Epistolary Novels

June 22, 2020

My dear, dear Reader:

I hope that this letter finds you well, and that your family is in good health. I am writing because I have been working on a new book list, and I wanted to share it with you. It’s all about epistolary novels. My dear friend, if you are not familiar with this wonderful form of literature, please let me acquaint you!

Epistolary novels are stories written entirely through letters (like this one) and journal entries. In more modern variants, they are told through emails, text messages, online message boards/forums, and more. I’ve even seen some that make use of transcripts of both audio recordings and video recordings. The variety is simply staggering!

In closing this letter, I have included a list of these titles for you. I hope that you find them as interesting as I did. Happy reading!

Yours, Erin

***

We’ll start this list off with something spooky. The Supernatural Enhancements is a chilling, Gothic tale about A., an unexpected heir of the Wells family. Together with his companion, Niamh, A. moves in to the old estate. But, as with any good ghost story, things are never that simple. The previous owner of Axton House committed suicide by jumping out of a third-story window, just as his father did before him. Told entirely through journal entries, letters, security footage, scrawled notes, and ciphers, this cryptic and creepy novel is a real page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine is the story of Alaine Beauparlant, and the very unusual trip she has following the incident (don’t ask) that results in her getting suspended from school, and sent to Haiti for a “spring volunteer immersion project”. Definitely not a vacation. But, that doesn’t mean taht it’s all bad. Alaine might be toiling under the watchful eye of Tati Estelle, but she’s also learning a lot about herself and her Haitian root in the process. Told through letters, articles, diary entries, and email, Alaine’s documented journey proves to be very different than she had hoped for, but certainly more rewarding.

Author Juliet Ashton is stuck in a rut when she receives an intriguing letter from Dawsey Adams, of Guernsey. By chance, he had found a book she once owned, and the two start communicating via letters. As their friendship deepens, Dawsey tells Juliet all about life in Guernsey, how the community survived the German occupation, and the book club they formed (at first out of a necessary deception), which blossomed into something truly special: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Soon, Juliet is communicating with other members of the society, and before long, finds herself drawn into the fascinating tale of a group that is every bit as extraordinary as its name, and the fate of the missing woman who started it all.

The Assassination of Bragwain Spurge starts off simply enough. Uptight, unlikable historian Brangwain Spurge is an Elf on a mission: to deliver a very special gift to the leader of the Goblin Kingdom. It’s a dangerous assignment, as the Elves and Goblins have been at war for over 100 years. Goblin archivist Werfel is delighted. He’s been assigned to be Spurge’s guide and host during his visit. But, there are complications. Spurge is doing more than just delivering a peace offering. He’s also spying on the Goblins, sending back visual messages of his observations to his bosses back home. Meanwhile, his cold, rigid attitude has made him incredibly unpopular with the Goblins, while his poor host Werfel bends over backwards to accommodate Spurge and make him feel at home. Of course, nothing is ever easy, and as miscommunications and cultural faux pas abound, both guest and host find themselves in deadly danger.

Jason Fitger is not having an easy time of things. This overworked professor’s professional (and personal) life are falling into disrepair after a series of complications come his way. With budget cuts, a nearly non-existent romantic life, and some repercussions from using his past romances quite heavily in his creative writing, Jason is at the end of his rope. Dear Committee Members is told through a series of letters of recommendation that Jason is forced to write, for both students and colleagues, each one showcasing the highs and lows of his tortured state of mind.

If you enjoyed this book, consider checking out the sequel: The Shakespeare Requirement.

Erin

I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.