Frances & Bernard by Carlene Bauer is a soulful, funny, intelligent novel about a poet and a novelist and their exuberant friendship. Set in the heady world of the New York literary scene in the 1950s, the story evolves as the characters write letters to each other across the years, sharing details of their work, their families and their spiritual beliefs. The letters are beautifully crafted and perfectly wonderful.
If you like epistolary novels, here are some other excellent books structured in the form of letters, emails, journal entries or diary passages:
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson - Robinson's novel is a family saga that starts just before the Civil War and continues until the mid-1950s. The story opens in 1956, when 70-ish Rev. John Ames realizes that his days are numbered. Married with a young son, Ames writes a letter to the boy, hoping the child will read it when he is a young man.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer - Juliet Ashton is a jaded writer worn out after years of trying to write about the upside of the Second World War for the general public. She is looking for something new to refresh her battered spirit, which arrives in the form of a letter addressed to her by a farmer from Guernsey.
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver - Kingsolver's novel tells the life of Mexican American novelist Harrison William Shepherd through diary entries, letters, and newspaper articles.
Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole - Although Elspeth Dunn's surroundings on Scotland's Isle of Skye have provided inspiration for her poetry, the young woman has never ventured beyond her isolated home. But American college student David Graham has found Elspeth through her writing and becomes her first fan. In a friendship and eventual romance carried out through letters, Elspeth and David establish a deep bond that is threatened with the arrival of World War I.
Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar - Parmar creates a fictionalized account of the complicated relationship shared by Virginia Stephen Woolf and her sister, Vanessa Stephen Bell. Told through a series of diary entries and letters, the novel explores the admiration, jealousy, and devotion that defined Virginia and Vanessa's relationship.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple - Bernadette Fox was at the top of her game as a well-known architect, until something happened that threw her off course. Now, she struggles with such anxiety that she barely leaves her house and hands off most of her duties to a virtual assistant in India - a decision sure to have disastrous consequences.
Descriptions from Books & Authors