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The Girl in the Letter

Narrated by: Jane McDowell
Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (163 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Kathryn Hughes, this gripping novel of long-buried secrets will stay with you for ever.

A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away. A mystery to be solved.

1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret's, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.

Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret's. Before it is too late. 

Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret's set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a 60-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for ever....

Read her letter. Remember her story.... 

©2018 Emily Gunnis (P)2018 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A great book, truly hard to put down. Fast paced, brilliantly plotted and desperately sad at times - all hallmarks of a best seller." (Lesley Pearse)

"I was gripped by The Girl in the Letter. The story is compelling, twisty, heart-wrenching and thought-provoking. A novel that stays with you." (Sophie Kinsella) 

What members say
Average Customer Ratings
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastically True

I was a midwife in 70's this did happen, we had an unmarried mother's home near us . The stories I could tell you. The only difference was they had their babies in the hospital but they were made to sign their babies away by the church and government. We had 24 babies up for adoption at one time. the other cruelty was they kept all those young girls in with mother's that were keeping their babies . A well written and researchef book .I loved it

2 people found this helpful

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Confronting

I have never written a review before but felt compelled to after listening to the audio book .
It is one of the best books I have read and I have read hundreds

2 people found this helpful

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  • Meg
  • 25-05-2020

Clever.

So well crafted. Sometimes listening to a book with time changes is confusing but this was well done. Narration clear and strong. Only thing I don't understand is...when the real Kitty was found and mistaken for Elvira, she would have been wearing different clothes to those Elvira left the convent in. I'll be reading more of this author.

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Loved it

A friend recommended this book and it was well worth reading. Made my trips to and from work something to look forward to.

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lovely but sad

Couldn't believe these happen. but found this book moving. how the women involved we strong. Found it very sensitive ,sad and heartwarming. loved everything about the story. n easy listen

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Could not stop listening to it.

What an amazing book, I wasn’t able to stop
listening until I had finished it. But be warned, it contains disturbing information that makes you doubt humanity and christianity.

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So many twists

Marvellously written book. Heartbreaking & harrowing story of cruelty and deceit by those we should trust.

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I loved this book

Kept me reading all the way through. Very much enjoyed the story. Looking forward to reading her next book!

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good story but too long

This story was basically very good and engaging.
Unfortunately the language was very repetitive.
The murders were different but the languishing was the same.
Thus the book became tiresome.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Bad nuns and poor unwed mothers

Unrelenting dark misery which some call spellbinding. It got me in for a while but in the end the cliches about bad nuns, complicit priests and poor helpless unwed pregnant girls simply became boring.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Awin
  • 03-02-2019

Great story but smacking and swallowing constantly narration.

Loved the story but it became nails on a chalkboard listening to the constant smacking and loud swallowing from the narrator.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-02-2019

Great twists and turns!

The only reason I marked the performance less than a five, was the echo talk to represent phone conversation. It was harder to hear those parts.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 31-05-2019

Good Story

It was interesting from the start. several twist and turns.kept me guessing. I would reccomend

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • CCL
  • 13-01-2019

The Girl in the Letter

Excellent. Listened in audio and could not put it down.

Looking forward to more books by the author.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • TammyR
  • 11-01-2019

Engrossing and Heartbreaking Story

Captivating, intricately woven story performed beautifully by Jane McDowell. I didn't want to quit listening.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • AJ
  • 10-12-2019

Not my cup of tea

The story didn't catch me. I usually don't mind twist and turns but there were too many in this book making it a bit difficult to concentrate on the story while doing other things. The performance of Emily Gunnis wasn't the best, a smacking sound making me believe she was chewing a pastille or something throughout the book, it was a bit irritating and somewhat lack of respect towards the listener.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • mendolynne
  • 18-09-2019

desperately sad far too long

A critic wrote, about this novel, that the plot was well paced and it was “desperately sad at times - all hallmarks of a best seller”. Why would those traits be the hallmarks of a bestseller??

