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The Love Note

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Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1859 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.

Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings--mostly negative ones--about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa's search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words.

Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.

Kindle Edition

First published October 1, 2020

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About the author

Joanna Davidson Politano

6 books932 followers
Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.

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Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,514 reviews3,352 followers
December 1, 2020
About this book:

“A forgotten letter. A secret love. A vast estate. Can one determined woman put the pieces together?
Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1865 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.
Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings--mostly negative ones--about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa's search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words.
Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.”

Series: As of now, no. It is currently a stand-alone.

Spiritual Content- Scriptures are mentioned, quoted, read, & discussed; Many Prayers; Many talks about God & His paths; ‘H’s are not capitalized when referring to God; Many mentions of God; Mentions of prayers & praying; Mentions of churches, services, sermons, & vicars; Mentions of blessings, being blessed, & curses; Mentions of miracles; A few mentions of sins & sinners; A couple mentions of a tunnel that priests used to escape persecution; A couple mentions of nuns; A mention of reading Scriptures;
*Note: Mentions of ghosts & haunted place; A couple mentions of superstitions; A mention of exorcising a sin.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘drat’; Falling & Pain (up to semi-detailed); Many mentions of blood/bleeding, injuries, pain, fighting, & deaths (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of a fire & death (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of thieves, thefts, & stealing; Mentions of threats & being threatened; Mentions of jealousy, betrayal, & hatred; Mentions of lies & lying; Mentions of gossip & rumors; Mentions of an injured horse; A couple mentions of deaths & wars; A couple mentions of prison; A couple mentions of throwing up; A mention of pirates; A mention of embezzlement.

Sexual Content- a hair kiss, a barely-above-not-detailed kiss, two detailed kisses (because of the length, not overly emotional/physical), and seeing a married couple kiss (border-line barely-above-not-detailed // semi-detailed); Noticing, Touches, Dancing, & Embraces (barely-above-not-detailed); Thinking a spouse is having an affair & dealing with betrayal/doubt; Mentions of an illegitimate duke & an out-of-wedlock pregnancy; Mentions of kisses, kissing, & wanting to kiss (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of a married couple sharing a bed, their forms, being vulnerable, & a wife noticing her husband undressing (nothing sexual happens or alludes to happening); Mentions of scandals; Mentions of jealousy; Mentions of infatuation; Mentions of romance novels; A few mentions of hand kisses; A few mentions of touches; A few mentions of a player; A couple hints of a girl possibly working as a prostitute; A couple mentions of a young girl saying that girls can’t protect themselves from men who see something they want & a couple hints to men behaving inappropriately; A couple mentions of noticing; A couple mentions of flirting & blushes; A couple mentions of chaperones; A mention of noticing a man’s muscles; Love, falling in love, & the emotions;
*Note: Mentions of a couple losing many babies; A mention of circumcision.

-Willa Duvall, age 24
1st P.O.V. of Willa & 3rd P.O.V. of a handful of others
Set in 1865 {Though, I believe there to be a typo about the last chapter’s year}
376 pages


Pre Teens- One Star
New Teens- One Star
Early High School Teens- Three Stars
Older High School Teens- Four Stars
My personal Rating- Four Stars

My goodness.

This was something so poetic and beautiful in a somewhat bittersweet way in this book.

The concept of a sealed, hidden letter intrigued me, but how this book did its own full circle was striking and memorizing.

Willa and her parts remind me of something out of Pride & Prejudice or Little Women in the style of the poetic writing and thoughts from Willa. (It should be noted that I have never read those books, but I’ve seen the movies many, many, many times thanks to my mom and sister.) There was a hopefulness from her to go on the path she felt like the Lord wanted her to be on. There was a society telling her that her dream was not possible for her gender. There was a goodness about Willa that I immensely enjoyed. There were so many lines or conversations that I wanted to share. Especially in the faith content of this book. I loved how two of the characters dear to Willa were so vocal about their faiths & how talking about God was a completely normal part of their lives.

When I read a book, 95% of the time my brain is trying to figure out how the plot will twist and what will happen next. I don’t know why it does this, but there are very few books where my brain turns off this lovely (sarcasm) feature. Reading a book where I just read and follow the story along as we go through each curve as they are written on each page is a rarity for me. But it’s also one of the highest compliments I can give a book and one I give this to this book. I was truly impressed with so many parts of this story and it’s definitely being marked as a favorite 2020 book.

