This book is for everyone who has fallen in love with a fictional character (including me)
It's been a while since a novel has pulled
me in as fast as Dearest Josephine by Caroline George did. George masterfully weaved modern and Victorian lives into one cohesive novel through the way the novel was written. Each section of the novel was differentiated by Josie De Clare's email and SMS messages to her best friend Faith in 2021, and Elias Roch's letters and manuscript addressed to a Josephine De Clare from 1821. George managed to connect the reader to both characters so intimately through their similarities and their differences. You truly felt like you were alongside Josie as she learned about the life of Elias Roch, and you felt like you were with Elias while he searched for the woman he loved. Every relationship in the novel felt so completely organic, and you got to get to know each of the characters at the same pace that Josie was. She may have been connected to Elias, but she was still living in the present. You hardly realized the bonds that were forming in 2021 until the end of the book. They grew slowly and subtly, just like most relationships.
George tells the story of finding a connection within writing, even one as unconventional as love. I think that's why Josie felt so familiar to me, we both have fallen in love through literature. I have to say that Oliver McLaughlin really does check all of my boxes. It's a story of love, but not just romantic love. It's full of platonic love, self-love, familial love, and so much more. It's a novel that teaches you that love doesn't always end in together, but that doesn't mean that that specific love wasn't important. All loves we experience in life has a lesson to be learned, and this lesson was that sometimes love is unexpected, and that sometimes you need to let go of one love to allow a new one to enter your life.