More Than Love Letters
Hardback 2006, Paperback 2007.
Idealistic young primary school teacher Margaret Hayton writes campaigning letters to her MP (fast-spinning New Labour smoothy Richard Slater) about everything from asylum seekers to dog waste.
They meet, and eventually they fall in love – with more than a little trouble and confusion along the way.
A mixture of romance, tragedy and farce, this is also a novel about life in Ipswich in the shadow of the sugar beet works.
“… an achievement … a highly original mix … a host of believable supporting characters …”
– The Daily Telegraph
“… an achievement … a highly original mix … a host of believable supporting characters …” – The Daily Telegraph
“This is a gently amusing tale of love, life and the lost art of letter writing… The witty asides keep the narrative ticking along nicely and there’s a fitting conclusion.” – East Anglian Daily Times
“Thornton’s debut is charming and funny” – Glasgow Evening Times
“Despite the serious intention, the novel is a wonderfully pleasant read. Thornton does not shy away from sensitive issues but handles them with a skilful touch. The story is entertaining and the epistolary style allows for a comfortable and genuine intimacy with the characters. There are also plenty of humorous moments to keep a smile on your face…. Altogether, this was a delightful novel to read.” – ROOF magazine
“This is a refreshing twist on the romantic novel. The use of letters, e-mails and newspaper clippings really bounces the tangled storyline along… Light, frothy and delicious.” – SHE magazine
“Roundly praised as a cut above the usual suspects in the world of chick lit, … Rosy Thornton has produced a real dazzler in her debut novel ‘More Than Love Letters’… Thornton’s first offering makes for a refreshingly original and highly entertaining read… A unique book that effortlessly conveys genuine comedy, romance and tragedy, mixed with an apt social and political commentary, ‘More Than Love Letters’ is a real triumph and one you won’t want to put down.” – Style magazine
“A love story with a difference.” – Woman’s Weekly
“A charming well-written book, full of sweet anecdotes and humorous stories”
– Belfast Sunday Life
“A impulse buy, this was a very lucky find and I can’t wait to read more from Rosy Thornton. In the introduction this new author says that in the first draft of the novel she made the rookie error of forgetting to include a plot – well, in the final version she’s certainly cracked it. The plot is incredibly strong and will appeal to anyone with a love of the English language, political satire, wit, wisdom and irony. At its heart this is a romance… But is a great deal more, gently and good-heartedly addressing issues of honesty and deceit, love and loss, old age, divorce, drug rehab, asylum seekers, sex and political intrigue – to name but a few! The novel is told through a glorious mix of letters, emails, minutes of meetings, Hansard reports and newspaper articles as the loves, lives and idiosyncrasies of a wonderful cast of characters are revealed. Richard Slater’s emails to his friend the MP for West Bromwich are a comic masterpiece.”– book-worm.biz
“Like A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, More Than Love Letters manages to balance serious issues with being the funniest book I’ve read for a while … I don’t quite know why it hasn’t been given the same attention as Marina Lewycka’s novel … but I highly recommend it!” – Trashionista
“This is a really funny, heartwarming book you will not want to put down. I loved the heroine, Margaret, from the very beginning and although she might seem slightly bonkers, her passion and enthusiasm make her totally loveable. Told through the medium of letters and emails this debut novel makes you laugh out loud and revel in the romance, but also handles issues such as mental health and homelessness in a very sensitive thought provoking way, giving the novel an extra depth. Great stuff!” – Lovereading.co.uk
“A classic epistolary novel… It’s all very cleverly done. The styles of letters are different enough to show the characters of the people concerned, and the story gradually builds up through the various correspondence.
It’s not just a romance, although that’s a thread running through the book. There’s an examination of the problem of the homeless, particularly refugees from abroad. There’s a serious, sometimes shocking look at the long-term effects of incestuous child abuse. And there’s a lighter look at the mistakes and misunderstandings that can so easily arise in the media. It’s thought-provoking in these ways and others, without in any way preaching.