Link to review:

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
*I received this book for free from the Publisher (Revell) for this honest review.
Profile Image for Andrea Cox.
Author 2 books1,630 followers
July 29, 2020
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Soaring to the status of my favorite book of the year, The Love Note touched my every emotion and reached into every crevice in my heart. I loved the gothic mystery that took place at Crestwicke Manor, and the anonymous love note was beautifully used throughout the story.

The book immediately reminded me of the movie Letters to Juliet, because of the long-lost letter angle. As it grew to maturity, this book reminded me of Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre; the layers of twisted, forgotten, and budding romance of Wuthering Heights; and the innocent sweetness of any of Jane Austen’s novels. I loved the complexity and how nothing and no one were what they seemed.

The voice in this novel was superb. Each sentence, each word choice seemed purposeful and important, and I highlighted so very many lines in my NetGalley copy of this book. I can hardly wait to read another of this author’s books, and the upcoming title, The Ballet Shoes, intrigues me by the title and author name alone. It’s leapfrogging to the top of my watch list, because I want that baby as soon as is humanly possible.
Profile Image for Melissa Tagg.
Author 30 books1,429 followers
August 5, 2020
This book was gorgeous! I loved the premise, the writing, the atmosphere, the characters . . . and the final chapters definitely surprised me. I loved that the author let the story go a little longer, a little farther than what many a romance would. The strength and intelligence of the heroine coupled with her romantic heart made for a character I just adored. Plus, I enjoyed the author's unique approach to side characters and subplots, giving other characters brief POV moments in the spotlight.

All in all, a completely beguiling read! Definitely my favorite Politano book so far!
Profile Image for Gina.
119 reviews1 follower
October 29, 2021
This book was so unique! It was unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The story was very expressive and poetic in the way that it was written.

It’s a love story but it has so many levels. I loved the spiritual truths that were found on just about every page. It was very relatable and honest.

There were a few times where I was confused about my understanding of the situation and this became a little frustrating to me. I felt like the writing was a little fragmented. I’m not sure if it was because sometimes the writing was so lyrical and poetic, I misunderstood or it was just me? Lol. … Regardless, it doesn’t change that it was a sweet story. I would call it a slow-paced, page turner.

I wouldn’t necessarily want to read a book written like this all the time, but it was a nice diversion in writing style from what I’m used to and typically prefer.
Profile Image for Rachel McMillan.
Author 24 books1,018 followers
March 23, 2021
An achingly romantic historical steeped in Politano's deft research and wrapped in a voice that pays perfect homage to the period, The Love Note is a winsome letter to the power of words. More still, it made me want to write letters. Subtle faith themes and lingering hope were also welcome.
Profile Image for Dana Michael.
1,120 reviews88 followers
August 22, 2020
The Love Note is such a lovely read. A woman finds a love note in a desk and it causes all kinds of chaos. The heroine is a young woman with dreams of being a medical doctor during a time when women had no voice or rights. I really enjoyed how the note brought chaos but then love and hope. The best part for me was the amazing ending. Oh my! It was a great one.
*I received a copy from the publisher and this is my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Deanne Patterson.
1,730 reviews121 followers
November 3, 2020
The Love Note was a different type of book.
Willa Duvall wants a career in medicine like her father but he believes it's his duty to see her married off.
At her home hidden away in a desk she finds a love note and this note starts the whole ball of yarn rolling setting up the story essentially.
She makes a deal with her father and if she succeeds at being a long term nurse she'll be able to practice medicine.
After she goes to Crestwicke Manor she nurses the dowager there.
She brings the love note with her and a maid finds it and thinks it was written to her.
Willa is determined to find who the writer of this note was and who it was intended for.
The Love Note takes us on many twists and turns as the note falls into the hands of many people in the Manor each believing it was written to her.
This note is very powerful for the emotions it sparks in the ladies believing it was written to them.
The Love Note is a powerful read and will bring out many emotions in you as you're reading.
As Willa takes care of the dowanger we find out the true story of the love note and the history behind it.
Beautifully flowing prose will keep you reading far into the night not being able to put it down.

