Review: The Night Letters by Denise Leith

It is not often that I have the opportunity to read a novel about an Australian woman living and working in Afghanistan, and for that reason alone, I was quite intrigued by The Night Letters. This is the story of Sofia Raso, a thirty-something doctor who leaves Australia for an unusual career change in Kabul, where she spends most of her career supporting the local women, whose problems are complex and whose lives may be difficult for outsiders to understand. Luckily, they have built up a trusting relationship with Sofia. Unfortunately, however, Sofia's peaceful life--and that of those around her--is soon to be shattered by threatening notes from the Taliban and the frightening disappearance of a number of young boys from a local slum.

Although this book has a true sense of authenticity and place (author Denise Leith lived in Afghanistan for a time,) this story was, sadly, not a winner for me. Parts of the narrative were a little too slow for my liking, and though there are other narrators within the novel, I found Sofia to be quite irritating. I didn't quite understand why the author mentioned her wayward and selfish younger sister at all, as the inclusion seemed totally unnecessary, except to point out just how angelic and wonderful Sofia was. On the other hand, the plot about the letters and the missing boys is written in a way that is believable and compelling. Certainly the reactions of the locals show a good insight into human nature.

This one may not have been the book I was looking for, but with a 4.2 overall rating on Goodreads, it is obvious that The Night Letters has won the hearts of plenty of readers.

Thank you to Ventura Press for my copy of The Night Letters.

The Night Letters has been read for the Aussie Author Reading Challenge 2021


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