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Summary

The year is 1960, and Gunsmoke is the most popular show on TV. Elvis Presley tops the Billboard charts, and a charismatic young senator named John F. Kennedy is running for president. And, in North Carolina, four young Black men sit down at a Woolworth's lunch counter and demand service. Enter Esther Jane (EJ) Cloud, a 40-something spinster who manages the Dead Letter Office at the Winston-Salem post office. EJ leads a quiet life in her Old Salem ancestral home and spends her free time volunteering in the town's 18th-century medicinal garden.

One sunny Spring morning, EJ's simple life is turned upside down when the town's master gardener unceremoniously hands her a stack of handwritten letters that have all been addressed to a nonexistent person at the garden. This simple act sets in motion a chain of events that will lead EJ on a life-altering quest to uncover the identity of the mysterious letter writer―and into a surprising head-on confrontation with the harsh realities of the racial injustice that is as deeply rooted in the life of her community as the ancient herbs cultivated in the Moravian garden.

When EJ is forced to read the letters to look for clues about the anonymous sender, what she discovers are lyrical tales of a forbidden passion that threaten to unravel the simple contours of her unexamined life. EJ's official quest soon morphs into a journey of self-discovery as she becomes more deeply enmeshed in the fate of the mysterious letter writer, "Dorothea". Her surprising accomplice in solving the mystery of the letters becomes one, Harrie Hart: a savvy, street smart 10-year-old, wielding an eye patch and a limitless supply of aphorisms. Together, Harrie and EJ make seminal pilgrimages to the tiny town of Paradise to try and uncover the identity of the mercurial sender and, ultimately, learn a better way to navigate the changing world around them. 

©2022 Ann McMan (P)2022 Audible, Inc.

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Loved it.

Well narrated fantastic historical story with well punctuated humour amongst the backdrop of homophobia and racism in the early sixties. A delightful bunch of characters and I'm hoping there might be more to come.

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  • Avid Listener
  • 06-08-22

Hope to see these characters in a second book!

As soon as I finished the story, I listened to it again! So good! Hoping for a second book with these characters!

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  • Lynn Clay
  • 04-08-22

Lovely, Lyrical, and Heartwarming

I really enjoyed the characters that were fully fleshed out. The dialogue was funny and mature. This is a classy novel. Christine Williams has THE most pleasant, soothing, seductive voice. I am always happy to hear her work. Ann McMann does not disappoint either. Ready for the next one!

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  • Kyle L Felton
  • 27-07-22

Excellent read, hope there will be a sequel!

Thanks for another great book, but the only problem is I now have no other books I can read by Ann McMan! Set in the past this book definitely brings some more modern thinking to where it should have already been, and quite honestly probably already was(but not by all, by a long shot). The characters are well thought out and you can’t help but love them. I hope there is a sequel to this as much as I’m hoping for a book 5 to the Jericho series!

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  • Denise
  • 24-07-22

Wonderfully sweet book

Another wonderful book by this author. I was hesitant as I didn't love The Big Tow. Glad I went ahead and hope there is a sequel.

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  • Becca
  • 16-07-22

Unstoppable

Ann McMan and Christine Williams are an unstoppable force. Bridging the gaps between cultures of the historic past, religion and societal challenges of then and now, McMan makes connection easy and Williams brings it flawlessly to the ears.
Ever the greedy consumer, I want more.

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  • Nats
  • 12-07-22

Another hit!

Superb research, very detailed and thoughtful. What a joy of a story! Thank you, thank you and thank you!

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  • CameeW
  • 02-07-22

Good Story!

Ann McMan is a gifted writer. She creates quirky, likable characters and weaves various themes throughout the story. EJ’s mission to find the author of a set of undeliverable letters written by the same hand opens her up for self discovery, opening her heart to new people and expanding her social network, and learning about her own strength. Christine Williams is superb as narrator. I highly recommend this book,

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  • Kim
  • 01-07-22

Another wonderful story.

I really injoyed this story. It's interesting and sweet. I have yet to be disappointed by this author. The narration is perfect.

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