The Letter Reader

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 11 May 2023 | Archive Date 31 May 2023

Talking about this book? Use #TheLetterReader #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


She read their secrets during the war. Now she cannot forget them...

1941. London. Keen to do her bit in the war, Connie Allinson joins the WRNS and is posted as a letter censor. Her task: to read and alter correspondence to ensure no sensitive information crosses enemy lines. At first, she is not sure she's up to it, but is soon drawn in by the letters she reads, and their secrets...

1967. Doncaster. Bored of her domestic life, Connie desperately wants a job, but her controlling husband Arthur won't hear of it. Looking for an escape, and plagued by memories of letters she read during the war, she makes a bid for freedom and starts secretly tracking down their authors. Will uncovering their past give Connie the key to her present? And will she be able to find them all before Arthur discovers what she is keeping from him?

A page-turning and evocative historical timeslip, for fans of Mandy Robothom and Melanie Hudson.

She read their secrets during the war. Now she cannot forget them...

1941. London. Keen to do her bit in the war, Connie Allinson joins the WRNS and is posted as a letter censor. Her task: to read and...

Available Editions

ISBN 9781803283821
PRICE £3.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 20 members

Featured Reviews

Wow, what a read! Read in one day, was desperate to see how it went for Connie. I recommend this, you won’t be disappointed.

In dual timeline, I felt it flitted effortlessly between them as we read about Connie in 1941 when she joins the WRNS and is posted to HMS Holborn as a letter censor which she finds really interesting and dwells on some details in them an carries them in her thoughts. She has just started her married life to Arthur, who it has to be said is a bit of a control freak. I’d have divorced him after the first couple of chapters.
In 1967 Connie is living in Doncaster carrying out her wifely duties to Arthur’s behest , leaving little time for herself. What will it take for her to change things?
After a disagreement Arthur gives permission for Connie to visit her brother, this opens up an opportunity to tract down some of the letter writers from the war and to find out what became of them.

Was this review helpful?

A very enlightening book of how women were often expected to cater to the whims of their husbands in the 1940-1960 era.
Lots of information about the role’s women played during WWII.
A very interesting and entertaining read. Five stars

Was this review helpful?

The Letter Reader by Jan Casey is about a woman who upon reaching her fifties finally takes control of her life and her happiness. The author contrasts her heroine’s life as a letter censorer during WWII with the restrictions her husband put on her when the conflict was over. The parts about the how and why of censorship are what drew me to request an ARC of this book as none of the other books I have read about the war years touched on correspondence censorship. Connie’s post war years reveal how hard it was for women to transition back to just being a housewife after having contributed so much. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book from NetGalley. Highly recommend.

Was this review helpful?

So enlightening so well written. A look at women’s roles during the war and the change when their husbands came home.I was totally involved with these women who had the role of letter readers during the war and finding out what their lives were like when their husbands came home.I was totally involved with this story really enjoyed.#netgalley #ariarias

Was this review helpful?

This was my first book by Jan Casey and I really enjoyed it! I particularly love the 1941 storyline of Connie Allinson's work during the war as a letter censor in the WRN's. I've always been interested in historical fiction around the time of World War II and contributions of women during this time period. The Letter Reader didn't fail to intrigue me in that sense and letter censorship was something I haven't read about before, so I found it very fascinating.

Where it fell a bit short for me was the 1967 storyline. It infuriated me to see the way Connie was treated by her husband, Arthur, and it made me grateful for my freedom as a woman today. It was very well written though to stir up that emotional response, but it became a bit repetitive and therefore, a bit boring to read about the same issues over and over. I feel like it started and ended really strong, but the middle dragged a bit for me when it wasn't in the 1941 timeline. It was so worth pushing through though because I really enjoyed how the story was wrapped up in the end.

Thank you to Netgalley and Aria for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to netgalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. This was my first book by Jan Casey, and certainly won’t be my last! I was very intrigued by the premise of this book, especially since it dealt with women’s jobs during WWII in England. This story is told from Connie’s POV in the 1940s during WWII and then again in 1967 when she’s living in Doncaster, UK. Parts of the book when Connie works as a letter censor is so interesting. In 1967, immediately there is a vibe change and you can tell Connie is in an unhappy marriage and wants a change. The letters that she censored 20 years ago are resurfacing in her mind, and she wants to know what happened to the people in the letter. Connie’s story is slow at times, but altogether moving and shows how women in a different age have had their own set of troubles and setbacks but ultimately overcome the hardships they’re faced. I loved how the ending leaves you to decide for yourself what happens to Connie! I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and I can’t wait to read more of Jan Casey.

Was this review helpful?

I received an advanced digital copy of “The Letter Reader”, courtesy of the author and publisher, via Netgalley, for an honest review.
I really enjoyed reading this book. All the stories Connie said about women involved in other aspects of the war effort were so fascinating. When the war ended, a majority of women wanted to keep their jobs and their new-found economic and social independence, but nearly all were laid off, for men who were back from the war and were seeking employment.
Connie wasn’t happy with her situation and his controlling husband, but she did not have the strength to stand up for herself. But when she finally did it, it was so beautiful and empowering.
The ending was peaceful and touching. I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and those interested in women’s rights and empowerment.

Was this review helpful?

This was a slow read for me, but I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the characters' tie to a part of history I had not heard much about with the postal censorship during WW2. I love the women empowerment at the end also.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks, Netgalley for the chance to preview this story! This historical fiction story is a dual timeline in England during WWII and life after the war in the mid-'60s. Connie was a censor during WWII and her work during that time was interesting. I found the dual timeline interesting with her adjusting to a married, childless, life after WWII as she dealt with a controlling husband and the attitudes of the time as to the role of a woman. It was a fast interesting read for me.

