Letters, books: a reading list of epistolary novels

Like diaries, I love reading books that are essentially just letters. I love the mail and I love getting letters (although I don’t particularly like writing them), and so reading books composed entirely of letters is a lot of fun! Unless it’s boring, which can sometimes happen.

But mostly it’s not boring! Here’s some of my favorite letter-y novels:

  1. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn (2001).
  2. Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart (1914).
  3. Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (1988).
  4. Evelina, Or, the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World by Fanny Burney (1778).
  5. The Year Of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty (2003).
  6. Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster (1912).
  7. Freedom and Necessity by Emma Bull and Steven Brust (1997).
  8. Persian Letters by Montesquieu (1721).

What’s your favorite epistolary novel?

Thanks to Once Upon a Bookshelf for the list-y inspiration!

8 thoughts on “Letters, books: a reading list of epistolary novels”

  1. Oo! Oo! The Guernsey Potato Thingy book also! And although the letters of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning are not a novel, I would put them on this list also because they read sort of like a novel, complete with a very touching happy ending.

    1. I’ve heard good things about it! I didn’t realize it was an epistolary novel, though. That makes me want to read it.

  2. Love Ella Minnow Pea – and Guernsey Potato etc is also very good. My favorite is Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith which are all letters written by one woman to various people, from her adolescence through her old age. I liked seeing the passage of time through the letters.

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