Missing Words By Loree Westron – Review
By Helen Johnston
Adventures come in different shapes and sizes and cycling round the Isle of Wight in search of a mystery woman is the one that mail sorter Jenny finds herself on after a ‘dead letter’ lands in her lap.
The dead letter is in fact a postcard but is so called because it has an incomplete address on it. Jenny, who works at the Portsmouth sorting office, is supposed to set it aside for the specialist team whose job it is to try to decipher it’s intended destination.
But the message on the postcard intrigues Jenny. It has come all the way from Australia and is from Michael who is writing to Deborah on the Isle of Wight, begging her forgiveness and asking to be given one more chance. He says if he hasn’t heard back from her by the end of August, he’ll know it’s truly over.
It’s a criminal offence for Jenny to remove mail but she knows the dead letter team are unlikely to figure out the address by the end of the month, so on a sudden impulse she pushes the postcard up her sleeve and takes it home.
Her decision to help these star-crossed lovers is based as much on her own crumbling marriage as it is on any romantic notion. Jenny and husband Simon are struggling through a tragedy, each locked in their own silent misery and unable to reach out to the other.
“Gentle and moving”
Added to that, their teenage daughter Charlotte has announced that instead of going to university she is getting engaged and moving in with her boyfriend, upsetting Jenny in the process.
Jenny’s hunt for the mystery Deborah means several trips across the Solent with her trusty bike, pedalling through towns and villages asking if anyone knows her or the Edward Cottages where she lives.
Along the way Jenny has time to feel the freedom she needs from the life which is stifling her.
Set in 1980s Thatcher’s Britain, Jenny also has issues at work where there is sexism, bullying and pressure from the union to down tools to resolve a dispute.
American author Loree Westron shows that sometimes even the most outwardly ordinary lives can be extraordinary. The tragic event has happened to Jenny before we meet her, so this story is not one of high drama. Instead, Westron captures perfectly the slow process of trying to piece together a shattered life.
This is a gentle and moving tale with a mystery which will keep you guessing until the end. It will also remind you to make sure you always put the full address on your post.
Missing Words By Loree Westron is published by Fairlight Books, out 5th August