My visitor today is… well… I think I’ll leave it to Jennifer Young to introduce him.
How strange it is to be writing a letter. We don’t do that any more.
We do all sorts of things instead. We use texts and we use Facebook messenger. If we’re feeling particularly in-your-face we might go public with our communications. (Twitter works particularly effectively in getting a prompt response from customer service, and even government, departments, or so I’ve learned.) But for all that buzz of digital information, digital communication and digital tracking, there’s still a place for letters.
You’ll be thinking love letters, or I imagine you will. And indeed, there’s little more moving than a thoughtfully-written note to cry out that it’s for your eyes only (perhaps with a few judicious crossings-out, with like changed to love). After all, nobody ties up their texts with ribbon and keeps them in a shoebox with a pressed flower for future generations to discover.
But there’s another type of communication that only really resonates by letter. My book, Looking For Charlotte, begins with one such — and ends with one, too. It’s the antithesis of a love letter. It’s a suicide note — and a confession.
I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it. I know why I did it though – I did it because of all the things you did to me and the way you ruined my life. I did it because you never trusted me and you never tried to understand, because everything was black and I couldn’t see anything – light, hope, luck.
I don’t hate you now.
She didn’t suffer. She was asleep and she never knew. I took her out into the sunshine and I buried her where she can be in peace, with the birds and the moors and the wide wide sky. She’s at home in Scotland. And if she’s lonely she can see people, there are a couple of houses. There’s a big glass house and one with a rusty old car and there’s lots and lots of blue. She loved blue. You do too, don’t you?
I never realised that revenge makes you cold and dead inside.
Suzanne, I’m sorry. I know it’s too late now. Poor little Charlie. But I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
Looking For Charlotte is a mystery-cum-romance based upon a true story. It combines love and loss and redemption as my heroine, Flora, sets out to find the body of little Charlotte Anderson so that Charlotte’s mother, Suzanne, can begin to pick up her life and start again. She has no connection with Charlotte or her family — she’s motivated by a desire to do good. And it begins with a letter.
It ends with a letter, too — a note from Suzanne to her late husband. Because there are some things that can only be communicated via pen and paper, even when we’re talking to the dead.
I love letters. Long may they drop through your letterbox
About Looking For Charlotte
Divorced and lonely, Flora Wilson is distraught when she hears news of the death of little Charlotte Anderson.
Charlotte’s father killed her and then himself, and although he left a letter with clues to the whereabouts of her grave, his two-year-old daughter still hasn’t been found.
Flora embarks on a quest to find Charlotte’s body to give the child’s mother closure, believing that by doing so she can somehow atone for her own failings as a mother.
As she hunts in winter through the remote moors of the Scottish Highlands, her obsession comes to threaten everything that’s important to her — her job, her friendship with her colleague Philip Metcalfe and her relationships with her three grown up children.
Looking For Charlotte is available from Tirgearr Publishing.
About Jennifer Young
Jennifer Young is an Edinburgh-based writer and copywriter. She is interested in a wide range of subjects and writing media, perhaps reflecting the fact that she has both arts and science degrees. Jennifer has been writing fiction, including romantic fiction, for a number of years with several short stories already published. Looking For Charlotte, her third published novel, is inspired by a true story of loss and goodness, and is set in the beautiful but bleak Scottish highlands.
You can find Jennifer on:
So now you know: my visitor, Ally, is dead.