Published October 20th 2020 by Fleming H. Revell Company
This book was provided by Baker Publishing Group, Revell Division, through Interviews & Reviews.
Profile Image for Amanda Tero.
Author 24 books521 followers
November 6, 2020
There was so much depth and intrigue in this story, I was invested from pretty much the first chapter. I absolutely adored how the letter wove into every character’s story and impacted their lives. It is just one example of how the message of the power of words is threaded through the entire story.

This was a solid story with what I consider a good Christian message. While not every aspect of the theme was presented from an exact Christian perspective, because the main character was a Christian, it was interpreted that way. So the message of the importance of our words as well as remedying past grievances was presented with the Christian backbone.

The romance was so multi-faceted, it was amazing. Though the entire story on the surface is about love, the message of true love is so much deeper than just romantic relationships. Basically, the message of love was for every individual with every relationship, be it lovers, spouses, siblings, or parents and children. There were mentions of pregnancy out of wedlock and some impassioned kisses.

Because of a few situations in the story, which I do think were handled very well and discreetly, I would not necessarily recommend this for a young teen.

I enjoyed the artistic beauty with both the storyline and description. Toward the end, things kind of seemed to be sped up with one of the characters suddenly making an effort to right her wrongs as well as a chapter that spanned three years. It worked, it just seemed to change the style of writing toward the end.

*I received this book from Revell and happily provided my honest review*
Profile Image for Martha.
1,782 reviews50 followers
November 9, 2020
It is not terribly often you read a book and are sick inside when it is finished because it is one you found so good. I have read some really good books lately, but this one was excellent.
The unique premise behind it, a woman wanting to be a doctor, stuck as a nurse, being pressured to marry was not all that unique, but the note driving her was.
I think often there are love stories where things are rushed, the premise of waiting for love is not demonstrated, yet in this one, it was. It was not only encouraged, but fostered. Beautiful story that I highly recommend.
Profile Image for Natalie Walters.
Author 10 books829 followers
November 20, 2020
Mesmerizing in its lyrical beauty, The Love Note swept me into an unforgettable romantic mystery. Author, Joanna Davidson Politano, has a magical way of weaving theme within her pages allowing the story to stay with you long after the last page. I love the vivid way Ms. Politano brings the character and setting to life, which makes it hard to not race through the story because it's just so good. Highly recommend The Love Note to ALL readers-this is a must read story!

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.**
Profile Image for Beth.
775 reviews314 followers
November 8, 2020
The Love Note is a reading delight. Mystery, romance, and beautiful writing are all present in this lovely, atmospheric story. Willa is an interesting character in that she longs to be a doctor, so scientific thinking and being a caretaker is second nature to her. Despite turning down four marriage proposals, she is also a romantic at heart. When she finds an old love letter in her desk, she is compelled to seek out the writer, as well as the intended recipient. This letter just so happens to mention a place that holds a piece of her past, and contriving to go there to convince her father that she can make it in a male dominated profession, she unwittingly puts her heart as risk, too.

I enjoyed the inclusion of the perspective of several side characters. It made for a clever way to see how the letter impacted different members of the household that Willa is now a part of. While at first I was unsure about her connection to this household, as the story progresses, the reader is shown how this connection formed. I think that works much better than just dumping the information on the reader in a paragraph or two. I did sometimes think that a woman as smart as Willa would not be that obtuse about her feelings toward a man, but I also understand that she was singularly determined to make her way in the world. She knows a marriage could potentially ruin her prospects at becoming a female doctor.

I thought the ending was well done. It’s not rushed together just for the sake of a happily ever after. When the reader gets to that point, it’s so satisfying to watch things fall into place. The Love Note is a story about the hope and healing that both the written and spoken word can bring, and as a reader, that’s always a story worth experiencing!

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review, and these are my honest thoughts and opinions.
Profile Image for Gretchen.
250 reviews35 followers
August 5, 2021
This book has completely blown me away. I don’t know if it’s pregnancy hormones but I cried TWICE at the conclusion of this book (& I never cry while reading!!) This book is absolutely beautiful. It has a vibrancy of characters & setting that makes it read like a good movie. Romance isn’t necessarily at the forefront of the book yet it’s beautifully romantic in every way. There were so many twists & turns that kept me guessing- & I still was pleasantly surprised by secrets revealed! This book is an absolute treasure.✨

While I couldn’t relate to the career minded heroine, I still enjoyed her & her story. I love that we readers get multiple POVs throughout the book. The hero was gentle, patient, Godly, & lovable to the extreme. This book will be staying in my heart for a while.
Profile Image for Staci.
1,620 reviews502 followers
October 18, 2020
Lovely as expected.

