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Magical New Novel: Review of Letters to My Yesterday by Karyn Sepulveda

September 17, 2018

Life hasn’t been easy for Rose. Her beloved husband John died suddenly when their children, Lucas and Marie, were small, and Rose knows the locals still gossip about the fact that she opened a general store as a single woman. Rose never lets the naysayers get to her though, and with her store thriving and her children growing into beautiful young people, her life is rich and full. But when tragedy strikes again one night, Rose knows nothing will ever be the same.

By the age of 92 most people have long since retired, but Marie has never been like most people. She still rises before dawn each day to begin setting up the cafe she inherited from her mother, and she’s still behind the counter from 6am every morning to greet loyal regulars like Dee, who always pops in for a coffee before work. But when Marie’s health begins to fail, she’s finally forced to think about retirement and the future of her much-loved little cafe is plunged into uncertainty.

After moving from Lebanon to Australia at the age of eight, Dee had a hard time fitting in at school, and was often bullied for her Muslim faith. Now a school principal, that’s why Dee is so passionate about the campaign that will see her school become the first publicly recognised interfaith school in the country, but as she works with local marketing guru Isla on the campaign, the two women encounter increasing resistance from parents, and all Dee’s plans are jeopardised.

Isla is enjoying her marketing role in South Public School’s interfaith campaign launch, and she loves coming home each evening to her spacious home and her two gorgeous dogs. Yet Isla still wakes up every morning with that feeling of pain – pain about the devastating loss that she experienced long ago, which haunts her still.

Following the lives of four very different Australian women, Letters to My Yesterday is a magical new novel from Karyn Sepulveda. With her four main characters so intimately and realistically drawn, you’re certain to come across some of your own experiences of womanhood mirrored in the pages, making the story both relatable and deeply moving, and Karyn explores the themes of love, loss, family and friendship with nuance and skill.

Rose, Marie, Dee and Isla don’t appear out of the ordinary when we first meet them, but as we eventually discover, all four women have endured great challenges in their lives. Despite this, they continue to offer their love and support to others, and as Marie, Dee and Isla in particular grow closer, each woman begins to heal through the love of their newfound friends. In this sense, Letters to My Yesterday is a beautiful reminder that women can survive near-anything with the support of each other.

Partway through Letters to My Yesterday, Dee raises her glass with a ‘cheers to strong women’, and we’ll drink to that, too (and to Karyn Sepulveda for writing such a great book). Cheers!

About the author:

Karyn Sepulveda comes from a background in theatre and teaching. She enjoys working on many creative projects, including a podcast Letters to Our Yesterday, in which she interviews extraordinary women about their life journey. Karyn lives in Sydney with her husband and two children. If she had to pick the perfect day it would include: the beach, great music, family and a good book.

Purchase a copy of Letters to My Yesterday here 


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