The Love Letters

Charlotte Napier has much to learn about herself, her faith, and her marriage. She flees to Portugal, desperately looking for comfort after the death of her son and, she thinks, her marriage. There she finds solace in the letters of a 17th century nun who struggled with temptation and sin. As Charlotte achieves a clearer focus on her own pain, she gains a powerful sense of the rigorous and demanding nature of real love.

Originally published in 1966.

Genre: Adult fiction

The Love Letters


“Those familiar with L’Engle will feel at home in the thematic territory of The Love Letters. Life hurts but the pain can be redeemed through love. We are bound together in the human experience. God’s ways are mysterious and unexpected, but ultimately trustworthy. The making of art brings order to experience, but it has integrity only if the artist balances between discipline and inspiration.”
-Janet Goodrich, Across the Page, 2010

“There is a great deal of vaporous sentiment– ‘Love must be enfleshed’: querulous questions– ‘Why does the joy of love contain so much sadness?’, anguished answers ‘Without the sadness there is no joy.’ The audience is one which will have to be attuned. This too assumes an act of faith.”
-Kirkus Reviews, 1966

“While at first I struggled with reconciling Mariana and Charlotte’s stories, or even finding a point to the entire novel which I knew L’Engle would have – the book was still completely inescapable. I could not put the book away, there was always one more section I felt I needed to read.”
-Sarah, Goodreads, 2011

“NOT a light read.”
-Sara Bauer, author, Goodreads, 2013


“Madeleine L’Engle: An Epic in Time”
María Ruiz Scaperlanda, 2000 / St. Anthony Messenger