The Love Note is set in 1859 England. Willa is an independent young woman and aspires to be a doctor, very rare and difficult to obtain in this time. Her father just wants to see her taken care of through marriage and is incredibly frustrated with Willa after she turns down her fourth marriage proposal.

Willa discovers a beautifully written love note and takes a position in the home referenced in it as a nurse for a cantankerous woman in the later years of life. She hopes to find the intended recipient of the letter. Through this letter, we find broken people and missed opportunities to share feelings.

I especially enjoyed the quotes leading into each chapter such as this one:
"The quickest way to repair a broken heart is to use it." A scientist's observation on love

The only thing that struck me as disjointed was the beginning chapters show humor that wasn't present in the majority of the novel. Overall, a wonderful novel about love.

My gratitude to publisher Revell for a complimentary NetGalley copy of this novel. I wasn't required to post a review and all opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Chautona Havig.
Author 245 books1,486 followers
February 19, 2022
What a magnificent tale of the power of words--spoken and unspoken. This entire book feels like someone read the words from the poem, "The Fool's Prayer."
"The ill-timed truth we might have kept—
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say—
Who knows how grandly it had rung?"

Romance isn't my favorite genre, but when someone does it well--makes it achingly beautiful so that the reader feels that life isn't quite complete without it, then romance becomes essential to a story and more... becomes the story itself.

Beautiful writing, excellent characterization, a touch of mystery that keeps coming when you least expect it... and more. Politano did such a fantastic job of weaving this tale that I FORGOT that I'd figured something out until it was revealed. It was both a surprise and a memory, and part of me thinks that was deliberate. If so, she's one of the most brilliant writers I've ever read.

But best of all, the faith that plays out on every page even, if not especially, the ones where it isn't mentioned. Politano is brilliant at bringing faith to the forefront of her stories without losing the power of that "well-timed word" the poet spoke of.
Profile Image for Joleen.
1,980 reviews1,207 followers
September 27, 2021
Brighton, England 1865
Crestwicke Manor
Willa Duvall: Gresham family friend from childhood
Gabe Gresham: Brother to Celeste and Burke. Only adult who tolerated Willa following him about when she was a child
Golda Gresham: Mother of the house
Peter Gresham: Golda’s husband
Celeste Gresham: Golda’s step-daughter
Burke Gresham: Golda’s step-son
Clara Gresham: Burke’s wife
Aunt Maisie: Golda’s sweet, quirky aunt
Essie: Upstairs maid
Parker: Butler

"People marry based on the scientific assumption that two halves make a whole, but that’s false. Only God makes something whole."

"Drenched in God Almighty was exactly how my heart felt then, seeing traces of him everywhere, beating a steady rhythm of strength for whatever came next."

"The deep-seated desire in all of us for authentic love is a miracle. Not because of the bliss of a fulfilled ending, but because of the relentless pursuit it awakens in us—and the treasure we eventually find if we search long enough."

This! This was a lovely book. So much of it testifies to the deep relationship Ms. Politano enjoys with her Lord. Such symbolism and wisdom. This book, more than prior books, illustrates a thriving relationship with God. Our main character, Willa, sought to do God's will, not just live up to societal norms. She saw God orchestrating a medical career for her as a doctor, something uncommon for women in the 19th century.

All this was wrapped up in an extremely engaging and unique storyline.

An old unsent love letter Willa found in a desk drives her to seek the intended recipient. This quest brings her back to an estate Willa spent many childhood days visiting, enjoying the company of the younger family members there.

Responding to a request for a nurse she was hired to tend to the aging mother of the family. At first her presence was not appreciated, but Willa grew on them with her humility and strength of character.

Back to the letter…It was comical at times to see how this letter was misplaced or found by staff or family members, each one either believing it was written to them, or to their spouse by an admirer. What havoc, confusion and even joy this letter brought, all the while the writer remained a mystery.

