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Summary

After her mother, Brenda, passed away and her father sold the family home, broadcaster and writer Emma Kennedy found herself floundering, unable to make peace with the complex, charismatic woman who had been her mum. And then they found the letters....

This heartbreakingly funny book about the impact of discovering lost letters is a celebration of correspondence; those lost acts of penned love, the vivid snapshots in time scattered back through a life.

It is also about a childhood shrouded in shame, the lies Brenda told her family, the madness that set in and ultimately, what it means to be a daughter and a mother. Finally, Emma allows herself to explore what she couldn't while she was growing up: the question of who her mother really was.

©2022 Emma Kennedy (P)2022 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What listeners say about Letters from Brenda

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Sad yet funny and uplifting

I had already read Ms Kennedy’s books so knew Brenda from old. This was at times an impossible listen yet I couldn’t stop. Brenda was funny, charismatic, hard work and clearly mentally ill. Yet she was loved and loved her family, this much is clear.

Her letters are a triumph and had me howling with laughter.

Listen. Please do. You won’t regret it. Both Ms Kennedy and Juliet Stephenson are brilliant in the reading of the book and the letters that form part of it.

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Wonderful!

What a poignant book! So interesting and thought provoking. There’s sadness and seriousness in Emma’s reflections, but it’s also very funny - those letters!!Wonderfully read by the author, with Juliette Stephenson reading Brenda’s letters. I listened to this book whilst travelling by train from the UK to Croatia - which was just perfect! Highly recommended.

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Excellent

Hard to stop listening! Excellent performances by the author and Juliet Stevenson, and a really interesting epilogue by the psych in his own voice.

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  • SP
  • 24-05-22

Another triumph from Emma Kennedy

A beautifully written and performed account of Emma’s life through the letters of her mother. This book will have you laughing, weeping and pondering on your own relationships.

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A sumptuous, moving book.

Delightfully narrated. In turn sad, funny and surprising. I highly recommend it.
Makes me miss my mum.

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Stunning labour of love

A fascinating and deeply sensitive exploration into the complex Woman that was Brenda Kennedy, undisputed star of book "The Tent, the bucket and Me" and TV series "The Kennedys".
Thankyou Emma for sharing your family with us in such a deeply personal way

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Absolutely brilliant

The best book I’ve read in ages. Absolutely loved it. It made me laugh, cry and understand my sister who died last year a little more.

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Thank you

Thank you, Emma Kennedy, for writing this beautiful book! And narrating it! It helps me understand my difficult father better and support the proces of forgiveness I’m now in the middle in. And I had great laughs too, so thanks again! Irmin ( the Netherlands)

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A story of a life...

told with obvious admiration but also hilarious amusment. An honest, gut punch of a biography, but for the most part the loving bond of this incredible family shines through.

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A relatable and poignant memoir for me.

I recognise so many of the aspects Emma conveys of her relationship with her mother Brenda. My mother too has been celebrated by those outside of the family, as fun, intelligent, witty, charming, creative and remarkable, which she was.

The most poignant part for me was the Consultant’s letter at the end. So many parallels, the power of shame, the sense of emptiness trying to be filled with extreme emotion; my mother feels there is no point to her life without extreme emotion, however painful it might be. And there needs to be a constant supply of it too.

I love Emma’s performance, especially the asides commenting drolly on the disingenuousness of some of Brenda’s claims.

I would have loved to have letters like these from my mother so I could remember the undoubted fun times; I may begin writing to my adult children, so they have the possibility!

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  • Daniel. F. Rockwell
  • 30-07-22

Letters

Thank you Ms. Kennedy for a full & inspirational life story, about your relationship w/your mother & the paths you both traveled. So close to mine as well! Very well written!

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  • Sun Day
  • 03-07-22

Excellent!

You will not regret listening to this one. It was the best performance of an audiobook that I have heard so far. It will make you laugh out loud as well as tug at your heartstrings. If I could give it more than 5 stars I would!