The Love Note is a historical novel set in Victorian England. Willa Duvall is a doctor's daughter who longs to become a doctor herself. When she finds a mysterious love note in an old writing desk, she goes to Crestwicke Manor as a nurse in order to look for the story behind the letter. This move leads her back to her childhood sweetheart, Gabe Gresham, and his family. Willa misplaces the note and everyone who finds it imagines that it is for them, with many unexpected consequences. As Willa balances her affection for Gabe and her desire to become a doctor, she comes closer and closer to solving the mystery.
I wanted to read this novel because I have enjoyed earlier books by the author Joanna Davidson Politano. I love Victorian settings and found the idea of an old note found particularly appealing.
The Love Note started a bit slowly for me but once Willa found her way to Crestwicke it became impossible for me to put the book down! The setting of the old, almost gothic, manor was dramatically evoked and there is a large cast of characters who are touched by this letter and the mystery.
I love the juxtaposition between Willa's scientist's mind and her longing for Gabe, like this passage:
"Huddled over John Snow’s Infectious Diseases and Germ Theory in the dimming light that evening, I marked passages about microscopic pathogens on medical instruments and forced myself to concentrate. I glanced up at my patient, who silently stabbed at her cross-stitch project in an ornate striped chair by the hearth. When Gabe appeared in the yard below striding toward the stables, all concentration disintegrated. Moments later, his stallion burst from the doors and galloped toward the hill. I felt a tug on my heart. Meet me at the ruins." (Kindle location 770).
The Love Note was a wonderful read and will surely be on a list of my favorites for this year. I enjoyed Willa as a character and admired her intelligence and determination. I loved Willa and Gabe as a romantic pairing. (Gabe is one of my favorite recent book boyfriends!) The setting is gothic perfection. The Love Note is a must read for fans of historical fiction, gothic settings, inspirational fiction (handled with a light, deft touch), and historical romance.
A forgotten letter. A secret love. A vast estate.
Can one determined woman put the pieces together?
Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1865 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.
Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings--mostly negative ones--about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa's search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words.
Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.
Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears, A Rumored Fortune, and Finding Lady Enderly. When she's not homeschooling her small children, she spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two children in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.