The ending, when so much was revealed, was sigh-worthy.

If I had a criticism it would be that the author didn’t capitalize pronouns for God. Because of that it was difficult a few times to tell if she was talking about God or Gabe within paragraphs where both were the subjects.

But it was truly a stunning book. 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Paula Shreckhise.
1,051 reviews77 followers
October 21, 2020
This truly exceptional book will stay with you long after you turn the last page. This is more than a love story, it is a story to feed your soul.
*To fall in love with God is the greatest romance,
to seek him is the greatest adventure,
to find him is the greatest human achievement
Saint Augustine of Hippo *

The words in this book leap out of the pages and into your heart.
*Matched souls always find their way back to one another, for they seek refuge in the same place.*
*People marry based on the scientific assumption that two halves make a whole, but that is false. Only God makes something whole.
A scientist’s observation on love *
Willa is a singleminded young lady in 1865 England. She is trying to break the barriers that prevent women from becoming doctors. After finding an old love letter hidden in her writing desk, she ventures to Crestwicke where it came from, to nurse Mrs. Gresham. In her quest for the author of the letter, it is misplaced. The letter has an effect on those who find it. Willa uncovers mysteries and stories of love lost and found. Will it play a part in her own love story?
The characters are unique and grow on you as each person’s story unfolds.
The author writes with superb artistry. This story will warm your heart and give you hope.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
Profile Image for Nicole.
Author 13 books124 followers
December 13, 2020
It's a very rare book that can make me cry. This one managed that feat. Twice.

Pure, raw, and exquisitely beautiful. I have no adequate words (unlike the author did within these pages).

(Also, the nod to Hallmark's Signed, Sealed, Delivered!? Yes!)
Profile Image for Cassie.
250 reviews42 followers
December 26, 2020
“I secretly craved a taste of deeply authentic love, but I also wanted the stars and open sky.”

You won’t be surprised when I tell you I loved this book. I feel like I’ve been talking so much about Joanna Davidson Politano's books here but I just have been loving them, and she’s officially one of my favorite authors.

I adored this book, the characters, and how one love letter (written long ago) circulated through Crestwicke Manor and created upheaval and chaos. Every person who read the letter believed it was written to them or the person they loved, which caused emotions to be stirred in the house.

I think this story had beautiful insights on love and how communicating (or the lack of communication) can affect relationships. They can either flourish when that love is affirmed, or languish when doubt arises.

I simply loved everything about this novel. Please read it!
Profile Image for Angie Thompson.
Author 23 books1,073 followers
March 24, 2021
I wasn't quite sure what this book was shaping up to be for a while, but did it ever draw me in! Willa's unconventional dreams are not the stuff that my favorite heroines are made of in general, but I appreciated how the author softened her by making her not completely set against marriage--just the wrong kind of marriage--and showing the deep love for helping others that formed the core of her career goals. Her deep care for everyone around her was always evident, despite the quick tongue that sometimes got her in trouble, and I loved that about her so much.

Annnnd then Gabe. *melts into a helpless puddle* He was just so perfect. Not what the world would call perfect, maybe, but still. So kind, so thoughtful, so gentle, so utterly adorable. I loved him so much! I adored the way he cared for Willa and the way that she cared for him--especially when it came to accepting and understanding his quiet manner and slowness of speech, which were such a detriment in the world's eyes.

The mystery/plot was a gentle one in a lot of ways, but I still felt my heart catch in my throat a few times, wanting to know what was going to happen to all these fragile souls when the truth was revealed. That was the hardest part of the book, I think--all the secrets, the anger, the hurt buried beneath the surface. There was a bit of a bittersweet note running through even the happy moments of the book, but not enough to ruin it or make me cry, just make me regret the time that had been wasted. And the messages were powerful--both the meaning of true love and the power of our words on those around us were twined through the whole story in such meaningful ways. Just about all the minor characters had depths beneath the surface that weren't visible from the start, and the chapters from other characters' viewpoints that were sprinkled in just deepened my longing for them all to find the love they sought.

