Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Pages - 224
Publisher - Doubleday
Source - Review copy
Blurb from Goodreads
Please be aware I am writing to you to make sense of myself ...
When the curator of a Danish museum responds to a query about ancient exhibits, he doesn’t expect a reply.
When Tina Hopgood first wrote it, nor did she …
Professor Anders Larsen, an urbane man of facts, has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. He does not know that a query from a Mrs Tina Hopgood about a world-famous antiquity in his museum is about to alter the course of his life.
Oceans apart, an unexpected correspondence flourishes as they discover shared passions: for history and nature; for useless objects left behind by loved ones; for the ancient and modern world, what is lost in time, what is gained and what has stayed the same. Through intimate stories of joy, anguish, and discovery, each one bares their soul to the other. But when Tina's letters suddenly cease, Anders is thrown into despair. Can this unlikely friendship survive?
When Tina sends a letter to the museum in Denmark regarding one of it's exhibits she doesn't expect a reply. When Professor Kristian Larsen replies he doesn't expect a reply, what follows is a personal journey of exploration and friendship for both. Told completely in epistolary format (letters) we are introduced to both their lives, issues they have and watch a friendship form as they deal with issues they hadn't even realised needing addressed.
This is a lovely wee debut, I don't know what I was expecting to be honest but it wasn't what it turned out to be. The letters start off really formal then less so as they open up to each other in ways they can't to those around them or even themselves. It is a tale of friendship, love, loss, acceptance and personal growth. In amongst that we learn about "the Tollund Man" found in a Danish bog in the 1950s, well preseved and a bit about the history surrounding the Tollund Man's lifetime. I do enjoy learning history although I don't read as much as I really would like to. I find with snippets like this I then go off and read up on them, an unexpected happy point from reading this wee story.
It is a slow burner but worth sticking with, it has many depths, both characters examining parts of themselves they have hidden or refused to look it. I think many will find this a special and touching read. I don't often do books that are written completely as letters however I did enjoy the change in format and think it was well executed. 3.5 out of 5 for me this time, I will look out for more from this author. If you want something heart warming, personal, raw and emotional I can't think of two characters who go on a journey experience it more, together, than these two.
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