When Virginia Blackstone (Ginny) receives the first blue envelope from her Aunt Peg in the mail, it sends her on an exciting, funny, and sometimes poignant adventure that readers will be delighted to join. The envelope contains $1,000 in cash, and the instructions to pick up a package of envelopes that start Ginny on a trip around Europe, tracing the steps of her eccentric Aunt. The instructions are specific; no cell phones, no maps, and Ginny can only open one envelope at a time, after she's completed each task in the previous letter.
Through the letters, Ginny learns more about what drove her Aunt to flee to Europe in pursuit of her art, and about her Aunt's last year of life, since Aunt Peg has passed away from a brain tumor by the time the first envelope arrives--and Ginny never got to say good-bye. Through her adventures, Ginny learns a lot about herself. Her own strength and ingenuity, her ability to forgive, and that she, too, can be an interesting person.
Some of the tasks seem impossible; find the one cafÃ???Ã??Ã?Â© in all of Paris where her Aunt spent a month sleeping behind the bar and decorating the cafÃ???Ã??Ã?Â© to pay her rent. Others are easier, at least on the surface; find a starving artist and be his mysterious benefactor. Readers will both laugh at some of Ginny's mishaps and cringe at some of her mistakes as the envelopes lead her around Europe.
Peopled with a strong cast of supporting characters--the cute playwright she meets in London, the annoying family of Americans with a "schedule" in Amsterdam, the crazy artist friends of her Aunt--the novel unfolds at a fast pace, while never losing its poignancy as Ginny retraces the steps of the Aunt she loved. Ms. Johnson has written an excellent and entertaining novel that I highly recommend.show more