The Lost Letters of William Woolf

The Lost Letters of William Woolf : The most uplifting and charming debut of the year

3.3 (1,963 ratings by Goodreads)
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'An enchanting contribution to the popular new trend of 'up lit', like Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine' Irish Times

'I found myself totally transported into William's poignant and beguiling world of lost opportunities and love' A. J. Pearce, author of Sunday Times bestseller Dear Mrs Bird


Lost letters have only one hope for survival . . .

Inside the Dead Letters Depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries. Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names - they are all the culprits of missed birthdays, broken hearts, unheard confessions, pointless accusations, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers.

When William discovers letters addressed simply to 'My Great Love' his work takes on new meaning.

Written by a woman to a soulmate she hasn't met yet, the missives stir William in ways he didn't know were possible. Soon he begins to wonder: Could William be her great love?

William must follow the clues in Winter's letters to solve his most important mystery yet: the human heart.

As heard on BBC Radio 2 The Steve Wright Show . . .

'If you liked Harold Fry and Me Before You, you will love Cullen's nostalgic debut. This life-affirming book will draw you in and keep you there' Independent

'Delightful' Sunday Times

'Deeply moving' Irish Times

'Captivates. William has what seems to be the best job in the world . . . Honest yet lyrical, Cullen's characters are drawn with sympathy. Lose yourself' The Scotsman
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 32mm | 440g
  • Michael Joseph Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0718189140
  • 9780718189143
  • 304,082

Review quote

If you liked Harold Fry and Me Before You, you will love Helen Cullen's nostalgic debut. With its themes of love, romance and frustrated hopes, this life-affirming book will draw you in and keep you there * Independent * Enchanting, intriguing, deeply moving. The Lost Letters of William Woolf concerns itself as much with lost love as it does with lost letters * Irish Times * Helen Cullen's The Lost Letters of William Woolf is a lovely novel. I found myself totally transported into William's poignant and beguiling world of lost opportunities and love * A. J. Pearce, bestselling author of Dear Mrs Bird * A beautifully written story * Prima * Soul-searching . . . a must-read * Stylist * A charming romantic caper. William Woolf, a thirty-something Englishman working in the dead letters depot of London, is the latest in a tribe of unlikely heroes. Delightful * Sunday Times * The Must-Read * Irish Tatler * A fantastic debut about the vital importance of the written word. Watch The Lost Letters of William Woolf become a big hit * Hot Press Magazine * Cullen presents readers with the mundane reality of "happily ever" after and how real life can undermine the greatest of romances. The novel is realistic without being grim and offers hope for change and transformation * Sunday Independent * Is it love or fantasy which is tormenting him? An original, refreshing novel about lost love and whether the grass is greener on the other side * Daily Mail * Once in a while a book comes along that captures your heart, and this one charmed me from the first page . . . An enchanting and bittersweet exploration of what love really means -- Maria Dickenson, Managing Director, Dubray Books A strong debut. Cullen's greatest strength is the way she writes so movingly about how day-to-day life can chip away at a once-solid relationship until it crumbles * Belfast Telegraph * Book of the Month. A perfect poolside read. Read if you liked Rachel Joyce, Alison Moore or Naomi Banoran * U Magazine * Wonderfully warmhearted and quirky * Good Housekeeping * Whimsical, wistful tale of love and longing * Mail on Sunday * A spellbinding novel. Compelling, lyrical and deeply moving -- Caroline Busher, bestselling author of The Ghosts of Magnificent Children Gorgeous. Packed full of romance and longing, the writing pulls you in and doesn't let go until the very last page. I was so sad to finish it -- Ali Land bestselling author of * Good Me Bad Me * A novel to get lost in. Warm and funny and set in a world that is both recognisable and completely the talented Helen Cullen's own -- Clare Fisher, author of * All the Good Things * This debut novel enchants and captivates. William Woolf has what seems to be the best job in the world: he works at the Dead Letters Depot, where he dedicates his life to reuniting letters and parcels that do not have a proper address with their intended recipients. Honest yet lyrical, Cullen's characters are drawn with sympathy. Lose yourself in the whimsy * Scotsman * A novel [about] the complexities of our inner lives, and of the inner lives of others. Entertaining and enriching * The National * A quirky, enjoyable novel about communication, relationships and love * Woman & Home * A tale of love, but also self-discovery. Against the backdrop of 1980's London William Woolf weaves his way through this epistolary quest, intercepting midnight-blue love letters he believes are meant for him. Helen Cullen's words stayed with me long after I had read them -- Alba Arikha, author of Major/Minor and the forthcoming Where to find me A strong debut . . . Helen Cullen writes movingly about how day-to-day life can chip away at a solid relationship * The Herald * An enchanting, lyrical page-turner and an ode to London, love, Dublin and everything in between -- Joy Rhoades, author of The Woolgrowler's Companion A wise, imaginative and heart-warming novel about the limits of love, the allure of new romance and the lost art of letter writing -- Luiza Sauma, author of Flesh and Bone and Water I LOVED this book. If you want a beautifully written story of love, loss, heartache, thwarted dreams and relationships over time, The Lost Letters of William Woolf is for you. A lyrical exploration of things said and unsaid, and the spaces between lives -- Emma Flint An effortlessly assured debut about how finding a lost letter and a twist of fate can make you question whether the love of your life is really meant for you after all -- Rick O' Shea, RTE Broadcaster What a brilliant book. I couldn't put it down -- Larry Gogan Cullen effectively floods her words with music . . . surely strik[ing] chords in many of us . . . [The Lost Letters of William Woolf] genuinely leave[s] one wanting more * Spectator * We're going to be talking to you for the next forty years * Steve Wright, BBC Radio 2 * Generous, surprising, full of heart, Cullen's debut leaves you flooded with warmth and gratitude for all the love letters you ever received and pure regret for all the ones you never sent * Ruth Gilligan, Nine Folds Make A Paper Swan * A gorgeous love story about the multitude of possibilities and choices in our lives-and how by saying hello to one path, we say goodbye to another. The lost stories in the Dead Letters Depot moved me greatly. A delightful romantic and original debut * Tor Udall, author of A Thousand Paper Birds * A love-letter to letters and a brilliantly written, moving homage to the power of words, The Lost Letters of William Woolf celebrates the magic of pen and paper' * Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop * The Lost Letters of William Woolf is a beautiful novel, more so because at times it feels like a book out of time, capitalising on the nostalgia of a time before smartphones, emails and Google. It is a remarkably refreshing read and certainly an interesting one - and it's a debut work that marks Helen Cullen as an author worth watching * Culturefly Review * Will warm your cockles and restore your faith * Leamington Courier *
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About Helen Cullen

Helen Cullen is an Irish writer living in London. The Lost Letters of William Woolf is her debut novel.
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Rating details

1,963 ratings
3.3 out of 5 stars
5 12% (228)
4 28% (545)
3 43% (841)
2 14% (283)
1 3% (66)
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