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Letters for Scarlet

(Friendship & Secrets #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  206 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Pain can take a lifetime to heal, but hope lasts even longer…

Corie Harper is twenty-eight years old when she is first visited by a ghost—in the form of a graduation letter she forgot she wrote. Although she spent a decade burying that desperate girl and her regrets, each page resurrects the past, dragging Corie back to a time when all she craved was Scarlet Hinden’s friend
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 4th 2016 by Velvet Morning Press
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
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Katie B
3.5 stars

This turned out to be a really quick read for me. I settled down with it in the evening and finished before it was time to go to bed. Unlike my last book, this actually featured characters I was interested in which is probably why it was an enjoyable reading experience. This is the second novel in the series but can easily be read as a standalone.

Corie and Scarlet were best friends. Until they weren't. Ten years later Corie is married to the guy that came between them, Tucker. She recei
Lucy Pollard-Gott
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Epistolary novels–novels in which the narrative is entrusted to letters between characters–have long fascinated me. Ever since I read Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (or parts of it–it is very long), I have thought of this 18th-century masterpiece as the quintessential example of the form. Despite its length, it is exquisitely suspenseful because the author has such ingenious control over disclosure of the facts and the secrets, little by little. This feature should make the form attractive to aut ...more
Robin Bielman
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that stays with you long after you've finished reading it. It's real and honest and I loved it. Family, friendship, and love are the focal points of this story and the characters were written with such depth that I was right there with them. I could feel the tension, the love, the decisions, and as much as I wanted to rush to read the ending, I couldn't because I wanted and needed time to digest every wonderful nugget. This book gave me all the feels and I can't recomm ...more
Jessica Gottlieb
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have to let this book settle in a bit. These are wonderful characters who you end up furious with but still loving. Sort of like most people in your life.

It's a great read.
catherine ♡
*Thank you to the author for providing a free e-copy of this book for a review!*

Actual Rating: 4.5

Wow, okay. I have to let this book settle for a little bit. The entire novel was an emotional roller coaster. I guess I should break it down.

First of all, Letters for Scarlet is written in two perspectives, which y'all know I usually don't enjoy very much. I kind of wonder what this book would be like if it was written from a single perspective, but I definitely know, that even though it took me a w
Cameron Garriepy
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book. It's difficult for me to more eloquently articulate my feelings about Letters for Scarlet. Not because I didn't fly through my advance copy, thinking I'd solved the mystery twice, thinking I had the end figured out, only to be surprised with each turn of the chapters. Not because I wasn't drawn to her complex, achingly human characters, not because I didn't feel the California settings as if I were in them.

Because the story conjures up so many memories and feelings.

Jennie Goutet
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Letters for Scarlet is well-written with relatable, multi-dimensional characters and a setting that is so real you can almost touch it. I worried when I thought some of the characters were about to make a stupid mistake (no spoilers on whether or not they did) and wanted to cheer when they got through a particular hump. I was fully invested in the characters' lives and thought about the book when I wasn't reading it.

The story is about friendship, broken trust and a mysterious past, the messiness
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Mystery, hidden truth, betrayal.

The book tells two parallel stories about two ex-best-friends. Corina, a teacher, loves children and unsuccessfully keeps trying to get pregnant. Scarlet, a successful and independent woman, gets pregnant unexpectedly and considers an abortion. What had split them apart over 10 years ago? Will they be able to forget about the past?

The book is well-written and it reads smoothly. The curiosity about the mysterious past made me read the whole book at once. Corina was
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a review copy of Letters for Scarlet. I have had mixed experiences with books I get as part of the member giveaways.

This was one of the good ones. Very well written. You can connect to the characters and understand their struggles. I found it hard to put down the book until I got to the end.

The story revolves around two estranged friends Scarlet and Corie. There was a time when the two were inseparable. They were actually a trio with Tucker making up the third. A secret event (hunted
Charlene Ross
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I really loved this book! This is a story full of heartbreak; the disappointments and irony of life; and most (and best) of all, hope.

