The best books about love letters

8 authors have picked their favorite books about love letters and why they recommend each book.

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Marcus Aurelius in Love

By Amy Richlin, Marcus Aurelius,

Book cover of Marcus Aurelius in Love

This book contains a selection of letters from the correspondence between Marcus Aurelius and his rhetoric teacher Fronto. Most of these letters date from Marcus’s youth and show a quite different side to his character. Richlin argues – controversially – that some of these letters give evidence of a homosexual relationship between Marcus and Fronto. Although I’m not convinced by that claim, this volume remains a really helpful way to access these letters in a modern translation with helpful notes. The youthful Marcus we meet is a nice counterpoint to the older Marcus of the Meditations.

Marcus Aurelius in Love

By Amy Richlin, Marcus Aurelius,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marcus Aurelius in Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1815 a manuscript containing one of the long-lost treasures of antiquity was discovered-the letters of Marcus Cornelius Fronto, reputed to have been one of the greatest Roman orators. But this find disappointed many nineteenth-century readers, who had hoped for the letters to convey all of the political drama of Cicero's. That the collection included passionate love letters between Fronto and the future emperor Marcus Aurelius was politely ignored-or concealed. And for almost two hundred years these letters have lain hidden in plain sight.

Marcus Aurelius in Love rescues these letters from obscurity and returns them to the public eye.…


Who am I?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on Stoicism. He is also a founding member of Modern Stoicism and The Aurelius Foundation, both non-profit companies devoted to bringing Stoicism to a wider audience and showing how it can benefit people today.


I wrote...

Marcus Aurelius

By John Sellars,

Book cover of Marcus Aurelius

What is my book about?

In this new study, John Sellars offers a fresh examination of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations as a work of philosophy by placing it against the background of the tradition of Stoic philosophy to which Marcus was committed. 

Challenging claims that Marcus Aurelius was merely an eclectic thinker, that the Meditations do not fit the model of a work of philosophy, that there are no arguments in the work, and that it only contains superficial moral advice, Sellars shows that he was in constant dialogue with his Stoic predecessors, engaging with themes drawn from all three parts of Stoicism: logic, physics, and ethics. The image of Marcus Aurelius that emerges is of a committed Stoic, engaging with a wide range of philosophical topics, motivated by the desire to live a good life.

The Lost Letter

By Jillian Cantor,

Book cover of The Lost Letter

This is a heartbreaking, yet uplifting novel of love and survival inspired by real resistance workers during World War II Austria, and the mysterious love letter that connects generations of Jewish families. It takes place in both 1989 Los Angeles and 1938 Austria. I love this book because of Jillian’s beautiful writing, and her strong sense of place. I felt transported to WWII Austria, where I became deeply invested in the love story between Kristoff and Elena. I also enjoyed that the modern-day story takes place pre-internet, where a newly divorced woman, Katie, does hands-on research to learn more about an unusual WWII-era stamp. Both narratives weave together seamlessly. I was lucky to read this book while visiting my family in Switzerland, surrounded by the beauty of the Alps.

The Lost Letter

By Jillian Cantor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lost Letter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A gorgeous and thrilling novel… Perfect for book clubs and fans of The Nightingale.” –PopSugar

A historical novel of love and survival inspired by real resistance workers during World War II Austria, and the mysterious love letter that connects generations of Jewish families. A heart-breaking, heart-warming read for fans of The Nightingale, Lilac Girls, and Sarah's Key.
 
Austria, 1938. Kristoff is a young apprentice to a master Jewish stamp engraver. When his teacher disappears during Kristallnacht, Kristoff is forced to engrave stamps for the Germans, and simultaneously works alongside Elena, his beloved teacher's fiery daughter, and with the Austrian resistance…

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by historical fiction since I was a child when I read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and it absolutely captivated me. I appreciate how history cautions us to examine the present, so we don’t repeat the same injustices. After failing to get a literary agent for not one, but two contemporary novels, I decided to shift my focus to historical fiction. Inspired by dual-narrative structure, I wrote a novel set in both present-day San Francisco and 1876 San Francisco. That book, my debut, The Dressmaker’s Dowry, became a USA Today bestseller. I’ve since gone on to write two more novels, Boardwalk Summer and The Pilot’s Daughter. 


I wrote...

The Pilot's Daughter

By Meredith Jaeger,

Book cover of The Pilot's Daughter

What is my book about?

In the final months of World War II, newspaper secretary Ellie Morgan dreams of having her own column, while also trying to uncover any scrap of evidence that her missing pilot father is still alive. But when she discovers a stack of love letters from a mysterious woman in his possessions, her world goes into a tailspin. Enlisting the help of her aunt Iris, Ellie travels with Iris to New York in search of the truth.

