Letters from a Patchwork Quilt

Written by Clare Flynn
Review by Christoph Fischer

This is the tragic story of a young teacher and the love of his life.

Letters, found in the book’s prologue (set in 2015) tell us the story of Jack Brennan’s attempts to fulfil his own dreams and love. Unfortunately, life in 1875 has different plans for him and his fiancé, Eliza.

The narrative throughout shifts between Eliza’s fortune in the US and Jack’s life in the UK, bringing us some heart-breaking moments. The well-worn formula of using letters from the past finds its justification later on, when an accomplished epilogue brings everything to a rounded close.

The book worked best for me once the lovers were apart and I was caught hoping and wondering if or how they will reunite. Illustrating the times and locations very well, the novel also has some marvellous and interesting supporting characters. Maybe the plot is not as original or different as it could have been, but the story is well-written, moving and enjoyable.