A Letter From Sarah by Dan Proops Urbane Books March 7th 2019
Adam’s sister, Sarah, has been missing for seven years, but he hasn’t given up hope of finding her. He is a sculptor and lives with his bedridden father who is a bully and a curmudgeon.
One morning, as the anniversary of Sarah’s disappearance nears, Adam receives a letter from her and she is apparently alive and well, living in New York. Adam travels to Brooklyn to search for Sarah as he’s desperate to see her, but she seems determined to avoid him.
Sarah’s letters arrive weekly, but she continues to remain elusive. Adam is perplexed by Sarah’s requests for secrecy, as is his father and his girlfriend, Cassandra.
He is determined to find her, whatever the cost to his wellbeing, health and sanity….
It wasn’t obvious when I read this novel exactly what genre to place it in, it wasn’t crime, and it wasn’t thriller as the blurb on the back might have indicated. For me, it was a novel driven by the characters Proops created, a novel of self discovery, of mental health and healing.
Our main protagonist was very clearly depressed, and who wouldn’t be if your career as a sculpture was at a standstill, your father, a bully and self absorbed, and a sister who seven years ago mysteriously disappeared. It was Adam’s inability to accept the disappearance of his sister and move on that Proops used to great effect, to fashion a story around Adam, of his life and the relationships with those around him. Proops gave us a real sense of Adam’s pain and anguish and whilst you felt empathy there were also times when you felt frustrated at his inaction and general attitude. You wanted those around him to be more understanding, to help him, to push him forwards but they remained wrapped up in their own lives or unable to get through to Adam to help.
It was Cassandra, Adam’s girlfriend that appeared the most supportive, but Proops gave her her own issues, that clashed against Adam’s yet raised some thought provoking moments for the reader. I did wonder how the two had remained together for so long, but then we often stay in a relationship because of the comfort and security it offers us and I am sure this was the same for Adam and Cassandra.
The ray of sunshine, that lifted the novel from the gloom had to be Nigel, a character down on his luck and not a man you liked but one who provided lightness, whose insensitive manner and actions at times made me smile and also want to punch him!
Adam’s father, Darius, appeared older than he actually was, a man wracked with guilt at his daughter’s disappearance, yet punished his son, unwilling to see his son’s distress or so I thought.
So there we had all the main characters, and Proops’s skill was his ability to write of the relationships between them, the intricacies, the anger, and the way in which they drove the story. It became clear as I read that each had a purpose, that they were there to teach and guide Adam, to send him on a particular path and this is what made the novel so interesting. What else made it fascinating was Proops ability to get inside Adam’s mind to document his depression, his slow mental decline and you were never quite sure how the novel would end. The ending when I did get there was one that took me by surprise, but perfectly fitted with the whole essence of the novel.
If you like a novel that closely examines who we are, how we deal or not deal with the impact of major events in our lives then you would enjoy, A Letter From Sarah, as much as i did.
I would like to thank Urbane for a copy of A Letter From Sarah to read and review and to Love Books Group for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Dan has been a full time writer for six years and has completed four novels and a memoir. He wrote short stories as a teenager gleaning knowledge from his grandmother, the legendary advice columnist, Marje Proops.
Dan was a professional artist, and had a one man show at the age of fourteen in London. He’s had many exhibitions over a long career and his artwork was purchased by internationally acclaimed art dealer, Eric Franck. His artwork appeared frequently in the national press and his painting was featured in Image of the Week in the Times. One of his exhibitions was previewed in the Telegraphby columnist Colin Gleadell.
Dan lives and works in London. He is a Twitter influencer and has a following of 22, 000. Dan has been using the twitter platform for some years. In 2016 he had a wide outreach and his tweets were seen by 1.5 million users.
Dan lives and works in London.
You can follow Dan Proops on Twitter @Dan_Proops