Was this review helpful?

I’ve never really thought about the individuals who had to censor letters during times of conflict or war and the secrets that they must hold tight, knowing the letter writer’s innermost thoughts and personal details which would have been out of context and disjointed. “The Letter Reader” follows the story of Connie Allinson who joins the WRNS to do her bit for the war effort, finding herself tasked with the heavy toll of censoring letters to ensure no wartime secrets or codes were being sent back and forth behind enemy lines. The novel also explores Connie’s relationship with herself and her husband utilizing a dual timeline, during WWII and 1967, to show the lasting effects of the situations they have been placed in, both during the war and after. Connie is faced with a husband who believes a woman’s place is in the home and not in the workforce. Connie’s husband, Arthur, is a rather dull, humdrum man who seems to be stuck in the rut of sameness and routine never considering that his wife might have an opinion of her own. Early on it is apparent that Connie acquiesces to whatever her husband deems appropriate, illustrating that Arthur is stifling any and all of Connie’s personality as she gradually takes on Arthur’s image of the picture perfect wife. Despite this, we see Connie’s strength, hopes, dreams, and how much she enjoys her independence as her personality and individuality strain to be seen and heard. I really enjoyed Connie’s voice and how she worked hard to overcome the situation she found herself in. With well written, relatable, and believable characters, this novel is for anyone who has had their voice silenced, who has been able to come into their own and walk strong out from under oppression, for those who enjoy reading strong female characters, and who enjoy WWII historical fiction. A story that pulls you in from the start, I highly recommend this novel.

Set to release on May 11 as an ebook and in paperback on August 15, you can preorder today. Thank you to @NetGalley and @headofzeus for selecting me to read this advance copy.

#bookstagram #bookstagrammer #wwii #wwiihistoricalfiction #theletterreader #historicalfiction @jancaseyauthor

Was this review helpful?

Oh wow, I loved this one. I enjoyed her last book immensely and this one was just as good. A dual time line set during the Second World War and 1967. The descriptions of the fashions in the sixties was well researched and I had no idea if women did actually read letters to check for codes and untoward mentions of war happenings in this era but, I found it fascinating. A wonderful story. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

What happens when war ends and the men come home? The Letter Reader, by Jan Casey, gives at least one scenario as the reader looks into the lives of Arthur and Connie. When Arthur is deployed, shortly after they marry, Connie enlists and is trained to be a censor for letters written during the war. While not the most dangerous position available, Connie gets to travel, to get a look into the lives of others, and to uncover some of the letters transmitting codes. She feels valued and somewhat adventurous.

When Arthur returns to civilian life, he wants a peaceful routine with him in charge. He thinks he's making decisions that will make Connie happy, but he never thinks to ask her what she wants. In this dual timeline story, follow Connie as she finds herself trying to be more like the adventurous person she was during the war.

Was this review helpful?

The women in the UK truly stepped into every job that had been done by men before World War II, including many new ones that were created by the war. This story tells of one of those jobs covered by the WRNS, letter censoring. The book has two timelines, the war years and 1967, two vastly different eras for women. Using the main character of Connie, the author highlights how difficult it was for women to fall back into their traditional roles once the war was over. Sometimes Rosie the Riveter didn't want to go back to being Suzy Homemaker. (I thoroughly enjoyed the 1967 chapters set in London since I'm old enough to remember the music and fashion.) This is an honest look at women's issues, some of which remain the same. It is a great book for women to read in appreciation of what previous generations accomplished while inspiring us to reach higher for our daughters.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Aria for providing the digital ARC of this book.

Was this review helpful?

This was my first time reading Jan Casey, and although it took me awhile to get fully immersed in the story, I did enjoy it. There are two timelines, but I didn’t find that confusing, thankfully. I love reading novels based around World War II, and learning more about letter censoring was very interesting. The only thing that really bothered me was the relationship between Connie and her husband. He treated her terribly, BUT when she finally stood up for herself I wanted to give her a huge round of applause. Overall, I would recommend this book to everyone, especially if you love empowering stories about women.

Was this review helpful?

I requested to read and review this book for free from Bloomsbury Publishing. This book has many feels to it. There is sadness, betrayal, love. War brings out the best and worst in some. It effects people more that what they think or around them think. Being happy is important and it's something that Connie has to figure out. Arthur loves her but is it enough or is their more to their story. Every human being should have a chance at being heard. The life we think we should and reality can be to different things.

Was this review helpful?

A beautifully written novel showing a perspective that isn’t often shared in WW2 novels. Connie is a letter censor for the WRNS during WW2, and the chapters split between Connie during the war, and Connie after the war in 1967.

Although the war plays a huge role in the storyline of the book, a big focus is on Connie’s relationship with herself and her controlling husband, Arthur. Arthur doesn’t believe that Connie has a place in this world outside of their home. Scarred from the war, Arthur is a very controlling, routine, boring man. Connie wants more in life: a job, hobbies and independence. Intertwined with the troubles of life during wartime and postwar time, Connie slowly struggles with finding her voice and trying to become her own person.

I love the toggle between past and present (present for the book that is). The character development is very strong and really well done, and without giving too much away, I enjoyed where the author took Connie’s story.

My only issue was that I feel there wasn’t closure at the end of the book and I would have liked to know the outcome of some issues discussed throughout the book.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: