Reviewed: “The Lost Letters of William Woolf” by Helen Cullen

While browsing for ARCs on NetGalley (as if I needed a longer TBR) I stumbled onto The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen and I was hooked by the summary. A ‘detective’ who works in the Dead Letters Depot in London, working to reunite damaged and lost mail with it’s rightful recipients and senders… it sounded absolutely romantic and human and good.

That’s how the summary sounded.

Even if the title didn’t quite seem to match, it giving the impression that some of the these ‘dead letters’ had to do with William Woolf. I pictured William as a poor soul who missed his chance at love because of wrong address or a rain-soaked envelope or an accident with a mail-sorting machine. Very intriguing.

As it turns out… not so much.

William is the detective. He doesn’t write letters. He… fixates on them. He wants to write a book about the letters and packages that have been reunited (I’d read that book in heartbeat!). He bugs his bosses to let him write about the huge pile of letters people wrote to an array of gods and deities. He occasionally does his job and helps, for example, a young girl get her chunk of ambergris (that’s whale vomit, just fyi… and might be in any perfume that smells musky) to a historical society. But mostly… William Woolf fixates on letters.

Particularly a set of letters that he (rather miraculously) finds over a large span of time, one at a time, addressed to My Greatest Love and signed Winter.

To put it bluntly, William begins stalking Winter, based on the things she wrote in the letters she (for reasons I do not understand) dropped in a mailbox.

This bout of stalker-ing is made all the wilder when William loses his mind upon finding out that his wife (who he seems to deeply resent for being more successful, at least in terms of bottom lines in bank accounts) had a one-night fling with a co-worker.

I skimmed so much of this book, especially Winter’s letters. And then I came to deeply despise William. I finished the book, though, because I wanted to find out if his long-suffering wife got her happy ending. She did… at least until the One Year Later epilogue put the final nail in the coffin for this one-star book for me.

I received a copy of The Lost Letters of William Woolf through NetGalley and Graydon House in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

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