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The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,359 ratings  ·  358 reviews
A cache of unsent love letters from the 1950s is found in a suitcase on a remote island in this mysterious love story in the tradition of the novels by Kate Morton and Elizabeth Gilbert .

1951. Esther Durrant, a young mother, is committed to an isolated mental asylum by her husband. Run by a pioneering psychiatrist, the hospital is at first Esther’s prison but soon surpr
Paperback, 400 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published May 28th 2019)
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Kayte Nunn Thanks for your question Shelley, there are parts of Pittwater that are accessible by car, but there are also those that are water-access only - Scotl…moreThanks for your question Shelley, there are parts of Pittwater that are accessible by car, but there are also those that are water-access only - Scotland Island, Elvina Bay and more. Hope this helps.(less)

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Diane S ☔
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bittersweet. Desperate times call for desperate measures and yes I read a book that has a great deal of love, lost and found. Loved it! Perfect book for me right now . A house on an island whose doctors treated those unable to cope after the war. Esther, is there for a different reason, one of great loss. Two timelines, the current features a young researcher, Rachel, who never stays in one place for more than a few years. Leah, a recluse, with sorrows of her own. Letters found, love books that ...more
It was 1951 when young mother Esther Durrant accompanied her husband John on an unexpected holiday. But unbeknown to her, John was leaving her in the care of a doctor, on an isolated island far from her home and her boy, Teddy. When Esther realized what had happened it was far too late to do anything about it. Abandoned and in the company of other mentally wounded men, nevertheless Esther gradually began to heal.

2018 and in her twenties, Eve had thought she would be with her boyfriend but the fa
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2020
Kayte Nunn is a new author to me and I very much enjoyed this book. The narrative follows two time lines and three stories, all of which come together in a neat ending.

Esther Durrant is an unfortunate woman who suffers depression after the birth of her baby and ends up being committed for psychiatric care by her husband. I am glad we are more enlightened these days! Events do not turn out quite the way expected, relationships are formed and broken, and several people suffer huge changes in their
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Every once in a while a very special book comes into your hands at EXACTLY the right time. The Forgotten Letters by Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn is that book. It came to me at a time when I needed it the most. This absolutely exquisite and superbly told tale of love, family, sacrifice, endurance, the strength of the human spirit and long held secrets is a novel that I could easily award all the stars for.

A collection of letters provides an essential link fro
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn. (2019).

1951: Esther, a young mother, is committed to an isolated mental asylum by her husband. It is at first her prison but then becomes her refuge.
2018: Rachel, a free-spirited marine scientist, discovers a collection of hidden love letters and is determined to track down the intended recipient.
Also in 2018, Eve is helping her grandmother, a renowned mountaineer, write her memoir
DJ Sakata
Favorite Quotes:

Beneath a pewter sky and afloat on an even darker sea, she was reminded of Charon, the ferryman of Hades, transporting newly dead souls across the Acheron and the Styx.

“You have the blood of a lizard.” He released her and placed his palm below her collarbone. “There is a stone where a heart should be.”

I suppose I am drawn to broken things. As a boy I loved to fix, to repair and restore. The same goes for me now, except it is people not toys.

It might not have been the right decisi
Mar 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Two women from very different eras the story switches between 1951- Esther and 2018 – Rachel.
It’s a story about lost love: choices, feelings of guilt (justified or not) and of course, consequences.
It is interesting to note how women were perceived differently between 1951 and 2018.
I haven’t quite figured out Leah’s relationship to the story except that it is her home where the letters are found.
I was more taken with Esther’s story which seemed to have more atmosphere and depth, although it is
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
4.25 Nostalgic Stars

This book has three different storylines that all connect in a wonderful way by the end of the book and I was captivated by the setting, islands southwest of Cornwall, England – Isles of Scilly. Now, more than ever, books are my way to travel since I can’t do it in real life just yet.

