by Caroline George
***This review is in a different format than normal since it was originally written for Netgalley***
I typically don’t read books that are more centered on a romance plot, but after I kept hearing so much buzz about Dearest Josephine, I decided to go ahead and request an ARC of it.
Dearest Josephine is an epistolary novel told in emails, texts, letters, and a manuscript. It alternates between letters written by Elias Roch in 1821, emails and texts from Josephine (Josie) De Clare in 2021, and a manuscript written by Elias.
Elias’s part of the novel covers his struggles as the illegitimate son of a lord, who’s now come into his father’s title. He writes to a Josephine De Clare he met once, even though he doesn’t know where Josephine lives and therefore cannot send them.
Josephine’s part of the novel covers her life as she moves to the estate her recently-deceased father bought. As she processes her grief and what to do next, she finds the letters written by Elias 200 years ago to someone with her name.
The novel was written by Elias and is basically his daydream about what could have happened between him and his Josephine De Clare. There is also a little bit more to the novel, but that would give away some spoilers.
Because I also received an ARC of the audiobook, I was able to listen to and read Dearest Josephine and ended up finishing it in a day. While I wasn’t sucked into the romance of the book, I was very curious as to how the author was going to tie everything together. Was she going to pull in time travel somehow? How was she going to end it?
I liked how George ended the book. It was a very fitting ending and tied everything together.
While the random snippets of texts between Josie and some of the other characters didn’t add to the plot of the novel, they did help keep the world of Dearest Josephine feeling fleshed out and gave us some more glimpses of Josie’s character.
There were times when the novel part of the book made me confused about what really happened in Elias’s real life. Once I got it in my head though that if it was talking about Elias in the third person it was part of the novel, I had an easier time.
Some things I wasn’t a huge fan of:
The various break-ups and reunitings between Faith and Noah also started to annoy me a little bit after a while.
I also was surprised by the abbreviated, “oh my –” used throughout the novel. I wasn’t expecting that in a book published by a Christian publishing house. There are also several instances of kissing, and a swear word is used frequently throughout the novel, though with its original meaning.
Overall, Dearest Josephine was an enjoyable read. It’s in a different genre from what I normally read, which makes it a little hard to decide if I’ll read it again. However, if you’re a fan of YA romance or the Regency time period, you’ll probably enjoy Dearest Josephine.