The Hidden Letters – Lorna Cook

Cordelia has a privileged life and she knows no different living on her families estate in Cornwall. The house is grand, the gardens are grand and even Cordelia is grand.

But upon meeting Isaac everything changes.

Isaac whilst having an education that Cordelia’s brothers have had, he is not in the same social circles and has found work as a landscape architect to develop the gardens. His passion for gardening and nature is paramount espically as the dark clouds of war are gathering in Europe.

Cordelia finds a passion for gardening, nurturing and Isaac. The feelings are reciprocated but the knowledge Isaac is trying to impart is vital to the keep the gardens growing after war is declared. From afar Isaac continues to share his knowledge so he can remain in contact with Cordelia,.

But the letters stop, nothing more comes from the front. Cordelia now must deal with what she doesn’t know and what she fears from letters from her own brother. That Isaac has gone.

From the wilds of Cornwall, to the landscape of the Lake District and through the East coast of Britain, this books takes us as we follow how Cordelia copes with her love and loss. More is to come and she needs strength and resilience to be able to deal with the path in front of her.

Little does she know that the first initial meeting with Isaac is going to swim back into focus and she has a choice to make.

This novel, initially keeps war in the background, something happening far away and for what relevance. However it abruptly sweeps everyone on Cordelia’s families estate and neighbouring village into the mud bath of the trenches and you learn more about the Pal’s battalions, which wiped out generations of families and left gaping holes in villages.

The letters between Cordelia and all her correspondents were heartfelt and moving as they were interesting and informative and it felt at time I was reading real letters from the front and not a fictionalised account. The books moves at a pace that you don’t realise and there are times where I was weeping with sadness and then at joy as Cordelia’s life changes so much. There were some surprises on the way which added to the depth of the overall plot.

This book is perfect for fans of historical fiction and was a pleasure to read and I felt quite bereft when I had finished the final page.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

The Hidden Letters is out now.

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