One storyline of course features Esther Durrant and how mental health was dealt with in the 1950s. It is terrifying to me as a woman that then a husband could commit his wife for as long as he wo
Dale Harcombe
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story opens in 1951 with John and Esther Durrant making their way to the south west top of England. Esther thinks it a strange choice for a holiday especially since it is only early November. Plus they had leave their young son Teddy at home with the nanny. It is only after they arrive at Little Embers, she finds that it is not a holiday at all. John has her committed to a small isolated mental asylum. The next chapter starts in 2018 with free spirited marine scientist Rachel Parker leaving ...more
Karren  Sandercock
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to NetGalley, Hachette Australia and Kayte Nunn for my digital copy of her new book : The Forgotten Letters Of Esther Durrant and I really enjoyed reading this book.
In 1951, John and Esther Durrant leave to go on a holiday and John has secretly made other plans! Esther finds herself isolated on a small island off the coast of Cornwall, she's not very happy when she discovers that she has been tricked by her husband and he did what he thought was the best for her at the time.

Esther is stay
I already enjoyed this book. If you are looking for a historical fiction book that is not about the war this is a book for you. Esther is put into a hospital fill of man that has had issues after fighting in the war (but that is not what this book is about). Esther was put their because she had major depression after having her baby. The book show Esther back when she was in the hospital and 2018 when a women founds the letters (that was written to her when she was in the hospital). I won a ARC ...more
Theresa Smith
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aww2019
‘A seam of light escaping heavy curtains that had been drawn across a window came into focus and she raised her head to fully appraise herself of her surroundings. She had no idea where she was. Beneath her, an eiderdown, on top of her a blanket, though she was clothed beneath it. She tried to move her arms but found that they were securely wrapped around her waist. A coarse fabric chafed at her neck. She rolled to one side in an attempt to free her arms, but it was in vain. She had been bound. ...more
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant is a terrific historical fiction novel from Australian author Kayte Nunn. Unfolding in dual timelines (1950s and 2018), the story is told from three character perspectives: Rachel (Marine Scientist), Esther Durrant (of the title) and Eve, looking after her grandmother in London.

It has to be said that I'm not usually a fan of romance novels or a great love story, but somehow Kayte Nunn tricked me by writing such a compelling historical fiction novel about a
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘It wasn’t their usual destination for a holiday and the timing was hardly ideal.’

In the autumn of 1951, John and Esther Durrant embarked on what she thought would be a holiday. But Esther quickly discovers that the house on the isolated island off the coast of Cornwall is a private mental asylum. She’s angry with John for committing her to this asylum and frustrated that she is unable to leave. Dr Richard Cresswell, the psychiatrist who runs the asylum, takes a small number of patients. Esther
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
Beautifully-written and full of romance, nostalgia, mystery, and intrigue, The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn is a story of two women whose stories intertwine across history and through shared emotions. Beautiful and powerful!

It is no secret that I am finishing up my PhD in psychology, and I am very passionate about mental health and women’s issues. This book just spoke to me on so many levels, I found it to be a powerful story exploring the challenges women have faced through
Sharah McConville
I love stories set on isolated, windswept islands so The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant lived up to my expectations. Thanks to Books With Heart Book Club for my copy of the June edition of their group read. I enjoyed Kayte Nun's book immensely. ...more
What a joyful experience it was reading this well-rendered story. Both of the female protagonists were such interesting characters and I was wondering all the while just how the two tales would converge.

The remote locale and island setting made the book a very atmospheric read. That coupled with the well-developed plot and empathetic characters assured that it will be one of my favourite novels read this year.

If I had to find one fault with it is that the ending seemed to come on suddenly, yet,
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
What a simply beautiful story. Whilst it was predictable it was warm and friendly. You go between two different eras and two strong women. It's captivating and hard to put down. Well done Kayte Nunn! I look forward to more from you. ...more
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story that I found very hard to put down, the story of two woman one in the 1950’s and one in 2018 and the story of a love that lasts for over sixty years, the strength and courage shown by Esther and what she went through back in 1950 will have you turning the pages, a fabulous story that I highly recommend.

Esther Durrant is a young wife and mother living in England, it is 1951 and she has been sent away to an isolated island is the Scilly Isles by her husband to get help from a psych
Melanie  Brinkman
Even the things left unsaid may yet still be heard.

1951: When Esther Durrant, is committed to an isolated mental asylum by her husband, she thinks it will be nothing more than a prison. Run by an unconventional psychiatrist, she never expects for it to become her refuge.

