I didn’t set out to include a whole chapter of texts in my upcoming Christmas collection, We Three Kings, and I honestly didn’t even know if it would be allowed. However, it helped to quickly show connection between characters over a span of time, which is important when writing shorter forms of fiction. My editor called it genius, and now it’s my favorite part of the book.
This writing style is known as epistolary, which was a term I hadn’t heard until my roommate at a writing conference described her manuscript as such. Traditionally, the term meant a story was told through letters, but in contemporary novels, communication can be expanded to texts and emails.
In honor of my favorite chapter, I offer other contemporary epistolary novels.
- Then Came You by Becky Wade. This is the first book I’d read in such a style, and it quickly endears the reader to each of the various characters. It made me cry (happy tears) on a plane.
- Authentically, Izzy by Pepper Basham. Such a sweet, bookish tale and the first in her trilogy.
- Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay. I haven’t read this one yet, which seems to shock all my author friends. Apparently, I need to download a copy ASAP.
- Greetings from Next Door by Chautona Havig. This novella is the beginning of a whole epistolary series in the works! Available in October, you’ll be able to buy the paperback from her website or get it in the Once Upon a Starry Night collection on Kindle.
- Heart’s Song by Aaron Gansky and Kaye Morrison. This one is internet romance with a rock star. I’m intrigued!
- Three Little Words by Melissa Tagg. I do love Melissa’s Walker Family Series. This one is about a couple who sparred in the high school newspaper column He Said/She Said, and after their ten-year reunion, they pick back up through email. How fun is that?
- Writing Home by Amy R. Anguish. Inspired by her grandparent’s letters, this heroine decides to look for a deeper relationship from a modern-day pen pal. It’s only partly epistolary but sounds completely adorable!
- Dear Henry, Love Edith by Becca Kinzer. The book isn’t epistolary, but the story depends on letters between two young characters who both assume the other is elderly. I couldn’t put it down.
- Tacos for Two by Betsy St. Amant. This fun adaptation to You’ve Got Mail includes my favorite trope of hidden identities when the competing food truck owners fall in love through text messages.
- Plum Upside Down by Valerie Comer. This cute romance also includes a series of emails that plays a big part in drawing two characters closer.
Now that I’ve explained epistolary novels, I’d love to know your thoughts. Answer the following question for a chance to win a copy of We Three Kings, which releases tomorrow!!!
Question: Have you read an epistolary novel? If so, which one, and what did you think? If not, would you want to and why?