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Last Letter from Istanbul

by Lucy Foley

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month Family Drama Historical Fiction Relationship Stories Weekly Staff Picks

LoveReading View on Last Letter from Istanbul

Just gorgeous, this is a story to shine a light in the darkness, even in moments of despair. Constantinople in 1921 is a confusing, often frightening place to be, in the first few pages, two reports from 1918, perfectly sum up the two opposing sides, each report almost interchangeable. Nur’s house is in the hands of the British and being used as a hospital, she finds her thoughts on the occupiers altering and conflicted when she takes an orphan in her care to be treated by George Munroe. Five separate yet entwined stories exist side by side, different time frames ensure the past spears the present, while the future whispers to the past. Lucy Foley has developed a beautiful writing style, the vivid colour stamps its impression on the pages, conjuring taste, touch, smells and sounds, as well as creating a feast for your eyes. As the book began to come to a close, it felt as though two trains were on an inevitable collision course. The sweeping horror of war and occupation, both momentous and insidious, is clearly felt, yet it is the intimate, the individual connections, that were the highlight of this read for me. ‘Last Letter from Istanbul’ caresses, sparks and skewers thoughts and feelings, it is a truly penetrating and captivating read - highly recommended.

Liz Robinson

Last Letter from Istanbul Synopsis

An epic tale that vividly captures the turmoil of forbidden love, set against the rich backdrop of a legendary city steeped in history and myth... The perfect read for fans of the sweeping historical novels of Santa Montefiore & Victoria Hislop. Constantinople, 1921 Each day Nur gazes across the waters of the Bosphorus to her childhood home, a grand white house, nestled on the opposite bank. Memories float on the breeze - the fragrance of the fig trees, the saffron sunsets of languid summer evenings. But now those days are dead. The house has been transformed into an army hospital, it is a prize of war in the hands of the British. And as Nur weaves through the streets carrying the embroideries that have become her livelihood, Constantinople swarms with Allied soldiers - a reminder of how far her she and her city have fallen. The most precious thing in Nur's new life is the orphan in her care - a boy with a terrible secret. When he falls dangerously ill Nur's world becomes entwined with the enemy's. She must return to where she grew up, and plead for help from Medical Officer George Monroe. As the lines between enemy and friend become fainter, a new danger emerges - something even more threatening than the lingering shadow of war.

Last Letter from Istanbul Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

A beautiful soulful book with much realism and thought. It does start slowly with the character development in short chapters and I was a good way through before it became compelling, but when it does grab you it is a wonderful moment and I couldn't put it down. Full review

Judith Smith

I thought it was well written. I will look out for more books by this author as I have never read any of her books before now. Full review

Manisha

As the pace increased the book became a very good read. I loved this book and found it really thought provoking. Full review

Kathy Howell

Each chapter is succinctly but beautifully written and the overall feeling of the book is so evocative - colours, heat, smells are all vividly conveyed on every page. A really enjoyable, satisfying read. Full review

Sandra Rabiasz

Lucy Foley attempts to transport you to another place and another time with Last Letter from Istanbul. I did enjoy this book as a light, easy to read novel Full review

Suzanne Beney

An enthralling, sumptuous, feast for the senses! One of those books where you're not quite sure where you are when you finally look up from the pages. Full review

Sarah Jones

Quite simply the most beautifully, poignant book I have ever read! It is incredibly descriptive and engages all of your senses until you are totally immersed and transported to a time when Istanbul was an occupied city. Full review

Elaine Lowe

The slow revealing nature of the book leaves the reader wondering and despite the short chapters, reading far too late into the night! Full review

Lucy Bunce

At the heart of this gritty story set in occupied Constantinople is forbidden love at a time (1921) difficult to even contemplate today. Full review

Phylippa Smithson

This book explores notions of belonging and identity that are rarely externalised to others, but nevertheless felt and experienced. Full review

Sabine Little

This is a breath-taking story. It is very good and the descriptions are really eloquent. Full review

Joy Bosworth

This is probably one of the best books I have read in the last year. Full review

Lynne Rapson

A delightful book you simply can’t put down. Full review

Sue Mooney

A book that filled my heart with love and hope and made me realise how frail yet strong the human race is. An emotional rollercoaster of a book with hidden depths. Magnificent. Full review

Helen Clark

If you like a well written, meaty romance, then I can definitely recommend this one. And if you like a plot set at a time in history in the cusp of social change, then this is a must. Full review

Phyl Smythson

I really enjoyed this story and I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in wartime stories. Full review

Edel Waugh

Last Letter from Istanbul Press Reviews

Praise for Lucy Foley: 

`A seductive love tale'   Sunday Times Style 

`Glamour, secrets and danger makes this a gorgeous summer read'  Woman & Home 

`Sultry escapist fiction at its best - 5*  Heat 

`The perfect summer read... Gorgeously compelling'  Good Housekeeping 

`Oozes glamour... Lush, romantic and cleverly crafted - a brainy beach read to relish'  Sunday Mirror 

`I loved The Invitation. . . I could dive into this book. A beautifully complex and vivid story, full of repressed longing and secrets. An absolutely enchanting tale'  Lucinda Riley  

`So powerfully evoked . . . with dark, sensuous undercurrents that lingered on in my mind, long after I'd reluctantly left Stella and Hal behind'   Kate Riordan  

`Film crew, Italian Riviera, 1950s. What part of that does not appeal?'  Red 

`Full of mystery and long-reaching shadows of the past . . . richly drawn and compelling'
Rosanna Ley 

`This epic love story is an unputdownable summer read'  Essentials 

`If you like Victoria Hislop you'll love the seductive and heady The Invitation'  Lovereading

`An utterly seductive story depicting forbidden love and loss in 1950s Italy. The perfect beach read this summer'  Louise O'Neill 

`I loved every page - it's vividly written and utterly absorbing'  Iona Gray  

`Foley weaves a very satisfying love story . . . readers will be taken by the luxurious Mediterranean setting'  Publishers Weekly 

`Glamorous and romantic and bittersweet all at once . . . a fabulous story
Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of A Hundred Summers 

`It's a beautiful, compulsive and glamorous read - perfect for long summer days' 
Lucy Clarke, author of the Richard & Judy bestseller, The Sea Sisters 

`The combination of the glittering, glamorous setting and the magnetic characters mesmerized me. This book is luminous'  Elin Hilderbrand 

`A compelling love story that takes us far beyond the alluring Italian coast to a darker place'   Brunonia Barry 

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780008169077
Publication date: 19/03/2018
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008169077
Publication date: 19th March 2018
Author: Lucy Foley
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 432 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Relationship Stories, Weekly Staff Picks,
Categories: Historical fiction, Historical romance,

About Lucy Foley

Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities. She then worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry - during which time she also wrote The Book of Lost and Found. Lucy now writes full-time, and is busy travelling (for research, naturally) and working on her next novel. Author photo © Philippa Gedge

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