2018: Embarking on a new job, Rachel Parker comes to the Isles of Scilly, off the Cornish Coast. When a violent storm forces her to take shelter on a far-flung island, she discovers a collection of unsent love letters. Moved by t
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read, historical
It is crazy to me to think that only a few decades ago, husbands were allowed to commit their wives for mental issues. This is the story of Esther Durrant, who leaves home with her husband thinking they’re going on vacation only to find that he is leaving her at a private and isolated treatment facility for mental issues because he thinks she needs it.

1951: Esther Durrant is left at a small facility with a few other gentleman residents. These are men that have served in the military and have iss
Ginger Bensman
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant was selected by my book club. There are five of us with a variety of ideas about what makes a good book, and this choice ended up being enjoyed by everyone. It's a pleasant book for a lazy afternoon--full of characters to care about, a great setting (mostly the Isles of Scilly), and a compelling plot with a dual timeline that kept us all reading from beginning to end. ...more
Yolanda Sfetsos
Last year I read and really enjoyed The Botanist's Daughter, so of course I was interested in checking out this author's latest release.

The location might confuse her, but Esther Durrant thinks she's heading out for a nice holiday with her husband. After the heartache she's been through, she's glad for the break. But soon after arriving at the isolated island, she realises something isn't right.

Rachel Parker is an Australian marine scientist who travels all over the world. She doesn't like spend
Morgan | Mashleas Reads
The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant was beautiful, hauntingly well written and completely engaging.

It is written with intertwining points of view to construct a mystery of life, love and sacrifice. It is well crafted to engage readers emotions and take them on a journey. And what a wonderful journey it was. It was so easy to read, kept me wanting more and made my heart swell with both admiration and heartbreak.

Esther Durrant is taken on holiday in Southern England by her husband, and unbek
Debbie G
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love starting a book and immediately feel like you have been wrapped in a snuggly blanket and can settle in for a wonderful read. Kayte Nunn certainly delivers in this captivating tale set on a remote Cornish Island. The indomitable spirits of her characters shine through in this dual timeline as the forgotten letters lead us on an intersecting trail of healing, love and secrets. I didn't want it to end. ...more
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fictional history/multigenerational family saga at its best for me with a story that opens in 1951 & runs until 2018. Many themes for female book review clubs! Brava talented author latte Durrant!
The Lost Letters of Esther Durrant is a dual timeline novel set in both 1951 & 2017. The book starts in 1951 with Esther's husband taking her on a supposed holiday to the Scilly Islands, I was horrified at the turn of events when it turns out he is committing her to an asylum. I had to put the book down I was that disturbed that a husband could have the power to do something so underhanded. I felt Esther's shock and disbelief in what was happening to her.

In 2017 we have two separate stories, the
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This beautifully written historical novel has characters that will endear themselves to you as soon as you meet them. It's told in two distinctive time periods, in three locations with 4 main characters. It isn't difficult to keep the characters and time periods separate and by doing it this way, the reader is able to not only see a life event but also to see the repercussions of that event years later.

In 1951, Esther Durrant's husband told her that they were going on vacation. They traveled fro
Ashley *Booksbrewsandbarks*
4.5 rounding up to 5. Even though there were periods of time in the middle of the book that dragged more than I would have liked, I greatly enjoyed this piece of historical fiction. Featuring three timelines, two in present day and one in 1951, this book weaves together a tale where romance takes a backseat to more difficult subjects such as Postpartum depession, PTSD, and mental illness in general.

The author does a great job at layering the story with storylines and twists that keep the book m
I bought this on sale on a whim on audible and very pleased that I did. I mainly purchased as I like the voice of the narrator Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood and have previously read one other Kayte Nunn book.

This was a pleasant/charming historical fiction. The narrator captures the two timelines well and her female characters are strong. Where the book let me down a little(this is only personal taste) is that it was a little predictable and I wasn’t over interested in the romance of the story. The p
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Kayte is the author of five novels, including the international bestsellers The Botanist's Daughter, The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant and The Silk House.

The Botanist's Daughter was awarded the 2020 Winston Graham Historical Fiction Prize.

Her books have been described as, 'sensitive, atmospheric and often heartbreaking' (Who Weekly), offering 'compelling storytelling' (Australian Women's We

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