I am thrilled today to be bringing you my review of Letters to the Pianist. So read on to find out what I thought.
Blurb: In war torn London, 1941, fourteen-year-old Ruth Goldberg and her two younger siblings, Gabi and Hannah, survive the terrifying bombing of their family home. They believe their parents are dead, their bodies buried underneath the burnt remains – but unbeknownst to them, their father, Joe, survives and is taken to hospital with amnesia.
Four years on, Ruth stumbles across a newspaper photo of a celebrated pianist and is struck by the resemblance to her father. Desperate for evidence she sends him a letter, and as the pianist’s dormant memories emerge, his past unravels, revealing his true identity – as her beloved father, Joe. Ruth sets out to meet him, only to find herself plunged into an aristocratic world of sinister dark secrets.
Can she help him escape and find a way to stay alive?
Buy link: Amazon UK
My Rating: 5/5
Review: This is a stunning book and I’m not sure my review will do it justice but here goes. I don’t tend to read books set during wartime, they usually don’t appeal to me but this one did, the fact that it focused on a family rather than the actual battles helped. As the blurb states, Ruth and her siblings believe their parents to be dead after a bomb hits their house. However, years later Ruth realises that a celebrated pianist is her father and sets about meeting him and trying to bring her family back together.
While the reader knows the pianist is Ruth’s father from the beginning the story is told in such a way that makes it riveting despite already having that knowledge. We see how Ruth and her siblings, and her father, all cope in the aftermath of the bombing of their home.
There are so many aspects to this story, all of which are handled very well. The story takes place over a few years, beginning just before the bombing and progressing from there. The characters all leap off the page at you and the realism with which they are written makes you feel for them, where appropriate, or, as in the case of one or two of them, they made my skin crawl and while I completely understood their parts in the book I felt a great deal of anger and loathing towards the characters themselves. Not bad for fictional people only alive in print!
I don’t think my review is conveying just how amazing this book is. You get drawn into the story, seeing things from various points of view and thus just adds to the depth of the story itself. This is a book I would highly recommend to anyone who loves reading. There are so many layers within the book that you can’t help but be engrossed. If you do decide to read it then make sure you have plenty of free time because you won’t want to put it down.
Author bio: S.D. Mayes worked as a journalist for nearly twenty years before turning her hand to fiction. Inspired by her mother’s tragic memories of wartime Britain, along with the bizarre but factual events of Hitler’s pursuit of power, Letters to the Pianist is her first WWII suspense novel. Originally from the West Country, she currently lives in Berkshire, United Kingdom.