitely my favorite.