I’d never forgotten him—a man I’d yet to meet.
Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break.
Until one day it did.
Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing.
Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person.
Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love.
But what I found could change everything.
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This book made me cry my own tears. I’m not a fan of crying, especially over a book, but there was a tiny moment at the end of Dirty Letters that was so touching, so emotionally wrought that I couldn’t help but tear up. Dirty Letters, like all of Ms. Keeland and Ms. Ward’s works, was quite a bit heavier than the title or blurb indicated. It’s one of the things I love most about their work, and I look forward to seeing how they turn such seemingly light storylines into these heavy-hitting love stories.
I was immediately drawn to Luca, she was sad and vulnerable, and all of the things she’d endured in her life made her an incredibly sympathetic character. Watching her slowly, steadily, painstakingly face the hardest parts of her life was incredibly rewarding. Seeing her find someone willing and able to stand by her side to help her fight against her fears was beautiful. Griffin hadn’t lived a storybook life himself, but he had used the scars of his past mold him into a strong, level-headed, supportive partner. Luca couldn’t have found someone more suited for her had she written him herself.
The childhood pen pal concept was utterly novel to me. I wasn’t sure how it would play out, but I was taken aback by just how deep and emotional the book was before the main characters had ever met in real life. There was a certain anonymity and cushion of safety in those handwritten, snail-mail letters that allowed Luca and Griffin to open up to one another in a way they probably wouldn’t have otherwise. Watching their relationship play out in such an unusual way was fascinating, and I think this may be a new favorite trope for me.
Dirty Letters was a surprisingly emotional experience for me. At every turn, there was another blow coming at the characters, whether through a relived experience or a situation they didn’t see coming. Luca and Griffin navigated some very tricky paths, with the help of perhaps the most endearing psychiatrist I’ve ever read, with nothing more than the love they shared to guide them. It was beautiful to see how they each sacrificed and reached far beyond their comfort zones to ensure there was room in their lives for one another.
PS – I just heard that McDonald’s is bringing back their Furby Happy Meal toy for a limited time, in case you find yourself wanting one after this book. LOL!
Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author.
She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism.
With over 1.5 million books sold, she is a twenty-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over twenty novels.
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. With more than a million books sold, her titles have appeared in over fifty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in fourteen languages. She lives in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.