This story takes place after Corie Harper receives a letter she wrote to herself 10 years ago as an assignment in her 12th grade English class and is asked to deliver a 10 year letter to Scarlet Hinden, her former best friend whom she became estranged from on the night of their high school graduation. Corie, married the boy she and Scarlet both loved in high
Lizzie Harwood
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Get ready to be seduced by smart prose and fab observations. This is what I love about reading–discovering an author whose voice is funny, never clichéd, and has… that elusive wow factor. Julie C. Gardner's prose zips along at breakneck speed and you find yourself devouring this book in record time. There's something about how she captures the zeitgeist feel of the end of high school, and that fear of who-am-I? that can hit as 30 looms. This novel speaks to all that plus more.

The main character
Irene Adam
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as an ebook free from the author through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. The author develops each main character fully in this well written book. It has been 10 years since their high school graduation. The three main characters, Scarlet, Corie, and Tucker, were inseparable all through high school but a tragic event one night before their graduation changes their lives and causes Scarlet to completely cut herself off from Corie and Tucker. Scarlet blames herse ...more
Shell Roush
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-books
"In the end, we take our pasts with us into the future, curls of smoke after a fire. Without the fire, there would be no smoke. And without who we were, we can't be who we are." -Letters for Scarlet

Do you have that moment that defined you, that sent your life down another path... most of us do, even if it isn't as dramatic as what happened to three high school friends 10 years ago. Letters for Scarlet tells the story of those three friends now while slowly revealing what happened on that awful n
Jena Henry
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This haunting and evocative book looks at our closest relationships. Relationships between best friends, between husband and wife, between mother and child. The main characters in this book, Corie and Scarlet are captive to problems from their past which continue to haunt their present day lives. Their demons are, for the most part, common to young people coming of age, but the main thrust of this book is that it is not so much about the troubles, but rather how we face our flaws. We must all le ...more
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Letters for Scarlet is a bittersweet tale of longtime friends, and wounds that need healing. Scarlet and Corie are not unlike many youthful friends, who, upon stumbling into adulthood, find that they cannot initially overcome the inevitably associated growing pains. The fallout from the blame they place on themselves and each other shapes their path as they move through life. Ultimately, it all catches up with them and everything comes to the surface, as it must. Julie Gardner weaves this story ...more
Digital Book Freak
Review rating 5+ Hopeful Stars.

Where do I start? There was just so much happening in this book and such amazing characters!

This is a story full of hope, expectations, loss and disappointments...


Letters for Scarlet describes the struggle of one woman, Corie, trying to win back her best friend, Scarlet, after a big fallout & a horrible event that spiraled out of control one fateful night...10 years ago.

Tuck, Scarlet & Corie were inseparable. Best friends. Until both Scarlet and Corie fell for the
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Corie and Scarlet were best friends in high school. There was a third member of their group, Tuck. Corie fell madly in love with Tuck, which caused a definite rift in her friendship with Scarlet, but was that the only cause? Neither Corie nor Scarlet has had any contact with each other since the rift. In the book, both are now 28. Corie, married to Tuck, is a teacher. She and Tuck hope to start a family, but are having difficulty, which upsets Corie. Scarlet is an attorney, involved with another ...more
Connie Anderson
When I began this book, it seemed like a Debbie Downer. One couple broke up, another was taking a break from each other, and the man was hitting on another woman (and he has two children). The third couple are married, but the wife thinks he is about to leave her for another woman. Oy vey! Soon, you find out that two women and the one woman's husband were best friends in high school, then something happened. The two got married. The other girl liked him the same amount.

