Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson is a tender treatment of the complexities of a decades-old marriage and the heart-stirrings that come when one feels heard and understood after years of emotional neglect.
5 out of 5 stars
Author Anne Youngson is a grandmother, and this is her first published novel. What an inspiration she is for older writers like me!
It reminds me of two of my most beloved books: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows and 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. It is an “epistolary” novel—an exchange of letters through which the story unfolds and the characters are developed. It was utterly charming, poignant, and heartwarming.
The correspondence begins when a middle-aged farmer’s wife, Tina, writes to a professor at a Dutch museum to inquire about “The Tollund Man,” whose mummified remains are on display at the museum. The professor is long dead, but her letter is answered by the museum’s curator, Anders, a widower. Both Tina and Anders have grown children.
Through long and detailed letters over many months, their friendship grows. While Tina and Anders come to know each other, their families, and their secrets, so does the reader.
I was reminded of the rich connection that can develop through correspondence. As Tina and Anders discovered, writing a letter can be a therapeutic way to process strong emotions and anxietie. It helped them make sense of the challenges in their lives.
Since they wanted to share the activities of their lives with each other, they paid more attention to what they saw and felt and to the experiences and conversations they had with others.
This was a powerful reminder to me not to take my own life or relationships for granted.
We could all wish for a correspondence as lovely and vibrant as this one between Tina and Anders. In giving each other their time and affection, they each found parts of themselves they had lost.
I’m praying for a sequel!
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If you enjoy sending handwritten notes and letters—or want to get inspired to do that more—you might enjoy my Facebook group called “Revive the art of personal note writing!” We share ideas and inspiration, and occasionally we let others in the group know when someone needs a hug by mail. No pressure…just fun.