The Love Note

Review by Misty Urban

After Willa Duvall declines her fourth offer of marriage, she takes a position nursing Golda Gresham, matriarch of the British manor of Crestwicke. Crestwicke intrigues Willa because of its mention in an anonymous but deeply moving love letter she finds in her desk and because Gabe Gresham, second son of the house, was a dear childhood friend. Willa hopes to deliver the letter to its intended recipient while proving herself worthy of admission to medical school; her plans don’t include a husband.

As the letter travels through the house, it sets afire the imagination of everyone who reads it, bringing to light hidden longings and festering wounds; Crestwicke’s inhabitants are hiding a storied past, painful secrets, and unrequited dreams. The book moves from Gothic mystery and domestic drama to romance and family saga as Willa learns the truth about her patient and the many mysteries Crestwicke shelters. Willa’s deepening relationship with God and her evolving understanding of the women of the house prove the most well-crafted of the love stories, though in 1859, with Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell having recently established their infirmary in New York, Willa’s passion for doctoring feels convincing as well. A pleasurable read.