An old love letter found in the glove compartment of a young woman's inherited 1972 Volkswagen propels her to leave her life in Los Angeles and go to the small town of Capitola, California. There her dream of finding the writer of the letter leads her on an unexpected journey that changes her life forever.
Claire James, age twenty-three, is ready to make it on her own. When she's fired from her job as a waitress and subsequently kicked out of her sister's home, she sees it as an opportunity to start over. But even before moving, a thirty-five-year-old love letter written to her mother keeps Claire stuck in the past. Michael Thompson, a middle-aged real estate agent, wants to keep the past where it belongs - at least until his grown daughter is married. But, then a young woman comes to town . .
Claire’s not been loving life since her mother died a year ago. She’s been living with her sister and brother-in-law and though she loves her sister she really doesn’t like her drunken b-i-l at all. One day she gets fired from her waitressing job and because of that her b-i-l kicks her out of the house. Claire decides to head to Capitola, CA from LA. Why Capitola? Well, she found a letter in the glove box of her late mother’s ’72 VW and she’s so curious about the sender that she’s going to check out the return address on the letter. Too bad the letter wasn’t actually signed so she has no clue who she’s looking for.
On her way up the coast she gets into an accident by rear-ending an RV but the owners take her under their wing and she ends up at a campsite making friends with the RV owners as well as their friends. She makes it to Capitola faster than she thought she would and events start happening that puts her right into a position to truly find out who wrote the love letter along with other things she never thought she’s end up hearing.
She also meets Blake who is her new neighbor and a romance blooms – but is Claire ready to stay in Capitola for the long run and is Blake as nice as she thinks or will he end up being like all the other men in her life have been, a disappointment.
This is an inspirational book and not something that I would normally read, but when I saw the blurb the idea of this woman heading off to find out about her mother’s past really intrigued me. The letter truly changes many, many lives in the end, including Claire’s in unexpected ways. I don’t think she really thought about the past that she might possibly be dredging up when she was so insistent about finding the author of the letter and exactly what that person meant to her mother.
While I liked the story to a point there were some issues that I had with it. First of all, Claire’s trip to Capitola and the very kind people that she met along the way. It just didn’t seem feasible to me that any of it would happen. Yes, I can understand people being nice but everyone was a bit over the top in their helpfulness. While I understand that the author was trying to get across that these were good Christian people, the likelihood of all of the people Claire met along the way helping her just didn’t speak of reality to me.
Once she got to Capitola she ended up knowing more than one person and that was too coincidental for me. I know that this is fiction but the chance of that happening once is so low that to have her know two different people was nuts.
In the end while I liked the story as a whole I just didn’t find myself connected to or emotional about anyone in the story. It took me a long time to begin to like Claire; Michael, who wrote the letter, was not a very nice person until the end of the book and Michael’s wife was really too accepting of events for my liking. I really loved Geraldine, Michael’s aged mother in this story and frankly the neighbor, Blake was one of the best characters in the book – kind, attentive and giving.
Rating: 3 out of 5