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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Swindler

Wintery Epistolary Novels

As the days grow shorter, seemingly, so does my attention span. But, like a collection of short stories, or essays, I find epistolary novels easy to pick up and set down ten minutes later.

I love how the epistolary genre has expanded to include modern forms of communication. Here is a mix of classic and more modern examples of the genre.

We Are the Light

This is one of my favorite books of 2022. Set in a small town in Pennsylvania, this novel is told through a set of letters Lucas Goodgame writes to his Jungian analyst, Karl, after a tragedy tears apart his community.

The Appeal

The Fairway Players, a local theatre group, rally around their beloved director Martin and his family after he reveals that his granddaughter has been diagnosed with a rare form of community. Tensions continue to rise as the troupe rehearses for their upcoming play until someone winds up dead. Two young lawyers sift through the compiled emails, letters, and text messages, trying to figure out what has gone wrong.

84, Charing Cross Road

The only non-fiction book on this list, this charming classic is a collection of letters from the author, Helene Hanff, located in New York, and her bookseller in London. This book is a beautiful picture of a twenty-year friendship and will warm your soul.

The Martian

Mark Watney is sure that he is going to die on Mars. He went from being the first man to walk on the red planet to being stranded after a dust storm took out the rest of his crew. Told through a collection of his journal entries, this book is a tale of resilience and bravery.


This book is heartbreaking. "Speak up for yourself—we want to know what you have to say." From the moment she walks through her high school doors, Melinda knows she is being fed a lie. No one wants to hear what she has to say. She is an outcast after an end-of-summer party goes wrong. Now she is left to face the hypocrisy alone, having to face the person who hurt her the most daily.

Dear Martin

Justyce is heading to the Ivy League, but everything changes when he has a run-in with an off-duty police officer. The experience leaves him turning to the teachings of Dr Martin Luther King. So he writes MLK letters, asking him if his teachings hold up in our modern world.


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