A couple very minor quibbles--I'm not a huge fan of all the Gothic undertones that mostly just served to make the setting feel a bit creepier than it needed to be, but if that's your thing, you'll probably love it. ;) And there were a few random references that snuck in that made me question whether there was an explanation left unstated or whether they were mistakes. But I enjoyed the book a lot, which is really saying something from someone who's not naturally drawn to Gothic-type mysteries. :)

4.5 stars

Content--a kiss (not descriptive); tension between married couples and suspicions of infidelity;
Profile Image for Rachael.
619 reviews
November 3, 2020
This is one of those books that held personal meaning for me or people I know. A book or movie rarely moves me to tear-up. This book did. It’s full of hope and forgiveness...just waiting past the pain, misunderstanding, and deceit bound in the heart.

The characters are many and well done...each with their own reasons for needing words written or spoken in love. As the book points out words can build up or break down. Words can hurt for years....and bitter words spoken so quickly can change circumstances...so can loving words spoken from a gentle soul.

This book had a beautiful, touching plot; a storyline that draws you in, and characters that are very flawed....and in great need of healing.

Don’t miss out on this intriguing novel that touched my heart in so many ways.

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Melissa’s Bookshelf.
1,794 reviews47 followers
September 26, 2022
I loved The Love Note! Joanna Davidson is a favorite author because of her endearing characters, beautiful writing, and deep heartfelt stories. She also deftly weaves a beautiful religious message into her story in an uplifting, relatable way.

The idea behind this book was so creative, take an unsigned love note and try to return it to the rightful owner and then watch as the consequences unfold. There were so many layers to this story and just when I thought I’d figured things out, my idea was turned on its head. The havoc this letter unleashes was so unexpected. So many misunderstandings and past mistakes are brought to light. I loved the way the truth behind the letter finally brings about a satisfying ending.

I loved soft spoken yet wise Gabe who only speaks when he has something important to say. He’s so patient and unselfish. The growth that Willa undergoes was enjoyable to see. She wants so desperately to be a doctor and is willing to sacrifice love to achieve it. Her experience as a nurse at Crestwicke and her search for the letter writer lead her to discover not only more about the people she cares for but also herself. I was so happy to see the choice she ultimately makes.

I enjoyed the narrator. She voiced all the characters so well and really made them come to life. I liked the emotion she put into it as well. There was only one word “lichen” that stuck out to me but then realized she used the English pronunciation and not the American.

Highly recommend this book! Fans of Christian historical fiction and historical romance will enjoy this. Thanks to the author for the complimentary audiobook. All opinions are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review.
Profile Image for Kathryn Bochman.
281 reviews12 followers
July 31, 2020
Joanna Politano has topped all her previous books in her latest, The Love Note. So complex, so unexpected, so absolutely fantastic, I was immersed from start to finish. Featuring a nurse striving to become a doctor in an age where such a thing was frowned upon, she stumbles upon a long forgotten love note. As she seeks to uncover the author of the note and return it to the owner, she finds herself in deeper water than she bargained for.

Through all the twists and turns this story brings, I was enthralled with the prose, the depth, and the clever develop-ment of the story. My mind was kept whirring as I fought alongside the characters for truth and resolution. This will be a story I will not soon forget!

I highly recommend this and all of Politano’s books. They are a treasure to immerse yourself in!

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Megan.
216 reviews44 followers
October 30, 2020
Have you ever felt a story is so beautiful that it touches your soul? "The Love Note" by Joanna Davidson Politano is one of those stories. I still cannot find adequate words to fully do this book justice.

I love how unique Ms. Politano’s books are. This one is a standalone. You can really tell the author wrote this story with God, letting the Spirit guide her. There are so many nuggets of divine truth throughout. This book is not your normal love story; although, there is a mysterious love note that is passed around to the people living in a house that the main character, Willa, is working at. I loved seeing how the note affected, touched and changed each person who received it. This is a house devoid of love, but slowly things change because of one note and one persistent nurse (Willa). This book speaks not just about new love; but broken love, lost love and stale love. I love this quote from a member of the household: “When you truly love someone, you find what’s good about them and say it. It’s all a matter of where you focus.”

This is a story about the cracks in people’s lives and how the love note brings out different things in each person. It’s also about how only God can truly fill those cracks. I also recognized how this love letter can be symbolic of God’s love letter to us through His Word. If we truly allow ourselves to believe what He says about us and imagine ourselves as He sees us, then our whole life and outlook can change.

I highly recommend this book and author! Prepare to be deeply moved and encouraged.

