Review: The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn

I was so excited when I found out that I won The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant in a Goodreads giveaway. As soon as I saw the book cover and title, I was intrigued and knew I had to read it.

The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn revolves around several women – Esther in 1951, and Rachel and Eve in 2018.

When Esther vacations with her husband to a remote island, she never expects that his real intention is to institutionalize her. Desperate and alone and severely missing her family, Esther can’t wait to leave.

Eve cares for her 90-year-old grandmother, who recently broke her hip. While recuperating, Eve’s grandmother agrees to finally begin telling her life story. An accomplished woman, Eve’s grandmother was a female pioneer in the mountaineering community.

As Eve helps write her grandmother’s memoir, she realizes that there is much about the fascinating woman to learn.

Rachel is a researcher who’s job takes her to an remote island. While there, she uncovers mysterious love letters from over a half-century ago. Rachel, a woman who usually avoids long and lasting connections, finds herself fascinated by the depth of feelings expressed in the love letters.

Rachel contacts Eve in an attempt to piece together the story behind the love letters, which could expose long-buried secrets.

The characters in this novel are exceptionally well-developed. While reading Rachel’s story, I was enthralled by her free spirit. Her wanderlust and love of nature, as well as her solitary disposition, appealed to me. Esther’s story was equally fascinating and engrossing, gripping me from the first page. Her story is moving and heartbreaking, and I found myself rooting for her happiness.

The relationship between Eve and her grandmother further demonstrates the dynamic characterization in the novel. As her grandmother regales Eve with incredible stories from her past, the love and tenderness shared between the pair is heart-warming. They understand each other and respect each other. Furthermore, Eve’s grandmother has lived such a rich and eventful life, and, as the story unfolds, Eve realizes just how strong her grandmother really is.

This is a beautifully written story that I loved reading. Messages of strength, finding oneself, and the resilience of the human spirit even in the midst of tragedy flow through the book, and dynamic characters leave lasting impressions. The book examines important issues about mental health that might trigger some readers. Issues like depression, PTSD, and suicide are at the forefront of one woman’s story.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

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Favorite Parts:

  • strong female characters
  • great character development
  • gripping stories that are intricately and skillfully woven together
  • poignant messages


Readers who enjoy historical fiction and unique stories about women will love this story.

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