Real-life Epistolary Romances – Ava Zavora @avazavora

Friday, October 25, 2013

Real-life Epistolary Romances

by: Ava Zavora

In Dear Adam, book blogger Eden enters a passionate online relationship with a mysterious Englishman named Adam. Although they eventually talk over the phone, their communication begins with tweets, then graduates to e-mails, chats and texts, the modern reincarnations of the old-fashioned love letter. Because they communicate in this way, Dear Adam can be characterized as an epistolary novel (one written in the form of a series of letters). On a side note, in Dear Adam, a letter which falls into the wrong hands leads to a heart-racing plot twist.

Romantic relationships conducted primarily through letters, like the one in Dear Adam, do happen in real life. The most famous of these is that of poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, who exchanged approximately 600 letters in 20 months. They wrote to each other for almost half a year before ever meeting. The first letter was from Robert to Elizabeth and began thusly: “I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett.” Why wouldn’t she consent to marry him with an opening like that?

Another famous epistolary love story was between playwright George Bernard Shaw and the beautiful actress, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, who wrote letters to one another for over 30 years, yet never had a physical relationship.

I had assumed that 84, Charing Cross Road was fiction but recently discovered that it is a real compilation of letters spanning 30 years between New York television script writer Helene Hanff and Frank Doel, the head buyer for Marks & Co. Book Atore in London. Helene’s brash, witty voice contrasts vividly with Frank’s formal and polite replies. While not a romance, there is a sweet undercurrent to their letters over the years as Frank’s British reserve turns to warm affection in response to Helene’s generosity. Although they never met, their letters show a wonderful affinity between these two. What a pair they would have made! Watch the movie starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins which dramatizes their correspondence.


"You're the more real to me than any man I've ever known ... "

To book blogger Eden, Adam is the embodiment of every literary fantasy she's ever had. Intelligent, wickedly funny, sexy, and attentive - he and his fascinating life seem right out of a novel. Their whirlwind relationship is so intense and all consuming that soon she can't imagine being with anyone else.

But there's one little thing that's keeping Adam and Eden from their happily ever after.

They've never met. She doesn't even know what he looks like.

Despite how hard she's fallen for him and how he makes her feel, Eden's doubts begin to threaten their passionate love affair. Why is he so mysterious? Why does he seem reluctant to meet her? What is Adam hiding?

Afraid that she's being made a fool of, Eden is forced to choose between her heart and her head. Is Adam too good to be true, as her common sense is telling her, or is the truth more startling than fiction?

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Genre - Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-13

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