[Review] Lucina’s Letters by Barbara Francesca Murphy

Publisher and Publication Date: Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd. March 31, 2022.
Genre: Fiction.
Pages: 222.
Format: Paperback.
Source: I received a complimentary paperback copy from Mindbuck Media Book Publicity. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of family saga.
Rating: Okay.

Link for the book @ Amazon.


“They did not mean to hurt the boy, much less kill him. They only wanted to teach him a lesson.”

Decades ago, three young girls caused a fatal accident which claimed the life of their young cousin. They swore to never speak of it again, but now, the family matriarch’s passing may lead to that deadly secret finally being revealed in Lucina’s Letters.

Family has always been of the utmost importance to Lucina, and when she learns the truth about the tragedy that ripped her family apart, she struggles to mend those all-important bonds before her own demise. One well-timed letter allows her to pull the strings to bring the family together one last time to her beloved home in Italy, even from beyond the grave—and drag not just one secret, but many, into the light. 

Can the now-grown girls come to terms with their actions that fateful day, their secrets, and subsequently their own struggles in life? Will these revelations bring the family closer together, or tear them farther apart?

Author Info:

Barbara Francesca Murphy was born in Austria in the 1970s. She started writing at an early age, mostly short stories for her family and friends to read. As a child and teenager, she travelled extensively, getting a taste for foreign cultures and countries, fueling her imagination. She graduated from high school in America and went on to study in Austria, then settling in Ireland, where she has been living ever since. Murphy’s first book, Second Chances, was published with Austin Macauley Publishers in 2019. This is Murphy’s second book.

My Thoughts:

I love the idea of the story.

I love the settings of the story: Italy and Ireland.

I did not enjoy reading the story because of several reasons. I have not listed every reason why I dislike this book, nor every reason why I like this book. These are a few.

What I dislike about the story:

  1. Lucina’s Letters is as busy as a beehive because of the number of characters and narrators. The narrators are numerable. I heard their conversations and thoughts. These things made it difficult to become absorbed in the story, and to understand what was going on. I became lost several times. I wondered what is going on. Where is this story going? Who are all these people? What do they have to do with the story? Why am I getting the minutia details of these characters? Which character am I to focus on?
  2. The title of the book, Lucina’s Letters, is one letter addressed to several family members. It is not several letters. It is not a short letter. The letter will be revealed later in the story.
  3. Lucina is not a prominent character. I thought by reading the summary of the book that Lucina would be the number one-center stage-character. She is not.
  4. There is a big switch or shift from the start. The little girls who are the perpetrators -to- the young adult/adult women. There is not a fluid link between the two parts.
  5. I did not have a solid knowledge about the dates (years) in the story. This too caused me to be lost.
  6. The story is told multiple ways: 1st person and 3rd person.

What I like about the story:

  1. I see the process of grieving through the mother of Ewan.
  2. Through the three girls who are the perpetrators, I see how guilt and bitterness impacts.
  3. There is some closure by the end.

Final Thoughts:

After reading Lucina’s Letters, I believe it could easily be a murder mystery, detective story, or horror story. Shifting to these genres might have made the overall story richer and enticing.

~After writing the above review, I remembered something important. Not only can it be considered a trigger, but it will probably cause anger to any animal lover. There is a graphic scene of a dog being murdered! This is so rare to read this kind of scene in a book. It may be a first for me. I just want to give you a warning if you plan to read the book.
Thank you.


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