It’s much better written and deeper than typical chick-lit, despite the frothy looking pastel cover to the book. With characters of all ages, it would probably appeal to most women, and perhaps even some men. It reminded me somewhat of the novels by Libby Purves, which also manage to combine a good story with some very thought-provoking issues.
Definitely recommended.” – The Bookbag
“The closest comparison I can think of would be Paul Torday’s ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’, from the format of the novel to the humour and the pleasantly old-fashioned love story…. Entertaining, sweet, wise, original and yet old-fashioned – a very unusual mix.” – Vulpes Libris
“I had no idea what I was getting into when I added More than Love Letters to the TBR pile except for the fact that it looked chick-litish… But in fact this story was much more than this and I had a real hard time putting it down each time I had to get back to real life.
While telling their story, Thornton, in an apparently light hearted manner, approaches a lot of less light subjects and the mix of it all is what makes it so attractive and compelling. Margaret is warm hearted and caring and that really shines through in the book making you close it with a smile in your face. The whole cast of secondary characters, some funny, some tragic, combine to give the story an unexpected depth. And the author very successfully manages to convey a reality that is very British.
The twists and turns the story will take will keep you reading till you reach the last page and I can’t recommend it highly enough.” – Aneca’s World
“Brilliant, absolutely brilliant… I give this book a 10 out of 10.” – Debra’s Book Café
“I loved the book… It opens with letters and emails which would make anyone smile and smile and smile… I thought it was a light read, it does tend to go into a very strong pro feminist stance as well. It made for a very interesting read. There are innumerable subjects covered in this book – political satire for one, the position of illegal immigrants in Britain, the sadness of the depressed and the abused, and over riding it all the optimism of the young and a story of romance which ends well… Very readable and thoroughly enjoyable.” – Mystica
“More Than Love Letters is an interesting mix of literary conventions, part old-fashioned love story, part political satire, all thoroughly imbued with a feminist message… I had a lot of fun reading this and was delighted by how many surprises it offered. I had been intrigued by it for some time… I finally broke down and bought a second-hand copy and I am delighted that I did! Now I shall forever have to hand a sweet and original novel that perfectly encapsulates so many of my reading preferences.” – The Captive Reader
“More than Love Letters… is not simply a romance, it is a book about life with its farcical, complicated, touching and even tragic moments… A realistic portrait of a variety of unforgettable human characters.” – Fly High
“I’ve rarely read a novel where the personal combines quite so seamlessly with the overtly political. Thornton’s delicacy of touch is especially impressive considering that More than Love Letters is an epistolary novel… the writing informs without ever veering into dreaded info-dump territory… Perhaps what I relished most about MTLL was the humor and positivity steaming off each page. Thornton’s fictional landscape has more than its fair share of grimness–there’s suicide and domestic violence, and the wicked often go unpunished–but after reading this book, you feel that it’s not a bad old world after all, and Thornton proves conclusively, you doomsters, that happy endings and intelligent writing aren’t incompatible… Thornton’s wit is pointed and yet very good-natured… Thornton is very very good as straining her opinions through the particularities of each character. And what characters they are–I took each one into my heart, and I dare you to find a more likeable heroine than Margaret in contemporary fiction.” – Brown Paper
“More Than Love Letters is, above all, a love letter to love letters… If you’ve gotten exhausted by all your serious reading and need some relief, but all the fun books you’re considering come with a ‘but’, then I’d suggest Rosy Thornton’s novel. Parts of it are fun, AND there are some serious bits that linger beneath. (See: no ‘but’.) In the same way that, for instance, so many of the Virago Modern Classic and Persephone titles that so many of us love can be dismissed by some readers as ‘light stories’ but often have other layers… Not only is it a pleasure to turn the pages of More Than Love Letters, but it’s a solid reminder that, in the right hands, a novel can be fun AND a seriously good read.” – Buried in Print
“This is Rosy Thornton’s first novel… and it has all the humour & romance that make her novels so much fun to read… There are tragedies as well as humour in the book & the story is involving from the beginning. More than Love Letters is a romantic story with a serious undercurrent. A Condition of England novel for the 21st century as the novels of Elizabeth Gaskell were in the 19th.” – I Prefer Reading