Translated from German and set in Paris, this gentle delight is one for those who enjoy a romantic story slightly off mainstream.
Julien Azoulay is a successful author who loses his ability to write when his beloved wife Hélène dies, leaving Julien as a solo dad to their little boy Arthur. His heartbreak has prevented Julien from fulfilling his last promise to Hélène – to write letters to her after her death, one for each of her 33 years of life. Do this, she promises him, and “there’ll be an answer for you”.
With his publisher chasing him for his next novel – a novel he is still unable to write - Julien forces himself instead to begin his first letter. The letters are to be placed in a specially created secret compartment in Hélène’s tombstone in the Montmartre cemetery, the place where he and Hélène first met five years earlier, beside the grave of poet Heinrich Heine.
With his first letter completed, Julien finds the subsequent epistles come more easily and he dutifully posts each one in his beloved’s secret mailbox. But one day, he goes to the cemetery and finds something mysterious has happened... Shocked and confused, Julien wonders if Hélène herself is reaching out to him from beyond the grave. He becomes obsessed with finding the answer to the mystery and in doing so, his heart begins to heal. An enchanting story that takes the reader on a poignant, poetic visit to the city of love.
Reviewer: Rowena Mara
Published by Hachette