By: Barbara Davis
Publication Date: December 2016
Reviewed by: Diana Hettinger
Review Date: December 12, 2016
A fixture in the cemetery where her would-be-husband is buried, Dovie Larkin sits eating her lunch. One year ago, her fiancé William committed suicide, only weeks before they were to be married. Each day, she sits on the bench by his grave and eats her lunch, searching for answers and being plagued by guilt. He left no note, no warning signs, and now, she will never have the answer as to why he did what he did. Despite everyone’s talking about her being crazy or needing to move on, she continues to go. She makes friends with the cemetery groundskeeper, Josiah, and lets life just pass her by as she wonders what she could have done differently, desperate for answers she knows she will never have. Or so she thinks. As she sits in the cemetery, she watches an older woman who is clearly going through the same things she is. The older woman leaves a letter on the grave she was visiting and then leaves because it is about to rain. Against better judgment, Dovie takes this letter, and, with good intentions, plans to take it back the next day to keep it safe from the rain. However, thinking this can help her grief, she reads it. In this letter she finds much more than she bargained for.
The letter reveals that the elderly woman’s name is Dora. Dora, it turns out, is the mother of Alice, the woman who is buried at the site she was visiting. This woman’s letter is a plea for forgiveness to her dead daughter. Dovie is instantly intrigued. She hurries back to the cemetery to return the letter the next day. She finds Josiah, and asks if there are more letters that he could have possibly found. There were, and against his better judgment, he gives them to her to read and this leads Dovie to want to help the woman. In the course of the story, she seeks to answer this woman’s questions in an attempt to find her own answers. She finds a series of mysteries, more questions and even loss that somehow lead her right back to where she needs to be. Finally present, with answers and ready to forgive and live again.
This was easily my favorite book of this whole year, hands down. The way that Love, Alice switches from past to present in the form of letters is not confusing, as many of these types of books can be. In fact, this book is anything but confusing. The letters tie in beautifully with the present and only accentuate what is happening and drag you deeper into the book. It is easy to sit on the couch and begin reading and then, hours later, wonder where time went because you were so involved. Filled with shocking twists and turns, you will not want to stop reading and yet, when the book is done, you will be wishing you read it slower.
Quill says: Love, Alice is a 100% exceptional book. Beautifully written and haunting, it will be extremely hard to put down.