But Iris is hiding secrets of her own: in her past as a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl, her experiences with the glamour and danger of Jazz Age New York could reveal more than the origin of her brother-in-law’s alleged affair…she believes her actions in those days led to murder. 

Yours Truly, Thomas

By Rachel Fordham,

Book cover of Yours Truly, Thomas

There’s nothing like the antics of a pet to bring a lady and a gentleman together. A beloved dog with the improbable name of Honeysuckle does just that in this charming novel. A letter that ended up at the Dead Letter Office leads Honey’s pretty owner to a small town in Iowa to find the man who writes words she can’t forget. You’ll find yourself remembering them too.

Yours Truly, Thomas

By Rachel Fordham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Yours Truly, Thomas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people's mail. Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the Dead Letter Office. Still she dreams of something more--a bit of intrigue, a taste of romance, or at least a touch less loneliness. When a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love falls into her hands, Penny seizes this chance to do something heroic. It becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.

Thomas left his former life with no intention of ending up in Azure Springs, Iowa. He certainly…

Who am I?

As the author of more than 50 works of warm, witty historical romance, I love seeking out stories that will make me smile. I’m a firm believer in happy endings, in the books I write, and the books I read. I’m also a bit obsessed with history, having driven a carriage four-in-hand, learned to fence, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research.


I wrote...

Never Doubt a Duke

By Regina Scott,

Book cover of Never Doubt a Duke

What is my book about?

When the mysterious owner of the Fortune Employment Agency and her cat arrange for the irrepressible Jane Kimball to take the governess’ position with the Duke of Wey, everyone has doubts. Alaric, Duke of Wey, may command his staff, his tenants, and the halls of Parliament, but he can’t manage his own daughters. As an old danger rears its head, he comes to rely on Jane’s practical nature to navigate the waters of fatherhood. And when necessity dictates he take a wife, thoughts turn to an unlikely governess who might make the perfect bride.

Book cover of To All the Boys I've Loved Before

There has been lots of hype around this book series and for a reason! Jenny Han is super talented and like so many readers out there I was charmed by Lara Jean’s story, especially since I had trouble openly admitting my own crushes in high school! I adored the storyline, the tight bond between the three sisters, and must admit to having watched the Netflix film a few too many times too.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

By Jenny Han,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked To All the Boys I've Loved Before as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a Netflix feature film!
Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.

One for every boy she's ever loved.

When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all
the things she would never say in real life, because her letters
are for her eyes only.

Until the day her secret letters are mailed,
and suddenly Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control!



The first book in the bestselling series by Jenny Han, which
has been made into a NETFLIX feature film

PS I Still Love…

Who am I?

A wellness enthusiast and environmental activist, Isabelle began her career as a corporate attorney where she worked in Toronto and New York. She decided to follow her calling as a writer and chose happiness and fulfillment over stress and sleepless nights. She’s published eight books, including the international best-selling novel J’adore New York and the teen series Bonjour Girl. She also recently published two self-help books to help others navigate change and transformation. She’s a life coach, an avid speaker, and is the host and author of the Soulful Couture podcast and blog about eco-fashion.


I wrote...

Bonjour Girl

By Isabelle Laflèche,

Book cover of Bonjour Girl

What is my book about?

When Clementine Liu arrives in New York City to study at The Parsons School of Design in New York, she knows that she’s found her place. It isn’t long before she meets her fashionista soulmate, the loud and charismatic Jake, and Jonathan, a dreamy fashion photographer who turns her world upside down.

Between schoolwork and fashion shows, Clementine launches a blog: Bonjour Girl, and her wit, originality, and flair catapult the site to cult status. Unfortunately, this comes with a price: Clementine is faced with online abuse and humiliation. In the midst of all the drama, she finds out that a classmate is not what she seems, and Clementine has to find a way to save both her reputation and Jake’s fashion collection. What adventures, challenges, and temptations await? One thing's for sure: hitting the books has never been so fashionable.

Book cover of The 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time

Years ago, someone gave this book to me for Valentine’s Day; and I literally drowned in the pages, the naked emotion. The next Valentine’s Day I bought copies for several friends. I would call this collection more beautiful than romantic; with each love letter, you hear love from various perspectives and time periods.

The 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time

By David Lowenherz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If a picture speaks a thousand words, a love letter speaks a thousand more . . .

Even in this age of e-mail, faxes, and instant messaging, nothing has ever replaced the power of a love letter. Much the way light displays every color when passed through a prism, love letters express the spectrum of our emotions, offering a colorful glimpse into the soul of the writer, and of the writer’s beloved. For passionate readers and lovers of words, a letter is irresistible.

Internationally renowned collector David Lowenherz sifted through hundreds and hundreds of historical and contemporary epistles and selected…

Who am I?