There are so many secrets
Angela Amman
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This debut novel by Julie C. Gardner examines what happens when the past and the present collide, unearthing secrets that can change relationships — for better and for worse. An old high school English project literally enters Corie's life, coaxing her to examine what she has, what she wants, and how the two of those things are connected to what she lost so many years ago. Scarlet has carved out the successful career she always wanted, but now she's being confronted with doubts about her own asp ...more
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a free eBook copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This was a very interesting story. It follows to two former friends Scarlet and Corie, 10 years after a horrific accident and a falling out between them over their other friend Tucker. Corie is now an English teacher, married to Tucker and are both desperately trying to get pregnant. Scarlet is a successful lawyer who shields herself from get to close to anyone, even her boyfriend Glen. The girls' lives become intertwine ...more
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Library Thing Early Reviewers.
"Letters For Scarlet" is about two women who were best friends, until one night tore them apart. Twenty-eight-year-old Corie is haunted by a letter she forgot she wrote. It was written to herself ten years earlier. Corie tried to bury the past, but the letter brings up painful memories. A time when Corie was desperate to be friends with Scarlet and fall in love with Tuck Slater.
Corie's ex-best-friend is hau
Amber Kirbey
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I liked the formatting of this book. You switch between sections from one character’s point of view to the other’s. The author also mixes in letters that have been written from Corie to Scarlet. The book focuses on two women who used to be friends. You get glimpses of their current lives mixed in with pieces of their past via the letters. It is apparent right away that something happened to ruin the once strong friendship between the women. There are secrets you must discover in their past and p ...more
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book surprised me. The story was haunting and beautiful. A sorrowful parting of ways, a yearning to reconnect, a desire for a family to grow. I loved reading every word because each was filled with insight and promise. I did, however, think I knew where it was going and was I ever wrong, which made it even better! Excited to read more by this author.
T.L. Clark
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I can't believe this is the author's debut novel. It's very well written.

Three best friends are torn apart.
Two of them end up together, whilst the third is left alone.
They all suffer from the separation, and 10 years on the repercussions are still ever present.

This is a story of healing after tragedy.

I love the 10 year letters the characters receive, and the message their young selves wanted to convey to them.

The characters are well developed, and I was rooting for a happy ending (I won't tel
Alison Lee
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Long after turning the final page on this delightful read, I found myself thinking about the characters. What happens to them next? What is their future? To me, this is a mark of a great book. One that makes you CARE about the characters. The friendships described in the book are realistic - fraught with angst, filled with love, and always messy. The plotline and story were engaging, and I couldn't put the book down. Wonderful debut effort! ...more
This story is one I think most of us can relate to as it is the story of two young girls who become best friends in high school and believe with all their hearts they will be friends for a lifetime.

They are wrong.

Told from alternating viewpoints and timelines, the story of Scarlet and Corie explores the impact and the long-term effects when a best friend betrays that friendship in what a high school age girl thinks is the worst way possible.

While they were in school, the girls had an assignment
Mindy Kay Powers
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Letters for Scarlet is an incredibly well-written book, and while it occasionally annoyed me that it switches between present tense, first person (Corie), and the typical past literary tense, third person (Scarlet) (the only reason I don’t rate this as a 5), I love how invested you get with the characters, how badly you want to find out what happened between them so many years prior. I love how each chapter as interspersed with a different letter Corie continues to write to Scarlet, once the 10 ...more
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it

I enjoyed this book mainly because I could relate to these girls – I also had friendships during my high school years that somehow vanished. Nothing really happened; we just stopped keeping in touch, but it makes you wonder how is it possible that you were almost 24 hours per day together in the past, and now you don’t know anything about their lives. So that’s what made the novel interesting to me: following Corie’s attempt to get closer to Scarlet again, and the latter’s reaction.

Full review
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Julie C. Gardner's debut novel, Letters for Scarlet, is a terrific read. Her words jump off the page and her descriptions are quite vivid and alive. Almost immediately you have a connection with her characters. They are developed and fully dimensional people whom you care about deeply. Their stories are compelling and Gardner's language is precise. I didn't want to stop reading and had a difficult time putting the book down for very long. I look forward to reading more from her in the future. Al ...more
Julie Jo Jo
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've admired Ms. Gardner's writing in the past and couldn't wait to dive into this book. I'm an English major, so I'm a little biased toward other English majors (and people named Julie). Anyway, this book of hers did not disappoint, from the first page on. The writing is a breeze, as is typical of her, and the story, characters, and relationships are messy and lovable and rich. The premise of the book with Corie receiving a letter she wrote to herself a decade ago for high school English class ...more
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Julie C. Gardner is a former English teacher and lapsed marathon runner who traded in the classroom for a writing nook. Now she rarely changes out of her pajamas. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children and three dogs.

To find out more about Julie and her upcoming books, visit or follow her on Twitter (@juliecgardner), Instagram (@juliecgardner), and her F

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Friendship & Secrets (3 books)
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