The Lost Art of Letter Writing

When was the last time you received a letter?

I don’t mean a bill or a sales pitch in an envelope, I mean a proper, heartfelt, personal letter? It seems hard to imagine in these days of texts, emails and WhatsApp voice notes but once upon a time, writing letters was our main form of communication. Even in hard times, like World War 2, people stayed in touch via ‘snail mail’ and wrote to each other from warships and air raid shelters and even the blood and guts of the trenches. 

My mum has letters that my grandparents wrote each other during the war, when he was away in the Navy and she was living in the bombardment of the London blitz. Today, those letters give a fascinating snapshot of a pivotal time in history, but back then I imagine they were something far more personal to treasure.

Perhaps it’s the knowledge that the sender’s fingers touched those same pages; that their love is blended in with the ink, but to me a letter contains far more heart and soul than an electronic message.

Ever since I moved out of home my dad has written letters to me, and I’ve kept every one. I now have boxes and bags and drawers of them, full of his wisdom and wit and love.

When I was writing the first draft of my new novel The Secret Keeper I wanted to inject some heart and soul into my spy thriller, so I came up with the idea of a woman trapped in Occupied France writing a last letter to her grand-daughter before the Nazis banned overseas mail. 

I drew upon the kind of letters my dad writes me when I wrote this fictional letter from Grand-Mere Rose, as she tries to compress everything she would want to tell her grand-daughter into 9 words…

Love your fear

Seek the wonder

Embrace the mystery

Little does she realise the affect this letter will have on her grand-daughter, Elena, and how her words of wisdom will help her as she joins the American Secret Service agency, the OSS, and works undercover as a spy in Europe to try and help liberate her grand-mother.

My greatest hope for The Secret Keeper is that it inspires readers to rediscover the lost art of letter writing.

I know it’s so much quicker and easier to send a quick text but how lovely would it be to take the time and effort to write something the recipient could treasure?

Whose day could you make by sending them a letter?

And what would you write to them?

Maybe you could thank them…

Or send them a quote you think might inspire them…

Or reminisce about a special time you shared…

Or just jot them a line to let them know you’re thinking about them…

Whatever the content of your letter, I guarantee it will make the most delightful surprise.

Here’s to communicating and connecting the old-fashioned and heartfelt way!

The Secret Keeper is available in digital, paperback and audio now.

Find out more and order your copy here.

“I learned so much about Hollywood’s role in the war and the outstanding courage of undercover agents in Europe. This book needs to be on every historical fiction reader’s list.” GoodReads review⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“I will never forget The Secret Keeper … a soul-stirring, compelling adventure that kept me pinned to the pages. I highly recommend this amazing historical novel.” The Musician’s Poet ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


  1. Real handwritten letters are lovely and have such a sense of care about them. I have an old French postcard that I found in a second hand book that seems like it was sent to a lover, I can’t tell exactly what is written on it, but it feels like I’ve had a tiny glimpse into someone’s life, it’s a really special thing. : )

    1. siobhancurham

      Oh that’s so lovely! And it feels like it could be the start of a really intriguing story…

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