I am over half way through the book. There is a small plot that is far too slowly being unfolded for some of the time, but most of the time this story is so unrelentingly desperately sad it is a grueling task to keep listening.

There might well be a joyful ending to this Dickens-like tale but I sincerely do not understand why a writer would put their readers through such cruelty and brutality foisted upon young girls. What on earth does this teach us? One short description of how these poor girls, who were mostly impregnated in the 40s and 50s, were treated would suffice to let us know how hard it was back then. But why torture us for so many chapters with every tiny detail told over and over again?

That some of the girls were strong enough to survive is a good reminder of how resilient the human spirit can be. But alas I just don’t know if I can finish this book Perhaps I’ll take a break from it and then try it again later.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Melissa Nicklaus
  • 14-09-2019

Not what I thought

couldn't finish this book as I could not keep up with what was going on! Kept going back and forth between characters, it was boring, and bad performance.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-09-2019

could not stop listening, so I had to buy the book


when I was not unable to listen, I read. when I could read, I listened. Two days later I was done.
The reader was good in charater changes, but the sounds of her swallowing were annoying. I suppose the editing should have caught that. Anyway, that aside, this book had me at prologue. As mentioned in previous reviews, it was riveting and so hard to put down.
I am sharing the book with three friends who love it as I do.
I'm starting The Lost Child in a couple weeks.
The Girl in the Letter, Ivy, just needs to settle in my mind before I meet another one of Gunnis's characters. Bravo!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • KC
  • 31-08-2019

Sad to think this really happened

This story is based on a Catholic home for unwed mothers. To keep the Mother's under comtrol they use abuse and intimidation. This book is difficult to read as this home is Catholic and homes like these existed.There are so many twists and turns, you have a web of reality, of events that occured there, you have deaths, illigetimate burths and it sometimes gets hard to follow as people were tortured. It is a historical work of fiction. The storyline is interesting and sadly these home really existed. In fact sweatshops for pregnant teens existed in Ireland and UK.The narration by Jane McDowell is good. I cried while reading this book. I recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jane Farmer
  • 17-12-2018

A fairly good read...

... but as another reader said, there were so many characters that it was easy to lose track of who was who. I thought the idea was good though and the story revealed the harsh realities for many young pregnant girls in the 1950s and 60s.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mintychristine
  • 23-11-2018

Narrated well

The story itself was ok but too many characters that I didn't form any investment with At times it was going too quickly yet the phone dialogue was authentic Fairly good overall

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-11-2018

brilliant haunting powerful

The more we uncover the depths of dark deeds done by so called religious caring humans dedicated to Christ? the more we see how toxic religions can be.. its more like the complete inversion to what Christ stood for... The worst being those who should be trusted .. This might be termed fiction but we know it's true and now hundreds of priests and cardinals world wide arrested.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • susan
  • 13-11-2018

Gripping Story

I found myself seething at the injustices and almost egging on the revengeful actions. Extremely hard to put down book
The story is so strong that it almost tells itself. An excellent read.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • J. F. Wrin
  • 09-09-2018

Good story

All good but for the stupid phone call recordings, which are very difficult to hear without adjusting the volume (is is frequently not possible). Quite why we have to hear it like a 30s phone call I don’t know, but it is irritating.


The story is well plotted, the characters well formed and it has a ‘traditional’ end.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs
  • 09-09-2018

Loved it!!

Couldn't put this book down. I got a bit confused at the beginning and had to read the first couple of chapters again. When I understood all the characters I was hooked and really enjoyed the story and all the different characters.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ladyboots
  • 10-08-2018

great listen

Good read gripping in places . scary two in parts Enjoyed very much but so sad

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • RICHARD EUSTACE
  • 26-06-2020

middle of the road listen..

struggled to finish it. it tried too hard. difficult to listen to and follow with the names etc

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Carol
  • 21-05-2020

enjoyable and heartbreaking in equal measure

reading this book, you experience all emotions - heartbreak, anger, sorrow and joy.. highly recommended

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-05-2020

Great read!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. could of done with a better narrator but other than than I loved it.