Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer


Hi Munchworms!

Letters to the LostEven though it was Fantastic February and I was going to focus on fantasy series, I also had some other reading to do…
I got approved to read and review More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer a while ago. Immediately after, I discovered I should read Letters to the Lost first, so that’s exactly what I did!

Today I’ll be sharing my review for that novel with you. Next Thursday I’m going to share my opinion on More Than We Can Tell!

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

The good
You have no idea how hard I’ve been racking my brain to get my thoughts written down but I finally did it. After writing, rewriting and editing this review for days, I’ve done it!

I loved the format of this book. Every chapter starts with a letter, mail or chat between Juliet and Declan. This pretty much guarantees that you don’t want to put the book down. Nope, you want to keep reading. Especially since chapters from Juliet’s POV start with a mail from Declan and vice versa. You know what I mean? You simply need to know how they’ll react to it, what they’ll do next.

Men can be like toddlers, Juliet. Sometimes all they need is something shiny to distract them.

A smaller part of this novel, but something I liked so much is the influence of art. Poetry and photography. I love it when things like that pop up in a way that proves art can have an impact in some way. Books are art, but there’s so much more out there. So many more things that can be thought-provoking, confronting and still beautiful all around.

Parents. Parents are such an enormous part of this novel. Letters to the Lost shows how much of an influence parents can have on their children. Even the smallest things can leave the biggest impact. It can change their lives, their being enormously. I honestly believe this novel showcases that brilliantly. We should mind the decisions we make, on every aspect in our lives, but definitely when it comes to the people still growing up and looking up at us to learn the ways of the world.

Sometimes you get to a point where it hurts too much, and you’ll do anything to get rid of the pain. Even if it means doing something that hurts someone else.

Communication. Letters, mails, chat-conversation. You could say this novel has a lot to say about communication in general. Honestly, that’s not even half of it. Communication is key and Letters to the Lost reminded me of that. Highlighted that so many things can go completely differently than we want them to happen if things aren’t clear.

Oh, Juliet and Declan… This novel is so character-driven, you have no idea! Both our main characters evolve, change and grow so much. It was a beautiful thing to experience. Especially Declan. He is in a really dark place throughout the book. He simply is dark, but that’s probably what drew me in in the first place.
Nevertheless, he intrigues. He scared me in a lot of ways as well. Throughout the entire book I kept holding on to the fear that he might slip over the edge. That there’d be one push too many and he’d be gone. That combined with how every chapter started pretty much explains why I read this novel in less than 24 hours, right?

I’m stuck in this rut of anger and pain and loss, but the more people try to drag me out of it, the more I feel determined to dig my heels in and cling to the grooves in the dirt.

Not only the letters and mails, but their surroundings and the situations they find themselves in are written and executed so beautifully that it… It felt real, it felt genuine and I honestly couldn’t think of any way to make this story better.

The bad
I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Juliet. She’s grieving due to the death of her mother. It’s her right. It’s normal. She’s allowed to. But… Does that mean she has to be such a… bitch? Sometimes her behavior is so uncalled for and it got me frustrated. It improves, sure, but… Yeah, I didn’t quite like it.

I wonder, if I keep faking it, will I eventually believe it? A part of me worries that I’ll keep faking it and completely forget what’s real at all.


As for the munches, there was mention of an egg-breakfast with grapes. Grapes aren’t that cheap right now, so I’m just going ahead and sharing.. my breakfast of eggs with not-grapes?


Have any of you ever noticed in your lives how important it is to communicate, and do it clearly at that? Did it got you in funny situations? Or maybe just annoying / frustrating ones?



15 thoughts on “Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

  1. Oh that book sounds SO interesting, exactly like the kind of book I would LOVE – I have to add it to the TBR! I love character driven novels and the focus on parents and how they influence us and everything else, that is so amazing, too.
    That was a lovely review! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah I can feel how touching this novel is and I want to read it too now! Everyone grieves their own way and sometimes it makes people angry and frustrated and they take it out on others.. I probably wouldn’t react that way but I might manage to find some understanding for her. Great review Kathy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I also read More Than We Can Tell through NetGalley but unfortunately I didn’t like it very much. Perhaps Letters to the Lost would be more my thing. Looking forward to your review of More Than We Can Tell!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I definitely agree to what you said on how lovely it is to find art appreciated in books… I love seeing it so, so much! Wow, I haven’t heard of this before but it sounds so interesting! While the first thing I noticed was the cover (which is, by the way, simply gorgeous), I have to say the summary and everything you said about it before made this book a catch for me… It just sounds so interesting!
    Great review ❤ Definitely adding to the TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kathy this is seriously one of the reviews that touched me deeply for a long time. Not in a I’m crying now but in a I want to read this. I love dark or flawed characters. But you said we first have to read this one so is it a series? And if you love art in books like I do you just have to read Emma Scott books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aawh, thank you so much! ❤
      It isn't necessarily a series. Letters to the Lost is about Declan, while More Than We Can Tell is his best friend's, Rev, story. If you read them out of order, you could get spoiled for the other story, depending on if you want to read both of them or not. 🙂
      I'll check it out!


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