Faced with the prospect of an entire day in a doctor’s office waiting room and having misplaced the book I was currently reading, The Book Thief, I had to quickly pick something else from my overflowing bookshelf. The Wednesday Letters had been on the shelf for a year or two and I’d never even picked it up. I’m not even sure when or where I bought it, but it was up front, and I was in a hurry.
In spite of all that, it was a good choice as it certainly held my interest all day, and I was able to breeze through all of the novel’s 280 pages in one sitting. It’s the type of inspirational romance that reminds me of one of Mitch Albom’s unapologetically sentimental novellas. Unlike The Five People You Meet in Heaven or For One More Day, however, it left me feeling less like I’d just been forcibly hit over the head with a quasi-emotional epiphany. It had its cheesy moments, certainly, and it does take its readers on an emotional roller coaster. (I even cried at a couple of parts– this is rare.)
That said, it had very real, believeable characters that I quickly came to care about. I really didn’t want Malcolm to go to jail, I detested Nathan, and I rooted for Sammie. I laughed at Anna Belle, respected Rain’s dedication to the family even if I didn’t understand her romantic decisions, and worried about how the two main characters were ever going to live happily ever after by the end. The titular marital letters between Jack and Laurel felt personal and romantic; the interactions between the siblings rang true and gave their relationships depth. A few less plausible scenarios were minor and didn’t detract from the overall plot.
You’d also think that the decidedly Christian undertones would turn me off. (I usually find overtly Christian stories sappy, contrived, and too preachy.) Fortunately, while those topics were present, they were handled tastefully and not heavy-handedly.
All in all, it ended up being quite a poignant read that left just the right amount of unanswered questions for the reader to fill in. While it might not be the type of life-changing book I’ll remember forever, it had enough of the requisite happy ending that it made an otherwise mind-numbingly boring day quite enjoyable.