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The Girl in the Letter

Narrated by: Jane McDowell
Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (198 ratings)

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Summary

Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Kathryn Hughes, this gripping novel of long-buried secrets will stay with you for ever.

A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away. A mystery to be solved.

1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret's, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.

Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret's. Before it is too late. 

Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret's set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a 60-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for ever....

Read her letter. Remember her story.... 

©2018 Emily Gunnis (P)2018 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

Critic reviews

"A great book, truly hard to put down. Fast paced, brilliantly plotted and desperately sad at times - all hallmarks of a best seller." (Lesley Pearse)

"I was gripped by The Girl in the Letter. The story is compelling, twisty, heart-wrenching and thought-provoking. A novel that stays with you." (Sophie Kinsella) 

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A fairly good read...

... but as another reader said, there were so many characters that it was easy to lose track of who was who. I thought the idea was good though and the story revealed the harsh realities for many young pregnant girls in the 1950s and 60s.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Narrated well

The story itself was ok but too many characters that I didn't form any investment with At times it was going too quickly yet the phone dialogue was authentic Fairly good overall

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

brilliant haunting powerful

The more we uncover the depths of dark deeds done by so called religious caring humans dedicated to Christ? the more we see how toxic religions can be.. its more like the complete inversion to what Christ stood for... The worst being those who should be trusted .. This might be termed fiction but we know it's true and now hundreds of priests and cardinals world wide arrested.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping Story

I found myself seething at the injustices and almost egging on the revengeful actions. Extremely hard to put down book
The story is so strong that it almost tells itself. An excellent read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story

All good but for the stupid phone call recordings, which are very difficult to hear without adjusting the volume (is is frequently not possible). Quite why we have to hear it like a 30s phone call I don’t know, but it is irritating.


The story is well plotted, the characters well formed and it has a ‘traditional’ end.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!!

Couldn't put this book down. I got a bit confused at the beginning and had to read the first couple of chapters again. When I understood all the characters I was hooked and really enjoyed the story and all the different characters.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

great listen

Good read gripping in places . scary two in parts Enjoyed very much but so sad

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

enjoyable and heartbreaking in equal measure

reading this book, you experience all emotions - heartbreak, anger, sorrow and joy.. highly recommended

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great read!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. could of done with a better narrator but other than than I loved it.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Overall disappointing

This book started well, with a promising story, but there were way too many short chapters switching from character, which made it difficult to follow at times and too much back and forth between the numerous characters. The twins storyline was complicated, in my view, and I’m one chapter end as one twin and started the very next one as the other, but they were the same person. I also felt that the ending was rushed and a little over the top! Sorry, did not enjoy it and only finished it because it was the choice of my book club for this month!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Awin
  • 03-02-19

Great story but smacking and swallowing constantly narration.

Loved the story but it became nails on a chalkboard listening to the constant smacking and loud swallowing from the narrator.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-02-19

Great twists and turns!

The only reason I marked the performance less than a five, was the echo talk to represent phone conversation. It was harder to hear those parts.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 31-05-19

Good Story

It was interesting from the start. several twist and turns.kept me guessing. I would reccomend

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • CCL
  • 13-01-19

The Girl in the Letter

Excellent. Listened in audio and could not put it down.

Looking forward to more books by the author.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • TammyR
  • 11-01-19

Engrossing and Heartbreaking Story

Captivating, intricately woven story performed beautifully by Jane McDowell. I didn't want to quit listening.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • AJ
  • 10-12-19

Not my cup of tea

The story didn't catch me. I usually don't mind twist and turns but there were too many in this book making it a bit difficult to concentrate on the story while doing other things. The performance of Emily Gunnis wasn't the best, a smacking sound making me believe she was chewing a pastille or something throughout the book, it was a bit irritating and somewhat lack of respect towards the listener.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • mendolynne
  • 18-09-19

desperately sad far too long

A critic wrote, about this novel, that the plot was well paced and it was “desperately sad at times - all hallmarks of a best seller”. Why would those traits be the hallmarks of a bestseller??

I am over half way through the book. There is a small plot that is far too slowly being unfolded for some of the time, but most of the time this story is so unrelentingly desperately sad it is a grueling task to keep listening.

There might well be a joyful ending to this Dickens-like tale but I sincerely do not understand why a writer would put their readers through such cruelty and brutality foisted upon young girls. What on earth does this teach us? One short description of how these poor girls, who were mostly impregnated in the 40s and 50s, were treated would suffice to let us know how hard it was back then. But why torture us for so many chapters with every tiny detail told over and over again?

That some of the girls were strong enough to survive is a good reminder of how resilient the human spirit can be. But alas I just don’t know if I can finish this book Perhaps I’ll take a break from it and then try it again later.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Melissa Nicklaus
  • 14-09-19

Not what I thought

couldn't finish this book as I could not keep up with what was going on! Kept going back and forth between characters, it was boring, and bad performance.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-09-19

could not stop listening, so I had to buy the book


when I was not unable to listen, I read. when I could read, I listened. Two days later I was done.
The reader was good in charater changes, but the sounds of her swallowing were annoying. I suppose the editing should have caught that. Anyway, that aside, this book had me at prologue. As mentioned in previous reviews, it was riveting and so hard to put down.
I am sharing the book with three friends who love it as I do.
I'm starting The Lost Child in a couple weeks.
The Girl in the Letter, Ivy, just needs to settle in my mind before I meet another one of Gunnis's characters. Bravo!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • KC
  • 31-08-19

Sad to think this really happened

This story is based on a Catholic home for unwed mothers. To keep the Mother's under comtrol they use abuse and intimidation. This book is difficult to read as this home is Catholic and homes like these existed.There are so many twists and turns, you have a web of reality, of events that occured there, you have deaths, illigetimate burths and it sometimes gets hard to follow as people were tortured. It is a historical work of fiction. The storyline is interesting and sadly these home really existed. In fact sweatshops for pregnant teens existed in Ireland and UK.The narration by Jane McDowell is good. I cried while reading this book. I recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful