Charlotte Napier has much to learn about herself, her faith, and her marriage. She flees to Portugal, desperately looking for comfort after the death of her son and, she thinks, her marriage. There she finds solace in the letters of a 17th century nun who struggled with temptation and sin. AAs Charlotte achieves a clearer focus on her own pain, she gains a powerful sense of the rigorous and demanding nature of real love.
Madeleine L’Engle has been my favorite author since grade school when I read “The Time Quartet”, then I found other children’s books of hers and felt kinship with the characters, the far-flung places Madeleine created, the fun storylines and so on. My favorite book of hers is ‘The Severed Wasp”, a continuation of one of the children’s books, the adults all grown up in a new and interesting storyline, one I could identify with on some level.
I came across “The Love Letters” at a used bookstore on their dollar ‘tree’ display in the basement. I’ve read some of her other adult books, “A Live Coal in the Sea” and “Certain Women” and loved them. I snatched up this book and was not disappointed! That it was based on real live letters from a Portuguese Nun from the 17th century was certainly intriguing and certainly not disappointing!
The story intertwines a modern day Charlotte who’s husband had cheated on her, causing her to question her marriage vows and her place in life. She find the agonizing, beautiful centuries old letters of a Nun having her own ‘crisis of faith’, literally, as she describes her love of a soldier, questioning her vows of her order.
Madeleine L’Engle beautifully describes the hurt, the hunger of a lost love, the feelings of desperation and so on. I do question the ending of the novel but that does not take away from the descriptions of the convent, the countryside, the travels and so on.
I would give two enthusiastic thumbs-up and a 5-star rating!