Adult Fiction Books fiction Historical Romance War

Melanie Hudson’s message about love in “The Last Letter from Juliet”

The Last Letter from Juliet by Melanie Hudson is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. Truthfully, it sat on my to-read shelf for a while, but I was completely blown away by it when I finally sat down to read it. It has everything you could want from a historical fiction love story: adventure, danger, and passion.

Hudson manages to give us a novel that makes us question our own lives and how we live it. As the story unfolds, we put ourselves in the shoes of those who witnessed and endured the atrocities of the Second World War, a time where every day people lived their lives grabbing at whatever happiness they could find because tomorrow was never promised.

It reminds us now, 76 years later, that we should live each day doing the same thing.

This is a note to yourself, Juliet.

You must keep the memories alive, because once upon a time you told a man called Edward Nancarrow that you would, and it’s important to keep that promise…

A daring WWII pilot who grew up among the clouds, Juliet Caron’s life was one of courage, adventure – and a love torn apart by war. Every nook of her Cornish cottage is alive with memories just waiting to be discovered.

Katherine Henderson has escaped to Cornwall for Christmas, but she soon finds there is more to her holiday cottage than meets the eye. And on the eve of Juliet’s 100th birthday, Katherine is enlisted to make an old lady’s final Christmas wish come true…

The Last Letter from Juliet is a very powerful and moving story with incredible characters. I loved listening to Katherine – I think at some point in our lives we all find ourselves in a strange position of having to start over, so reading her story feels entirely relatable. In that way, I enjoyed watching her find her own strength to get back up and live again. But it was Juliet who really captured my heart.

Juliet… strong, feisty, brave Juliet who saw and witnessed some of the worst things the world had to offer but always believed in the good. Even when she was heartbroken, even when she lost everything, even when she had absolutely no reason to, she was strong enough to believe in all the good in the world. That takes a certain kind of character and strength that few people have.

It was also amazing to read a story inspired by the courageous women of the Air Transport Auxiliary service during the Second World War. Hudson pays homage to all the women who took on brave and dangerous roles during wartime in this incredible book, which is a tribute to all of them.

The thing I loved most about The Last Letter from Juliet, however, was it’s message. Hudson uses Juliet’s story to remind us of something vitally important: Believe in love, always, and everything else will be okay.

Life can be cruel, and at any moment our world can be turned upside down and leave us heartbroken and hurt. But no matter what horrors we endure, we can make it through anything if we keep believing in love.

‘Love doesn’t have to last a lifetime, to last a lifetime, does it?’ she said, kindly.
I smiled and shook my head.
‘But as I said to my grandson after his heart was broken,’ she went on, ‘there comes a point when it’s time to…’

‘Believe in love again?’
She smiled. ‘That’s it. See, you’re half way there already.’

– Melanie Hudson, The Last Letter from Juliet

There’s no doubt that during wartime we can see some of the worst humanity has to offer. But believing in love and in the good is how you make it through. We have to believe in the possibility of happiness in order to be happy. We must live. It’s what the soldiers and men and women who went to war died for – so that we can be free to live life and be happy. And that doesn’t come without risking our hearts and falling in love and seeing the beauty in the ordinary.

As Edward told Juliet:

‘Because if this war has taught me anything it’s that in the end, love really is the only answer. We just have to keep believing in love.

– Melanie Hudson, The Last Letter from Juliet

This incredible story of friendship, love and resilience will stay with you long after you’ve closed the cover. It’s now one of my all-time favourite novels with it’s characters and it’s message, and, as mentioned, it reminds us that we need to grab life and happiness with both hands when we find it, risk our hearts, and never stop believing in love.

So, after reading The Last Letter from Juliet, ask yourself… is this the life I want to live? Is this the person I want to love? Is this the person I want to be?

The answers might surprise you, or they might not. Either way, they’ll reveal what’s important to you, and what you can do to live an incredibly happy life filled with love and wonderful moments that you cannot even imagine yet.

With Juliet’s final piece of advice…

“I’m afraid that despite my years, I really do not feel very wise and having given it some thought I realise that only have one piece of advice to give to you, and it was given to me by a committed coddiwompler a very long time ago – simply believe in love, my love, and everything will always be all right.”

– Melanie Hudson, The Last Letter from Juliet

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