Content: I give this book a PG rating. Some examples of the content are: an allusion to prostitution; alcohol is mentioned; talk of someone being illegitimate; mention of a baby born out of wedlock.

Rating: I give this book 5 stars.

I want to thank Joanna Davidson Politano and Revell for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
Profile Image for sydney.
366 reviews79 followers
May 3, 2021
If this book had a soundtrack, I feel like it would be the prologue music from Beauty and the Beast… its gothic and mysterious and so fun to get lost in.

I mentioned previously that her writing has a lyrical quality to it. This is the 3rd book I’ve read of hers, and the way she writes makes the story feel like its jumping off the pages. Her writing style fits so well with the time period she writes… I can’t imagine it working quite as well in an era other than Victorian. I also don't read many books written in first person, and I really liked it because it feels like reading a journal.

While there definitely is romance in the plot, I don't think it could be considered the main plot. I rather liked it, because it allowed you to really see the heart of the characters (and the story) without the distraction of "in your face" romance and swooning.

It was a little bit hard to follow at times, which is why it took me so long to read it, because I really had to slow down and focus on the story. Sometimes books with winding plots like this one had get confusing and if I had sped through I would have no idea what was going on. Additionally I think a few characters were unnecessary to the plot, but on the other hand it was nice to have a little bit of diversity of thought within the story (that doesn't really make sense but hopefully if you've read the book you know what I mean!😅).

I'm excited to see what else Politano has in store because I have not been disappointed yet!
Profile Image for Abigail Harris.
Author 26 books176 followers
August 31, 2020
Thrilling! This was my first time reading one of Joanna Davidson Politano's books, and wow! The Love Note is one of a kind, bittersweet, romantic, and compelling novel.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started reading this story, I knew that I loved the cover, the description was interesting, and I have heard many good things about Joanna Davidson Politano's other books, I had to give it a shot, I knew. I'm so glad I did, the lesson in love that is explored was so deep with nudges from all corners, and though it wasn't completely a romance, yet it was, and so much more. The ending was so perfect but I do wish we could have found out more about what happened to the other characters, not just Willa and her love interest.

I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher/review company. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
Profile Image for DeAnna.
343 reviews4 followers
March 9, 2022
This book is just…so…lovely.

I think I’ve found a new favorite author and you bet I’m going to look up everything she’s written and put it on my TBR ☺️

Willa is the daughter of a physician and she aspires to follow in her father’s footsteps. She is passionate about caring for people but her heart is not open to romantic love. She is driven toward her goals and doesn’t believe she has the time or capacity to give any part of herself away to another.

She accepts a job as a nurse for the ailing Lady of Crestwicke Manor. Just before she meets the Lady she finds a love note written long ago. She is determined to find out who the letter was written to at Crestwicke and as the letter gets mistakenly passed around, everyone makes secret assumptions as to who the letter is for. The causes all sorts of complications.

I loved Willa’s independent spirit and her genuine empathy toward people. Though some of the characters are difficult, you will find at least a little something endearing about each of them. This is a book about love and independence, marriage and the sometimes unexpected freedom it can bring.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“When it comes to marriage and all human relationships, the last place we ever search for problems-or hope to find them-is within us.”

“People marry based on the scientific assumption that two halves make a whole, but that’s false. Only God makes something whole.”

“Do away with petty criticisms and subtle corrections, and leave the fixing of your spouse to God. It frees you up to simply love and enjoy them, which will prove a greater influence in the end.”

4.5/5 ⭐️ - absolutely lovely, I liked it a lot.
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 39 books390 followers
September 16, 2022
Find it on: Goodreads | Kindle | Paperback | Audiobook
Age Appropriate For: 16 and up (romance and some mentions of pregnancy out of wed-lock)
Best for Ages: 16 and up

Politano has become a favorite author. Her books are so beautifully written, that you almost feel they are worthy of being memorized. They also have so much depth to them that they make you feel you’ve been on a spiritual journey yourself. The Love Note is no exception.

I love how there is always a bit of a mystery to be solved in each of Politano’s books, in this one, the whole story revolves around who wrote a love note. As you go on a journey with Willa, you get to piece together a long-ago love story, as well as see how the love note affects others as it changes hands. I adored getting to see how the words impacted each person.

