Karla's Reviews > Dear James

Dear James by Jon Hassler
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's review
Jan 19, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: adult-fiction, book-club, letters
Read in January, 2009

Agatha McGee, staunch Catholic school teacher and grande dame of small town Staggerford, is dismayed when her school is closed down. At age 70, with seemingly no purpose to her existence, she struggles with depression. Then she receives a letter from former penpal, James O'Hannan, begging her to reopen communication. She had broken off writing to James after traveling to Ireland three years previously to meet him, and discovered the man she had fallen in love with was a priest. In an effort to fight the depression and recharge her spiritual life, Agatha travels to Italy where she encounters James. While Agatha is traveling in Italy, a former pupil finds and reads Agatha's letters from James, then reveals her opinions of the townsfolk in a malicious attempt to discredit Agatha in the eyes of the community. The author deals with issues of small town life, love and betrayal, aging, spirituality, and forgiveness with a sure hand and wonderfully drawn characters. I was especially drawn to the tender romance between Agatha and James, and the thought that the inner life of someone at age 70 is no different than at age 40. A book for fans of the Mitford series ~ with a little more depth.
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05/21/2016 marked as: read

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