I’m a Korean American author who believes life is too short to read books that bore you, classics or otherwise. I’ve always had eclectic tastes and like to pick out books the way customers choose bonbons at my chocolate shop (which I’ve co-owned since 1984). And while I do read and often write longer works, I’ve always preferred to fall into a world from the opening line and bow out soon thereafter. By nature, I’m a minimalist – and maybe don’t have the greatest attention span – so I’m in awe of short works that stand on their own. They’re just more dramatic and memorable to me.


I wrote...

That Lonely Spell

By Frances Park,

Book cover of That Lonely Spell

What is my book about?

Frances Park’s parents arrived in the United States decades before the mass migration of Koreans. Her background and memory are rich with unique histories that work their way into That Lonely Spell, a collection of humor and heartache that covers much emotional ground from the innocent Sixties to the wild Seventies to the entrepreneurial Eighties – all the way to today. Kirkus Reviews praised her memoir with “Heart and humanity shine through in essays that speak to a fierce love of family and longing for home.” 

Book cover of When a Scot Ties the Knot: Castles Ever After

Tessa Dare makes me laugh. Out loud. In When a Scot Ties the Knot, Madeline is pretty and talented, but terribly awkward. The last thing she wants to do is go through the agony of a London season. Fortunately, she avoids the London marriage mart by inventing a sweetheart, Captain Mackenzie, who is conveniently never around because he’s in the army. She pens long, romantic letters to her perfect lover and spins grand tales of their deep affection for each other. When her family puts pressure on her, she relates the devasting news that her captain is dead. Fast forward a couple of years and guess who arrives on her doorstep. What happens next is so much fun!

When a Scot Ties the Knot

By Tessa Dare,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When a Scot Ties the Knot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shy, pretty, and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart. A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter ...and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed…

Who am I?

I am passionate about historical romance and romance readers. My favorite era in history is the Regency, the period during which the Prince of Wales was named Regent. It is also the time during which Jane Austen wrote. Austen readers are particular about details so it’s daunting to write Regency fiction. Still, I love to write it and read it. I’m also passionate about Scotland, its history, the land, the people, the customs, the folklore, the food, and the music. If you’ve never been, put Scotland on your bucket list. They say it’s the oldest rock on earth. There’s magic there, too. Really and truly. Magic.


I wrote...

Saving the Scot

By Jennifer Trethewey,

Book cover of Saving the Scot

What is my book about?

For Louisa Robertson, acting is her first love, her passion and her excuse to wear trousers on stage. It’s also the reason her father sends her to America to wed a man she’s never met. Faced with a life she doesn’t want, Louisa does what she does best. She becomes someone else–her maid, Miss Mairi MacQuarie.

When General Robertson hires Ian Sinclair to sail his daughter to America to marry her betrothed, all that’s on his mind is the commission he will receive when the job is done. Nothing prepares him for her infuriating companion, Miss Mairi McQuarie. If they survive this trip, it will be a miracle.

The Love Letter

By Anika Aldamuy Denise, Lucy Ruth Cummins (illustrator),

Book cover of The Love Letter

A misunderstanding about the intended recipient of a love letter first brings Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel great joy, but then threatens their friendship. In the end, Mouse helps them remember why they love each other. The final illustration even suggests that Mouse is joining their circle, since after all, love is unlimited. The Love Letter struck me first as a writer, because I recognized a unique story premise; and then I realized how much tenderness underlies both the text and the illustration.

The Love Letter

By Anika Aldamuy Denise, Lucy Ruth Cummins (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Love Letter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* An Indie Next List Pick *

"Appealing illustrations combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love." -Kirkus

Fall in love with this endearing and adorable picture book that illustrates how a little bit of heart goes a long way to making the world a better place.

Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel are best friends. One day, they each find a letter. But not just any letter...

A love letter.

My word!

My whiskers!

Aww, nuts!

Someone loves them. But who? The answer may surprise you!…


Who am I?

I expect that the folks at Shepherd.com approached me as a picture book author, since I’m the author of eleven picture books, including the four books of the Vampirina Ballerina series, which were adapted into the Disney Junior hit series Vampirina. But my thoughts and ideas about friendship and community really stem from once having been a child myself and from being a parent of four children, each of whom approached the roller coaster ride of childhood friendship in their unique ways. I was always happy to help them find answers in a book, even when those answers involved more, and deeper, questions.


I wrote...

Groundhug Day

By Anne Marie Pace,

Book cover of Groundhug Day

What is my book about?

Starring a cast of lovable forest animals, Groundhug Day is ostensibly a book about late winter and spring holidays, but more deeply, it’s about friendship. If we value our friends, we take time to appreciate the ways in which we are all different from one another. Instead of dismissing Groundhog because he is afraid of shadows, the friends learn to work with him to help him conquer his fears. And while Porcupine’s quills make it difficult to hug him, the friends find other ways to express affection.

