The Girl in the Letter

Narrated by: Jane McDowell
Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (829 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 listeners say about The Girl in the Letter

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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  • AJ
  • 12-10-19

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.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • KC
  • 08-31-19

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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

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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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jane Farmer
  • 12-17-18

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
  • 11-23-18

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
  • 11-18-18

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
  • 11-13-18

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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  • J. F. Wrin
  • 09-09-18

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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  • Mrs
  • 09-09-18

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
  • 08-10-18

great listen

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

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • RICHARD EUSTACE
  • 06-26-20

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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  • Carol
  • 05-21-20

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
  • 05-10-20

Great read!

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

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  • DebManning
  • 02-03-19

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cazza
  • 09-04-18

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-28-20

Worth a listen

I think the characters in this story will sit with me for awhile. I enjoyed the story and it kept me listening. Only thing was how neatly everyone was connected. I know it was needed to keep the story going but was just a bit unbelievable. Otherwise it was a really enjoyable book.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-05-20

Depressing

Listened until chapter 15 and could endure no more.the reader the dialogue combined to produce something that I found unbearable.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-01-20

WOW

Couldn’t stop listening!! All of the pieces came together well. Even though it was set across different time frames, it was still easy to follow Lovely narration throughout

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-22-20

Struggled to finish it.

Drawn out, too many unbelievable points and moments. Quite disappointed since author so highly reccommended

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-14-20

Captivating story

I was absolutely spellbound by this book. The characters & story were so skilfully woven to the climatic last few chapters that left me sitting on the edge my my seat. I was totally immersed & loved listening to the story by the narrator whose voice portrayed every character so well.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Meg
  • 05-25-20

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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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-19-20

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-10-20

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