I also just soaked up how as the story unfolded, you also got to see Willa learn more about different aspects of love, both in the romantic sense as well as platonic love for others, and God’s love.

As always, I really appreciate the historical details and perspective that Politano brings. Willa wants to be a doctor and help others in a time when the doors to medical school were closed to women. I loved that the author shows how hard that would have been, without giving us a screaming feminist who yells about the injustice to women the whole book. Instead, she gave us something even more powerful: a brilliant, deeply caring woman whom it saddens you to see blocked from a profession she would have excelled at.

One of the other things I love is the realism. There are some characters in the story that don’t learn their lesson by the end of the book. Not everything works out how I would have planned it. Yet, there are some amazingly beautiful moments of grace, forgiveness, and love that brought me near tears. I just wanted the story to keep going.

I wasn’t sure at first how to feel about the ending. At first, I was a little frustrated by it, but then I realized it really fit the characters very well. I ended up feeling very stratified and loving it, even if I would have thought of writing it differently.

I highly recommend this book to those who love historical fiction, beautifully written books, and family mysteries.
2,732 reviews1,724 followers
April 15, 2021
This book has left me gobsmacked speechless so I'm struggling to find words to convey my impressions. Here they are in my tizzy-stated randomness:

Not what I expected going into the read. The story unfolded in surprising ways with stunning results.

The idea of a lost love letter is brilliant! And the way it is intricately woven into the plot, creating twists and turns I didn't see coming....well, brilliantly brilliant!!! (and yes, I realize that's redundant but that's what this book has done to me.) Because...at one point, towards the end, that letter took on new meaning for me that left me in an astonished stupor because....whoa...you need to read the book!

Such fabulously complicated characters! The kind a reader feels an instant emotional connection to -- whether that be good or bad or somewhere in between. And the way Willa's arrival becomes the catalyst for change for them all.

One of my favourite secondary characters is delightfully befuddled Aunt Maisie whose sharp wit and astute insight defy her Crazy Maisie persona.

"I collect words so I won't lose them all into the black hole of feeblemindedness. When words are all you have, it suddenly makes you want to keep as many as you can so you can use them when you have need." (p 99)

Which brings me to the divine inspirational themes layered into this story. Especially Willa's spiritual growth as she tries to figure out what her future holds...or should hold.

"Why can't I ever seem to say the right thing? My words...they're still wrong, Aunt Maisie."

"Because they're yours." She hobbled close and rested a crooked hand on my arm. "Make your heart a deep well of the Almighty by saturating yourself in his presence, and your words will come out drenched in him no matter what your say. I promise you, no matter how many brilliant things you have to say, he has better ones." ( p 205-206)

The Love Note is a celebration of words and how they build our stories -- and His Story -- and the truth at the heart of them all.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,900 reviews550 followers
December 29, 2020
The Love Note is my first read by Joanna Davidson Politano and I definitely plan on reading more of her books. This was a slower historical romance...I'm not sure if it was just because I was dealing with a reading slump or the storyline, but it felt like the story had a slower pace (which was NOT a bad thing - I actually really enjoyed that).

The characters were amazing. I felt like I truly got to know them and couldn't help feeling happy for the good moments and sad for the unhappy events. The romance was so good! I felt like the progression was believable and I just absolutely loved it!

All in all, The Love Note was a fantastic read and I highly recommend if you enjoy historical romance. I am eager to read more of this author's stories.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
Profile Image for Maria Clara.
201 reviews42 followers
September 21, 2020
Joanna Davidson Politano just penned a bold and thoughtful story. Bold because it is unconventional. In the best of senses, you will discover.. From the love story to the POV. Thoughtful because she speaks truth to all our hearts. She pens fears, hopes, and dreams revealing not only who the characters are but, I have a hunch, a big part of the writer too. I must admit, the hopes, dreams, and fear portrayed in this book aligned with my heart too. This is not surprising though it is humbly in a sense. To have your armor reaped from you to expose your most vulnerable self is not comfortable.

If you think I am speaking in riddles, that is because there are too many layers to this book. Finishing such a reading leaves one lacking on how to put together a comprehensive review. "The Love Note" is sweet and unexpected, from the twist and turns but also the laughter that sneaks up on you.

*I received a review copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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