Friday, June 29, 2018

Review: "The Love Letter" by Rachel Hauck

There's just something special about a Rachel Hauck novel. If I had to pick one thing, I'd say it's the way she weaves the supernatural seamlessly into the story. It's never heavy handed, and it feels like it could really happen ... and who am I to say it couldn't? Read one of her books, and you'll see what I mean.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a story of long-lost love and its redemption in future generations.

Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte—in life or on screen. But everyone knows who to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.

When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.

Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted—something straight from the heart.

Set in stunning upcountry South Carolina, The Love Letter is a beautifully-crafted story of the courage it takes to face down fear and chase after love, even in the darkest of times. And just maybe, all these generations later, love can come home in a way not even Hollywood could imagine.

Split Time (Contemporary/Revolutionary War)
Release Date: June 12, 2018

Chills. Tears. Happy Sighs. I experienced all of those while reading The Love Letter. From the second Chloe appeared on the page, I knew I was going to love her as a main character. Her chemistry with Jesse was palpable, and I loved the way Hauck wrote their stutter-step romance, which had a frustrating yet real feel to it. The faith thread in both of their stories was incredibly relatable and completely rang true. Basically, I could not get enough of the pages written from Chloe's and Jesse's viewpoints.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same for Hamilton and Esther. The Love Letter is a split time novel, with part of the book in the present with Chloe and Jesse and part in the past with Hamilton and Esther. For probably two-thirds of the novel, every time I was reading about Hamilton and Esther, I just wanted to get back to Chloe and Jesse. The story was written well, but I just didn't particularly connect with either Hamilton or Esther. However, Hauck does weave their story into Chloe and Jesse's story in surprising and ultimately satisfying ways (see the aforementioned chills), and I loved seeing how Hamilton's and Esther's stories ended up.

So, while I didn't enjoy Hamilton and Esther too much while I was reading about them, I did end the novel with an appreciation for them and their story. And Chloe and Jesse definitely rank right up there with some of my favorite book couples ... so overall, I'd say this book is a win. (And can we please get a book featuring Chloe's costar Chris? I feel like he has a great story to tell.) 4 stars.

Note: For fans of Hauck's Royal Wedding series, there's a nice little tie-in to that world in a blink-or-you'll-miss-it scene. And as Hauck already has a relationship with the Hallmark Channel (her Once Upon a Prince was made into a movie that aired earlier this year), I think this would be an excellent project for Hallmark ... probably the Movies & Mysteries division, with much less Hamilton and Esther, and maybe transplanted to a Christmas setting. Just my two cents ...

Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Hauck's Royal Wedding novels Once Upon a Prince (5 stars), Princess Ever After (5 stars), and How to Catch a Prince (5 stars) and the Royal Wedding novellas A March Bride (4 stars) and A Royal Christmas Wedding (5 stars); The Wedding Dress (4-1/2 stars); The Wedding Chapel (5 stars); and The Wedding Shop (5 stars).

Follow the blog tour:
Among the Reads, June 21
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 21
The Avid Reader, June 21
Genesis 5020, June 21
ansel book blog, June 22
Blogging With Carol, June 22
Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, June 22
Cover to Cover and Everything in Between, June 23
The Power of Words, June 23
Luv’N Lambert Life, June 23
Janices book reviews, June 23
C Jane Read, June 24
Kristin’s Book Reviews, June 24
Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 25
Faithfully Bookish, June 25
By The Book, June 25
Reading Is My SuperPower, June 25
Kat’s Corner Books, June 26
Maureen’s Musings, June 26
Ladybug Chronicles, June 26
Carpe Diem, June 26
Moments Dipped in Ink, June 27
Mommynificent , June 27
Godly Book Reviews, June 27
God’s Little Bookworm, June 28
Radiant Light, June 28
All-of-a-kind Mom, June 28
Have A Wonderful Day, June 28
Novels corner, June 29
Blossoms and Blessings, June 29
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 29
Bigreadersite, June 29
Pause for Tales, June 30
Bibliophile Reviews, June 30
Splashes of Joy, June 30
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 1
Simple Harvest Reads, July 1
The Christian Fiction Girl, July 1
A Baker’s Perspective, July 1
Remembrancy, July 2
amandainpa, July 2
To Everything A Season, July 2
proud to be an autism mom, July 3
Texas Book-aholic, July 3
Christian Author, J.E.Grace, July 3
Fiction, Faith, and Fun, July 4
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 4
Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 4


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away

Grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7
Semi-Grand prize of a book basket
2nd – 4th place prize of a copy of The Love Letter!!

