A Thousand Letters
Author: Staci Hart
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 9, 2017
Sometimes your life is split by a single decision.
I’ve spent every day of the last seven years regretting mine: he left, and I didn’t follow. A thousand letters went unanswered, my words like petals in the wind, spinning away into nothing, taking me with them.
But now he’s back.
I barely recognize the man he’s become, but I can still see a glimmer of the boy who asked me to be his forever, the boy I walked away from when I was young and afraid.
Maybe if he’d come home under better circumstances, he could speak to me without anger in his voice. Maybe if I’d said yes all those years ago, he’d look at me without the weight of rejection in his eyes. Maybe if things were different, we would have had a chance.
One regretted decision sent him away. One painful journey bought him back to me. I only wish I could keep him.
*A contemporary romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion*
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We all have those books that complete gut us, that leave us lying broken in a pile of tears as we live the words an author has so excellently put to paper. I seek these books out from time to time, my mood just right for the angst, the drama, the heart wrenching pain. I wasn't in that sort of mood when I picked up A Thousand Letters, I just know I read ANYTHING Staci Hart writes out of lust for her descriptive prose and incredibly story telling abilities. This book sucked me in and when the tears started just 30% of the way in, I was already too far gone, a lost cause, there was no escaping the painful story of Elliot and Wade, of their romance that needed so much more than just a second chance.
"Elliot. Her name in my mind was a curse I couldn't escape, a ghost that haunted me day after day, year after year since I'd last seen her so long ago.
It's hard to describe a book that had me in tears for 70% of the novel, because what gripped me about this story may not grip another. It's an honest novel, filled with raw emotions, ugly truths, and characters that are held down by the weight of decisions they made so long ago. It's not really an easy read, it's not the kind of book you escape to to forget the world, because the words in the pages are overwhelming, the what if's fill your mind, and the broken hearts feel just like it is yours breaking too. What it is, though, is a beautifully crafted novel that comes to life, as if you are the characters, their emotion your own. Elliot is described as pretty, quiet, and invisible, but as a reader you don't see that. She's meek, she's too kind, but she's also so smart and her view from the sidelines reveals so much more than any other character can see. Wade, her once love now lost to the horrors of the world and his own pain, survives each day, leaning only on his pride despite knowing his wrong doings. Both hold anger, sadness, regret, and so much love for one another, but neither is willing to truly give in. Their communication is faulty, their connection only due to the impending loss of Wade's father. It is a constant push and pull, of whether they can be or won't be or even could be with all the history between them.
"I didn't recognize him, and yet the familiarity of him snag to me, called to me. But he wasn't mind. He hadn't been for a long time. And he didn't want to be."
The length of the novel, though, isn't just about Elliot and Wade, but about the family ties that first introduced them in the very beginning. Elliot's best friend is Wade's sister, Elliot's been a part of their family from the moment she walked through their front door, and their father, Rick, is more like her own than her father really is. Elliot's family is of the worst kind, her escape method has always been with the Winters and the man who cultivated her love of words. Facing his illness and the short amount of time they are allowed with him, we dive into the story of this family, of their happiness and their sadness. Staci Hart introduces the reader to so many characters, none can easily be considered minor, as all make up part of the connection that keep Elliot and Wade around one another, despite their desire to face any of their truths. Rick's life is one that is made up of words and in all their time spent together, pouring over the words that tied them so close, it becomes abundantly clear that his desire is to see his family happy, even Elliot who he considers a daughter. The moments spent at his side, while he succumbed to life, were so hard to read, it's incredible how realistic Staci was able to write it. Those shared scenes brought about revelations, finally leading to the moment when communication between the two had to finally happen, their past ready to be faced.
The words I had weren't enough. They've never been enough. They've never be enough.
"The silence wasn't companionable; it was heavy with years and words between us, and it stretch on so long, there seemed to be no breaching it gracefully. It was the collective story of us in a twenty-minute span of footsteps."
While the novel is long winded, especially as I was so desperate for a resolution, the flow of it is perfect, the process to get back to where they are meant to be is so true to reality. It's poetic, emotional, and exactly the kind of angst-filled novel I would reach for again if in need for a good cry. I highlighted more passages while I read than in any other novel. Staci Hart knows how to evoke emotions from her readers, to draw them in and hold them captive, A Thousand Letters is a 5 star example of that. It is, no doubt, a novel that readers of romance and fans of emotional prose will love.
Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life: a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, even though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. Her favorite word starts with f and ends with k.
From roots in Houston, to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's sleeping, cleaning, or designing graphics.