9 Must Read Epistolary Novels

If you clicked this link just to see what epistolary means, it’s a novel or works written in the form of letters or correspondence. Epistolary novels have been around as long as stories themselves. The earliest recorded epistolary novel was Love Letters between a Nobleman and His Sister, published in 1684.

Since then epistolary novels have taken on many forms. Some are simply collections of published letters or correspondence, others are fiction books written in this form. Today we’re going to feature some of my favourite, across many genres.

Love Letters between a Nobleman and His Sister – Aphra Behn

I simply had to include this, simply for being the ground breaking book that created this whole genre. The novel is loosely based on the love affair between Ford, Lord Grey of Werke and his wife’s sister, Lady Henrietta Berkley, a well known London scandal of the late 1600s.

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Love Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister UK

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84 Charing Cross Road – Helen Hanff

If you love books and books about books and bookshops then 84 Charing Cross Road is essential reading. The book is a collection of letters, written over twenty years between the author and Frank Doel, chief buyer of Marks & Co antiquarian bookshop, located at the eponymous address.

84 Charing Cross Road US
84 Charing Cross Road UK

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I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith

Written in the style of diary entries, I Capture the Castle tells the story of a family living in gentile poverty in a decaying castle. This coming of age story tells Cassandra’s story from childhood as she grows into a young woman.

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I Capture the Castle UK

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House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski

House of Leaves pushes this genre to an entire new level, in fact he pushes book writing to a whole new level in this edgy book. Reading it is a challenge, making sense of the codes and in-messages is both fun and frustrating, and while it isn’t the chunkiest novel you’ll read, put a while aside for reading it.

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House of Leaves UK

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Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon is a sci-fi novel that takes its own twist on the epistolary genre. Algernon is a laboratory mouse, and the book is written as a series of lab reports written by the first human subject test for a new surgery.

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We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Schriver

This is easy in my top ten books of all time and is a fantastic read. Written from the perspective of Eva Khatchadourian in the form of letters to her husband as she tries to come to terms with the actions of her son.

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We Need to Talk About Kevin UK

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The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 ¾ – Sue Townsend

The Adrian Mole book and it’s follow ones was the first book I ever read in this genre, and it’s fun, touching, and easy to read as you follow Mole’s thoughts and neuroses in the form of diary entries.

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The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole UK

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Persuasion – Jane Austen

Persuasion, or the Persuasion of Jane Austen is one of the best known epistolary novels of all time. This was a favourite writing style of the classic women authors, Austen also published Lady Susan in this genre, and Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is written in the same prose. Three recommendations in one.

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Where Rainbows End (Love, Rosie) – Cecilia Ahern

This is such a fun book, written as a series of letters, notes, and text messages between two childhood friends, into adulthood and all the difficulties that come with growing up. It’s also a great movie starring Sam Claflin!

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Where Rainbows End UK

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7 Box Set Book Series for the Fantasy Fan in Your Life

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It’s the time of year for buying gifts, and while we all know that books make fabulous presents it can be hard to know what to buy. If you have a friend who loves fantasy then today we can help by recommending 7 box set book series, all from the broad fantasy genre.

All the series we’ve chosen are complete so there’s no waiting for the next book in the series, and they’re all available as complete box sets, with lovely cover art, making the perfect complete gift. Read More

5 Best Books About the JFK Assassination

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The assassination of John F. Kennedy is one of the best known events in American history and with so many files from the assassination finding themselves classified, it’s an event that has always attracted conspiracy theorists. Over the years the subject has been discussed extensively, and many books on the subject have been written. You’d think we may have exhausted the subject but with the release of a cache of classified files last week, the subject is back in the forefront of the minds of many. Read More

6 Jack the Ripper Books to Give You the Chills

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On 31st August 1888, the body of Mary Ann Nichols was found in London, sparking a reign of terror so terrible the story would live in through the centuries. Mary Ann Nichols is thought to have been the first victim of the serial killer who would be known as Jack the Ripper. T

The Ripper was never caught and it’s maybe this that ensures his place as one of the most infamous serial killers in history. The stories and theories over the years have kept armchair detectives riveted and many, many books have been written about the subject. Read More

7 New Twisty Turny Thrillers That Could be This Year’s Gone Girl

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We all love a good thriller, and the genre has never been so popular. After Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl rewrote the genre we’ve seen so many exciting thrillers, often with strong female characters, all designed to make you change your loyalties from page to page, and that trend is continuing with some fantastic books released this year, filling the void perfectly.

There are hundreds of new thrillers out this year, but for this post we’re specifically featuring books that we think could be this year’s “Gone Girl”, the thriller that kept us all on a roller coaster ride before being made into a major movie. Read More

Penguin Random House Shows Pride with LGBTQ Reading List

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Publishers Penguin Random House has taken to the streets of central London this week to march in support of Pride, an annual event marking the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK.

This year was the year’s fiftieth anniversary and Penguin Random House UK was in partnership with Stonewall to celebrate the importance of representation of LGBTQ people in literature and the progressions of LGBT equality through literature. Read More



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