Click below to enter. 

Rachel Hauck
is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times. She is a double RITA finalist, a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Rachel sits on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, and is the comical sidekick to Susan May Warren at the amazing My Book Therapy. She is a worship leader and speaker.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel is a devoted Ohio State football fan. She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

Guest Post by Rachel Hauck

I’m always looking for story ideas. My husband does a standard disclaimer when I start drilling into a conversation with questions like:

“Really? So why did you do that?”

“Have you sought help?”

“Was it love at first sight?”

Hubster says, “Warning, anything you say can end up in a book.”

Of course, stories abound! Interesting people abound!

Then again, sometimes ideas just hit out of the blue. A few years ago I had the idea of a young, contemporary couple meeting by “accident” only to learn that their great grandparents were in love but time, life, family, war, or society made their love impossible.

I suppose there are a hundred ways to tell such a story but when it came time to write The Love Letter, I was slightly infatuated with the Poldark series on PBS.

Set in 18th century Cornwall, the story and the characters were so dynamic I had to write my own version of Poldark.

But could I write a split time with a 240 year difference? I mean, they didn’t have electricity or phones in 1780! They didn’t even have a postal system. Letters were carried by traveling friends or family.

What possible conflicts could my historical characters face? What event could be so dark and tragic to keep them apart?

The Revolutionary War created a perfect backdrop for my young lovers.

I set the story in upcountry South Carolina not realizing the battle I chose for the back drop, the Battle of Cowpens, was the inspiration for the movie The Patriot. (A fav movie of mine!)

For the contemporary story, I started with shoes. I mean, doesn’t every thing start with shoes?

 “Nice outfit but what shoes are you wearing?”

 “You’re going on a date? You need new shoes.”

What we “walk in” can either empower or defeat us. There’s a spiritual metaphor I’ll mediate on for awhile.

However, the shoe angle didn’t quite work, so the contemporary story ended up in Hollywood with an actor/screenwriter and an actress.

Both worlds—1780 upcountry South Carolina and contemporary Hollywood—were a bit out of my southern bailiwick.

I did a lot of research on the war and the colonial south. Where I couldn’t find details, I filled in with my imagination.

As for Hollywood, I talked with a screenwriter friend, read books, watched interviews, and then, you know, made the rest up. Don’t you know I eventually ended up on a movie set—Once Upon A Prince—four days after I finished reading the galley proofs for The Love Letter!

One of the hardest parts of the story was the actual love letter. What did it say? Who wrote it and why? Was there more than one? No, only one. But why only one?

I must have written and rewritten the letter five different ways to Sunday before I settled on the magical one.

During the course of the book, I realized I’d never written a love letter. Have you?

I’ve written sentiments to my husband on an anniversary or birthday card. I speak my love and affection out loud all the time. But a bonafide love letter?

A love letter is its own art form. They range from sickly sweet with a lot of “darlings” and “sweethearts” to Shakespearean sonnets.

There’s a vulnerability that comes with writing a love letter. Putting one’s heart on the page creates a new level of commitment with your affections.

Will the reader receive your words? Will the reader respond in kind?

It’s fascinating to consider the purpose of a love letter. Have we lost something intrinsic to the human heart with our instant texting and email society.

Can you imagine Romeo texting to Juliet in 2018?

Saw you at your window. You looked hot.

Doesn’t quite have the same ring as: “But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun.”

Scripture is a continuous love letter. “For God so loved the world—”

Whether you write love letters or poems, or quick texts, or put XO’s on cards to loved ones, write a love letter this month.

Write one to yourself, to Jesus, a spouse, child, parent, friend, foe—

See how it will bless your heart! Off to write my love letter…

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. This sounds like a wonderful book!

  2. I'd love to read this story. I'm still thinking about who I could write a love letter to...maybe the book will inspire me!

    1. So glad the comment went through for you, Lora :-) It's a great story!


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