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.

Love Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister US
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.

We Need to Talk About Kevin US
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.

Persuasion US
Persuasion UK

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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!

Love, Rosie US
Where Rainbows End UK

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Harry, Meghan and the Race of the Royal Wedding Books

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The latest royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – has publishers and royal writers all up in a tiz and the race is on for the first of the Royal Wedding books. Royal journalists have been hurry to get published books out there in the market with Andrew Morton understandably winning the race, but if you want a souvenir book about the latest royal wedding then there are plenty to choose from, released and coming soon.

Today we’re going to take a look at the best new releases, out or coming out soon that feature the latest royal couple. Here they are, along with release dates and information.
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8 Books that Capture Caribbean Voices and the Spirit of the Windrush Generation

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Dominating the news in the UK and around the world this week is the despicable treatment of the Windrush generation, a generation of Caribbean migrants who came to Britain after World War II to provide labour.

The name comes from HMT Windrush, a troopship that brought 492 migrant workers to Tilbury Docks, London on 22nd June 1948. These people were the first to land on our shores, and the name came to mean anyone that arrived in this movement, which lasted until 1971. Read More

Harriet Tubman Day – 5 Great Reads

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Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave who went on to become a saviour to many, an abolitionist and anti-slavery activist. Born into slavery in around 1822, Tubman escaped to freedom, and subsequently made some thirteen missions back to the south, helping to rescue around 70 families using a network of safe houses known as the underground railroad.

When the Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army and was the first woman to lead an armed expedition when she led the raid at Combahee Ferry, which liberated more then 700 slaves. Read More

5 Characters from Literature We’d Love to Party With

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Literature remains one of our favourite pastimes because books are able to transport us from our own lives and bring us exciting new adventures we could only have dreamed of. With the help of literature, we can visit far off places, meet wonderful new people, explore fantasy worlds, embark on epic quests, solve crimes, visit bygone eras of history and, every now and then, attend really awesome parties. In today’s article, we’re looking at five characters from literature we’d love to party with. Read More

New York Bookstore Features Books from Sh*thole Countries

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Turning negatives into positives is always a good thing, and right now we’re in love with Rough Draft Bar and Books in New York for their display featuring authors from ‘shithole countries’.

Since he has taken office, President Trump has done a pretty good job at offending the rest of the world. A while ago he banned travellers from many Muslim countries and we responded by featuring a list of books from the Muslim ban list. Read More

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

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