Earlier this year, the cover appeared everywhere I looked, shared by authors I respect, Dearest Josephine. I didn’t know anything about the story, didn’t know why people liked it, but when it came on sale, I bought the Kindle version and promptly forgot all about it.
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Who Knew That a Unique Story Could Also Offer Great Comfort?
Reeling from the loss of a dear friend yesterday, I went onto my Kindle shelf and grabbed the first book that looked remotely interesting. Cover–it was all about the cover. I chose Dearest Josephine, or so I’d like to think. Truthfully, I believe the Lord chose it for me.
How else could I have been so moved, so comforted, so blessed by a story of requited (no that isn’t misspelled) love that still ends happily but not as you might expect? How else could I walk away from this book comforted knowing that I had my years with my friend, and I’ll have them again, but right now… now is the time for other friends?
The brilliance of this book isn’t just the multiple stories within. It’s not just the beautiful writing and the distinct voices. The beauty of this book is that all of those are tied in a beautiful bow of sweet, gentle lessons that never once feel like lessons at all.
You’ll cheer, you’ll hold your breath, you’ll cry.
Josie’s character is beautifully, annoyingly, and all the other adverbs I’m not supposed to use… flawed. It’s wonderful. In fact, I’d say her flaws keep this book from becoming a little “too perfect” in places. I can’t quite figure out why Oliver isn’t too perfect. He really should be, but I don’t know. I’d love someone to tell me why.
Technically, Dearest Josephine has an enormous cast of characters. So why does it feel like there are really just four? Okay, maybe five. Or six… yes. Six. Maybe… see what I mean. My brain says four, but as soon as it does, the others step forward and say, “Wait! What about me.” And here’s the thing. I never once got confused about any of them.
Everything happens exactly as it should and as you want it to. And nothing happens as you’re certain it will or should.
This isn’t just a beautiful story, this book is rich literature without the pretension that usually smothers that word.
Dearest Josephine by Caroline George
Love arrives at the most unexpected time . . .
1821: Elias Roch has ghastly luck with women. He met Josephine De Clare once and penned dozens of letters hoping to find her again.
2021: Josie De Clare has questionable taste in boyfriends. The last one nearly ruined her friendship with her best friend.
Now, in the wake of her father’s death, Josie finds Elias’s letters. Suddenly she’s falling in love with a guy who lived two hundred years ago. And star-crossed doesn’t even begin to cover it . . .
“Dearest Josephine is the type of story that becomes your own. The characters’ heartaches worked their way into my own chest until I hurt with them, hoped with them, and dared to dream with them. This book is teeming with swoon-worthy prose, adorable humor, and an expert delivery of ‘Will they end up together?’ I guarantee you’ll be burning the midnight candle to a stub to get answers. Step aside Pride and Prejudice, there’s a new romance on the English moors.” —Nadine Brandes, author of Romanov
“Caroline George infuses an epistolary love story with a romance and charm that crosses centuries. Touching and inventive, it bursts with wit, warmth, and a blending of classic and contemporary that goes together like scones and clotted cream. Dearest Josephine is a delight.” —Emily Bain Murphy, author of The Disappearances
“Dearest Josephine is more than an immersive read. It is a book lover’s dream experience.
Josie’s residence in a gothic English manor and her deeply romantic connection to Elias, who lived years in the past, is as chillingly atmospheric as Rochester calling across the moors. This story is George’s treatise on the power of books and character to creep across centuries, to pull us close and invite us to live in a fantasy where we find love—literally—in the kinship of ink and binding. But it also acknowledges the dangers of letting ourselves fall too deeply when sometimes an equally powerful connection is waiting next door. This love letter to books, and the readers who exist in and for them, is a wondrously singular escape.” —Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration and The Mozart Code
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