A Letter from Nana Rose by Kristin Harper

Arriving at the honeysuckle-covered beach house inherited from her beloved grandmother, recently heartbroken Jill hopes to convince her two feuding sisters not to sell a place so full of happy childhood memories. But the envelope waiting on the driftwood table changes everything. In her elegant handwriting, Nana Rose promises a new letter will arrive each day of the summer revealing a family secret she took to her grave.

Shaken, Jill anxiously awaits each letter filled with Nana’s bittersweet memories of her own sister who she loved more than anyone—and lost far too young. But why did Nana never speak of this tragic loss to her grandchildren?

Watching the sunset each night and wondering how well they really knew Nana Rose, Jill feels her family is closer than they’ve been in years. And after a chance encounter with blue-eyed tree surgeon Alex, she wonders if Nana believed being back on Dune Island would help Jill find love, too?

But when Nana’s final letter arrives, the revelation about how her sister died is more shocking than Jill ever imagined. Suddenly, despite the chance of happiness with Alex, selling the house seems the only way forward. Will Jill find a way to forge new bonds of sisterhood and save their inheritance, or will Nana Rose’s secret tear them all apart?

Thoughts

A Letter from Nana Rose tells the story of three sisters, Jill, Brooke and Rachel who inherit the grandmother’s summerhouse on Dune Island after her death. The grief-stricken sisters agree to spend one last holiday at the house before making a final decision on whether to keep it or sell it. As soon as the sisters arrive at the house, they find a note from Nana Rose explaining they will receive a letter from her every day which will eventually reveal a secret about her past as she urges them not to make a decision about the house until they have read them all. Since Nana Rose barely spoke about her past, the sisters are immediately intrigued.

The narrator of the story is Jill, the youngest sister, who desperately wants to keep the house in the family but her sisters are more inclined to sell it. Jill is the only one of her sisters who is not married and she longs to have a family like them some day but at thirty-nine she is aware time is running out. Still grieving for Nana Rose, Jill relishes the chance to relive some happy childhood memories at the house but her sisters don’t seem as sentimental about it as her.

Rachel, the eldest, is preoccupied with getting her twin children into a private school, while Brooke, the middle sister, is arranging to renew her wedding vows. However, her sisters have their own reasons for wanting to sell the house that they are not sharing and Jill is becoming increasingly frustrated with them. As Nana Rose’s secret is finally revealed, the sisters are stunned and their relationship reaches breaking point, however a sudden emergency proves their bond is stronger than ever.

The bond between sisters is at the heart of this novel and the characters are engaging as they laugh and cry with each other, as well as bicker in a believable manner. The setting on Dune Island is also magnificent and is one the author has used in her previous books, although you don’t have to have read them to enjoy this one. The weather on Dune Island plays its part though as a storm wreaks havoc with the power supply and a fallen tree leads to an unexpected romance for Jill. The romance takes a backseat to the drama going on with the sisters but it is given enough attention for it to be credible.

Dune Island is known for its famous sunsets but there is little chance of witnessing one as the weather is foul for most of the time which mirrors the turmoil going on in the lives of the sisters. Once everything calms down and matters are resolved, the sun finally breaks through and new memories are forged.

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