Groundhug Day may start out being about a Valentine's Day Party, but in the end, it’s really a celebration of community.

Book cover of Some Things That Meant the World to Me

I’m starting to feel bad it’s all dudes (and white dudes) on my list, but I think that, despite the fact that these days I only read women-written domestic psychological thrillers (they’re just better at it), when I first got straight I sought out others just like me. I didn’t think recovery was possible. Josh’s book is as harrowing and poignant and gorgeously written as they come. I mean, I think Oprah picked it for a book of the month. What more can you ask for?

Some Things That Meant the World to Me is gritty with plenty of down and dirty. But at the center of Josh’s (and his stand-in Rhonda's) story is a poet's heart (as well as a love letter to my city too, San Francisco).

Some Things That Meant the World to Me

By Joshua Mohr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Some Things That Meant the World to Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#8 of 10 Terrific Reads of 2009. "Charles Bukowski will dig the grit in this seedy novel, a poetic rendering of postmodern San Francisco." -O, The Oprah Magazine

A Best Book of the Year -The Nervous Breakdown

"Where Michel Gondry would go if he went down a few too many miles of bad desert road." -The Collagist

"Mohr's prose roams with chimerical liquidity. The magic of this book is a disturbing, hallucinogenic magic." -Boston's Weekly Dig

Following a 30-year-old man named Rhonda suffering from depersonalization, Some Things That Meant the World to Me is a gritty and beautiful work that…


Who am I?

I'm a mystery writer and teacher now. Back then, I spent 10 years homeless and addicted on the streets of San Francisco. I could always return to Mom in CT and get put in a cushy rehab. Until I couldn't. And then she was dying, and my younger brother was addicted and soon he'd be dead too. It got scary at the end because I wasn't just some white suburban kid playing a scumbag junkie. I was a scumbag junkie. But why do I have a passion for the topic? I guess it's because it isn't all bad. I know that sounds weird, but being homeless and addicted has moments of beauty and joy too. 

I wrote...

Junkie Love: A Story of Recovery and Redemption

By Joe Clifford,

Book cover of Junkie Love: A Story of Recovery and Redemption

What is my book about?

Junkie Love is my memoir in the 2nd ed, a novel in the first, because the publisher (Battered Suitcase) didn’t publish memoirs. It’s tricky with true stories because our memories are highly influenced. Add drugs? All bets are off. I can tell you this: I possess a remarkable retention, and though I write crime fiction now, I am not that creative. Save a few name changes and trip consolidation, that book is the truest story I’ll ever write. And I ain’t never going back. 

Bibliophile

By Jane Mount,

Book cover of Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany

From the workspaces of famous authors to bookish quiz questions to portraits of the most adorable bookstore cats, this one is an illustrated love letter to the universe of books. Jane Mount recommends her best reads from memoirs to fantasy, shows her favourite bookstores, and presents songs about books, books that were turned into great films and so much more, including for sure some beautiful book facts that are new to your giftee.

Bibliophile

By Jane Mount,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bibliophile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Searching for perfect book lovers gifts? Rejoice! Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany, is a love letter to all things bookish. Author Jane Mount brings literary people, places, and things to life through her signature and vibrant illustrations. It's a must-have for every book collection, and makes a wonderful literary gift for book lovers, writers, and more.

Readers of Jane Mount's Bibliophile will delight in:
Touring the world's most beautiful bookstores Testing their knowledge of the written word with quizzes Finding their next great read in lovingly curated stacks of books Sampling the most famous fictional meals Peeking inside the workspaces of…

Who am I?

I am writing about the good things in life, covering love, books, motorcycles, and everything in between. It was around 2010 when I started travelling for my job as a travel journalist and lived abroad for some years in France, Namibia, and Indonesia. I started to visit indie bookstores in every city I got to and made a book out of them ten years later. The best part was the precious, deep, and always inspiring conversations with the bookshop owners. This list contains their and my favourite well-tried book present recommendations for every age and occasion.


I wrote...

Do You Read Me? Bookstores Around The World

By Marianne Julia Strauss,

Book cover of Do You Read Me? Bookstores Around The World

What is my book about?

Do You Read Me? is showing the most beautiful, quirky and magic bookshops I found all over the world, from Los Angeles to Beijing, Reykjavik, Paris and Tel Aviv. Independent bookshops are personal, political and surprising, they can show you doors to unexpected roads. They are places where likeminded - and unlikeminded! - people meet, talk and inspire each other.

This book seeks out the most innovative and committed bookshops achieving this, sharing their concepts and celebrating book culture in all its glorious forms. Support your local bookstore!

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