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  • Letters from the Past

  • By: Erica James
  • Narrated by: Jemma Redgrave
  • Length: 13 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (262 ratings)

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Summary

It’s the autumn of 1962 in the idyllic Suffolk village of Melstead St Mary. Evelyn Devereux’s husband, Kit, is planning their 20th wedding anniversary party. But as they prepare to celebrate, Evelyn receives an anonymous letter that threatens to unravel the secrets she’s kept hidden for many years – secrets that reach back to the war and her days at Bletchley Park. 

Evelyn’s sister-in-law, Hope, has brought joy to countless children with her best-selling books, but despite having a loving husband and caring family, happiness has never come easily to her. Then in an instant her fragile world is turned upside down when she too receives an anonymous letter. Across the village, up at Melstead Hall, Julia Devereux has married into a life beyond anything she could have dreamt of, not realising until it’s too late that it comes with a heavy price.

Meanwhile, in the sun-baked desert of Palm Springs, Romily Devereux-Temple, crime writer and former ATA pilot, is homesick for her beloved Island House, where she’s saved the day more times than she can count. On her return home, and shocked to learn what has been going on in her absence, she finds herself reluctantly confronting a secret she’s kept hidden for a very long time. 

Once again Romily is challenged to save the day and hold the family together. Can she do it and maybe seize some happiness for herself at the same time?

©2020 Erica James (P)2020 W. F. Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"Erica James offers glorious escapism set in a house to die for." (Sunday Express Magazine)

"Full of warmth and appeal." (Good Housekeeping)

"Beautifully written and heartrendingly sad." (Daily Telegraph)

What listeners say about Letters from the Past

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

My first and last Erica James book

An absolute yawn fest! Listened to 2 hours of this book and gave up. Far far too many characters, my head was swimming trying to work it out, and each chapter there were more of them, illegitimate children of dead characters brothers, evacuees, stepchildren, half children, it just went on and on and on. I got to the point I couldn’t remember who any of them were, having to rewind repeatedly to try and find out who they were . And after 20 brain numbing chapters absolutely nothing had happened. A Completely tedious and intensely boring book. Definitely not my cup if tea. Never again.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it!

I love Erica James’s books, and this did not disappoint! I didn’t realise at first that this was a follow-on-book.🙄
It was really good to catch up with Romily again and the goings on in Melstead St Mary, it’s never a dull moment there! 😊
It was beautifully read and would definitely listen to another of Erica’s books it made a lovely change from reading it!

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent

I love Erica James books and enjoyed the story as I had read Coming Home to Island House but was very disappointed with the narrator. The voice was so boring compared to her previous books. Hope they don't use the same narrator again

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dreadful narrator

I don't often review books and must admit I haven't finished this one, but the narrator is so bad that I had to write now. Her voice is quite monotone, quiet and dull. She does do a few accents but even so, usually narrators bring the characters to life and you can easily differentiate between them. Not so with this one. I would never buy another book she had read and have no idea how she even got the job!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Damaged characters

This book is we written and kept me interested. The only annoying thing about it was the female characters almost without exception were damaged psychologically or emotionally. A couple of tha male characters also had serious issues. In fact of the10 main characters only two are more or less normal. A little over the top. I think the author was a bit too dependent on the character’s foibles to artificially manipulate the plot. The book could have been better if more normal characters were used so the story was more believable and real.

1 person found this helpful

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loved it excellent listen

I could compare these letters to the visit to
Bletchley park really enjoyed it well worth a read

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Superb

A great story, wonderfully narrated by Jemma Redgrave.
Erica James creates her characters so well that you live in the story and it is hard to put down.

1 person found this helpful

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Old friends

I loved returning to Island house and finding out what had happened to the characters through the war.
Brilliant the narration was good and the whole way the story came together made it hard to stop listening

1 person found this helpful

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Thoroughly enjoyable

This is one of the best books I’ve listened too for quite a while. There is such diversity in characters, all utterly believable. The story had enough twists and turns to make me want to keep listening. The narrator was excellent. I would love a follow up book with these characters, I would love to know what happened next.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Beautifully read by Jemma Redgrave

Fairly enjoyable although sentimental and predictable story, nice main character in Romily. Jemma Redgrave reads beautifully!


1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for sharon
  • sharon
  • 27-04-20

Terrible Story With Unlikeable Characters

I was very disappointed in this Book. I have read several Erica James books including
The Dandelion Years which was a prequel to this story,.
This book had so many unlikeable and immoral characters I was unable to finish it .
It was quite depressing and not like "Dandelion Years " which I enjoyed.
The narration was just OK. All in all too Grim for my taste.
..