Letter from a Stranger
Justine Nolan, a prizewinning documentary filmmaker, receives a shocking letter that will change her life forever and her family’s lives as well. The letter says that her grandmother Gabriele is still alive, but unfortunately it bears the signature of a woman named Anita and, while mailed from Istanbul, it contains no return address. Ten years earlier, Justine’s mother, Deborah, had told Justine and her twin brother, Richard, that their grandmother had died in a plane crash. As Gabri had practically raised them, this was a devastating blow. Now Justine begins the quest to find her grandmother, joyful at this news and absolutely furious at her mother for what was obviously a despicable lie.
So begins a story that will take readers from the twins’ gorgeous Connecticut home to the districts of Istanbul. The quest for finding Gabri at first seems impossible but does happen in a “fluke” moment while Justine is developing plans for a new documentary on the city. From there follow numerous scenes of both happiness and pain as the reunion takes place, Justine finds the love of her life, and she also discovers the history behind Gabri’s unbearably heartrending World War II past. Despite some repetitive and saccharine scenes, this is a lovely story, a classic Barbara Taylor Bradford romantic mystery that also takes a look at German atrocities in World War II.