'Dear Emmie Blue' Author Recommends These Epistolary Romances

Posted by Sharon on July 14, 2020
Author Lia Louis has a penchant for letters. The winner of ELLE magazine's 2015 writing contest with her #RelationshipGoals love letter, Louis also made a letter central to the plot of her 2019 debut Somewhere Close to HappyLizzie, the novel's protagonist, sets off on a journey of discovery (and self-discovery) when she receives a letter from her best friend Roman, dated 12 years earlier on the day that he disappeared.

This month, Louis releases her sophomore romance, Dear Emmie Blue, which features another life-changing letter. This time, it's 16-year-old Emmie Blue who sends a fateful missive—inside a red balloon, no less!—that sparks a longterm, long-distance friendship with Lucas. To celebrate the book's publication, Louis shared with Goodreads some of her favorite romances that involve letters (or emails, or postcards). 

Dear Emmie Blue will be available in the U.S. on July 14.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved letters. Receiving them—that lovely slip and drop through the letterbox, the handwritten words on the envelope, and the anticipation of what’s inside (well, when you’re sure it isn’t a missed appointment from your dentist or a phone bill, of course). And sending a letter. Writing questions you’ll have to wait to be answered, the folding and sealing, and the best part: waiting with a belly of butterflies for someone to write back.

I had pen-pals when I was eight, I wrote to my favorite bands when I was a teen—emailed, actually, as it was in the early 2000s, feeling very cool with my Yahoo address—and in my twenties, I began collecting old, forgotten letters. I found them at flea markets, dumped in boxes along with photos, ornaments, and other things deemed junk but that I deemed stories, untold.
It’s no surprise really, that when I came to write my novel, Dear Emmie Blue, it featured a letter—a note, to be precise, and one attached to a balloon that is let go by a girl. And then found and replied to, by a boy, miles and an ocean away. Because, to me, there is a romance in letters, and even in emails and notes and texts and any other way that we communicate in words—they’re little snippets of time freeze-framed. They tell a story. They become history.
So, if you, like me, are a sucker for all things letters and notes, I hope you’ll enjoy these ten epistolary romance books. Some traditional and some not so, but all of them, undoubtedly, utterly gorgeous escapist tales, set to make your heart swell like a balloon...

If you love the best-friends-to-lovers trope and wrong-place-wrong-time unrequited love, you’ll fall easily for this one. The book is cleverly told in letters, emails, notes, and instant messages, and follows the relationship between best friends Rosie and Alex, who both take a long (but oh-so satisfying in the end!) time to realise they are meant to be together. Cecelia Ahern is the queen of relatable and real-feeling characters, and I can never read this gorgeous book without feeling like I am totally eavesdropping on real emails and messages. A perfect read. I cry every single time.

Maya Flowers sees the same gorgeous man on the train on her way to work every morning. She admires him from afar, thinks about him, talks about him. Train Man. That’s what she and her friends call him. But one day, bravely, Maya decides to slip him a note, and a story of missed opportunities, destiny, and timing begins. The Note is a rich, layered story about love at first sight, and one you’ll find yourself turning the pages of at warp speed to find out if they get together in the end. It’s also based on a true story, which makes it that little bit more magical.

What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales? Red, White & Royal Blue is utterly gorgeous from the second it begins. The two to-die-for main characters, Alex and Henry, at first cannot stand each other. But in the interest of public relations, they stage a truce. A truce that starts as fake, and then turns into a real, secret romance. Back-and-forth emails, references to famous, historic letters, and hate-to-love (one of my favorite tropes), Red, White & Royal Blue is perfect romantic escapist fiction.

Tiffy and Leon share a flat. Tiffy and Leon share a bed. Tiffy and Leon have never met...As soon as I read those lines, I knew I had to read this book. And read it I did—in one delicious sitting. Tiffy needs a cheap flat, and Leon, who works nights, needs cash. So the pair decide to flat-share. Leon has the flat in the day, and Tiffy, at night, and never the twain shall meet...except when they eventually do. But until then, it’s gorgeous little notes left for each other on the fridge, and sometimes added cakes. A delight from chapter one all the way to ‘THE END.’

This book was recommended to me a couple of weeks ago with the promise of ‘chemistry-filled emails’ and that is all it took for me to swiftly add it to my WTR shelf. Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. A sort of bucket list. (Without the dying part.) She needs a teacher—a right-hand man to show her how. And that’s where sexy, tattooed Redford ‘Red’ Morgan comes in. I can’t wait to snuggle up with what sounds like a super sexy, swoony, and sometimes heart-wrenching read.

Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth were once engaged, until Anne broke it off when she was convinced the pair were not a good match. Eight years later, they meet again, and it’s clear old feelings never actually faded away. Persuasion is by far my favourite Jane Austen novel, if only for the utterly dreamy Captain Wentworth, and those heart-melting romantic love letters. ‘You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago.’ With Austen, a romance fan can never go wrong.

In my teen years, I survived on a cocktail of Dr Pepper and Georgia Nicholson books, and this one is my absolute favorite. Georgia Nicholson is a hilarious, warts-and-all teenager who details her everyday ups, downs, and all-consuming crushes in her diaries. Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers finds Georgia head over heels in love with crush Masimo. But then she gets a letter from ex, Sex God Robbie, and is sent into a spin. Laugh-out-loud funny, and a perfect book for when you want to be reminded of that nauseating, dizzying feeling of falling in love in your teens.

A sexy drummer, a publicist who doesn’t date her clients, and a whole lot of longing in emailed memos: what is not to love? I can’t get enough of rock star romances (perhaps it’s the Bon Jovi fangirl in me) and as soon as I read the blurb, I quickly downloaded this gorgeous novella onto my Kindle. I’ve heard such wonderful things about Nalini Singh, and Rock Courtship is one I can’t wait to lose myself in.

This is the fourth book in Jasmine Guillory’s Wedding Date series, but can be read as a standalone. Protagonist Vivian accompanies her daughter on a trip to London where she unexpectedly meets Malcolm, a private secretary to the queen. There is so very much to love about Royal Holiday. The escapist royal thread, the refreshing story of two people in their fifties finding love, and gorgeous back-and-forth letters and postcards. A book to cozy up with.

When teenager Lara Jean gets a crush, she writes them a letter she never posts, but instead keeps in a box under her bed. Until one day, somehow...the letters get sent. What a gorgeous book this is. Jennie Han creates layered, true-feeling characters with depth and insecurities. And it has to be said: the book boyfriend to end all book boyfriends. All hail Peter Kavinsky! To All The Boys I Loved Before is a super sweet and charming read about first love, loss, and growing up.

What are your favorite epistolary romances? Let's talk books in the comments!

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Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Liesl (new)

Liesl Peter Kavinsky for life!

message 2: by Christine (new)

Christine added to my "want to read" list :) I adore love letters

message 3: by William (new)

William V I love to read a lot. I can proudly say that reading is my passion. I was about to know about this from one of my friend who is a writer. Emmie Blue is about to learn everything she thinks she knows about life (and love) is just that: what she thinks she knows. Is there such thing as meant to be? Or is it true when they say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans? [American-writers .org ] A story filled with heart and humor, Dear Emmie Blue is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Evvie Drake Starts Over.

message 4: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Dear Nameless Stranger: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Jeannie Peneaux

message 5: by Emkoshka (last edited Jul 29, 2020 04:19AM) (new)

Emkoshka A golden oldie: 'Daddy Long-Legs' by Jean Webster.

And its modern update: 'Dear Mr Knightley' by Katherine Reay.

message 6: by Sandra (new)

Sandra I really enjoy Love Rosie by Cecelia Ahern .

message 7: by Ash (new)

Ash ~ bookmaniac~ Liesl wrote: "Peter Kavinsky for life!"

same . i love love love him

message 8: by Alyssa (new)

Alyssa Cole Emkoshka wrote: "A golden oldie: 'Daddy Long-Legs' by Jean Webster.

And its modern update: 'Dear Mr Knightley' by Katherine Reay."

"Daddy-Long-Legs" is my favorite! I wish there was a miniseries adaptation based on it in the Masterpiece Classics series.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Emkoshka wrote: "A golden oldie: 'Daddy Long-Legs' by Jean Webster.

And its modern update: 'Dear Mr Knightley' by Katherine Reay."

Have you tried “Dear Enemy,” also by Jean Webster? Her friend Sally is persuaded to run the orphanage that Judy grew up in. All letters, all charming.

message 11: by TMR (new)

TMR Love this list.

message 12: by TMR (new)

TMR Love this list.

The Daydreamologist Man I can't believe Daddy Long Legs got left out. It literally gave birth to this subgenre.

message 14: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth The Daydreamologist wrote: "Man I can't believe Daddy Long Legs got left out. It literally gave birth to this subgenre."
It was mentioned several times.

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