The Wednesday Letters

The Wednesday Letters

by Jason F. Wright

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

The inspirational story of marriage, family, and forgiveness that has become not just a bestseller but an instant classic—a surprise New York Times bestseller from an author who delivers “American storytelling at its best.” 

Their story begins with one letter on their wedding night, a letter from the groom, promising to write his bride every week—for as long they both shall live.

Thirty-nine years later, Jack and Laurel Cooper die in each other’s arms. And when their grown children return to the family B&B to arrange the funeral, they discover thousands of letters.

The letters they read tell of surprising joys and sorrows. They also hint at a shocking family secret—and ultimately force the children to confront a life-changing moment of truth...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425223475
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/26/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 101,342
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jason F. Wright is the national bestselling author of Christmas Jars. He’s also a consultant whose editorial articles on politics, pop culture, and public policy have appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide. He serves as founder and managing editor of the widely read political destination, PoliticalDerby.com.

Jason fell in love with Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley while researching the area for The Wednesday Letters, and with the enthusiastic blessing of his wife, Kodi, he recently relocated with her and their four children to the historic town of Woodstock. A sign on their door says, “Friends welcome. Family by appointment only.”

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“A lovely story: heartening, wholesome, humorous,suspenseful, and redemptive. It resonates with the true meaning of family and the life-healing power of forgiveness all wrapped up in a satisfying ending.”—Publishers Weekly

“Romance and magic still live!”—Glenn Beck, talk-radio and CNN host

“Jason’s ability to write compelling fiction is a gift. I am of course writing a letter to my wife of 44 years on Wednesday.”—Kieth Merrill, Academy Award-winning film director

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION
Jack and Laurel Cooper are rare souls who have led quiet but exceptional lives. After a 39-year-marriage during which they raised a family and fulfilled their dream of operating a bed & breakfast in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, the two die in each other’s arms. Throughout their time on earth, they opened up their home and hearts and touched countless lives, but they’ve left behind a complicated legacy that their children must now decipher.

While sorting through her parents’ belongings, Samantha discovers a hidden trove of letters that Jack had apparently written to Laurel every Wednesday up until the night they passed. Sam and her brothers, Matthew and Malcolm, eagerly devour them. Like the day-to-day business of marriage itself, their father’s letters are sometimes goofy, sometimes serious, and sometimes banal, but each of the three Cooper children is at a crossroads, and reading the letters—and uncovering their parents’ shocking secret—transforms them in surprising ways.

Matthew, the eldest son, wears the trappings of success. He is a driven businessman but his home life feels empty. He and his wife, Monica, have not been blessed with children and they are drifting further and further apart. She has chosen not to make the journey from Boston to attend her in-laws’ funeral and Matthew is painfully conscience of her absence.

Samantha was an aspiring actress until her ex-husband crushed those dreams. Now, she works as a police officer in Woodstock near Domus Jefferson, her parents’ B&B. The single mother of a young daughter, Sam struggles with feelings of bitterness towards her ex while tentatively nurturing the hope that she may again act on the stage. And as her brothers fall into their familiar bickering, Sam finds herself—once again—mediating between them.

Malcolm’s return home is the most troubled. Two years ago, the youngest Cooper fled Woodstock as a fugitive after seriously injuring a man in a bar brawl. But the law is the least of Malcolm’s worries. Rain, his parents’ most valued employee and the love of his life, is engaged to another man. Malcolm is already struggling with sadness, anger, and hope when the letters expose a secret that leaves him reeling.

Interweaving an account of the days approaching the funeral with Jack’s guileless letters, The Wednesday Letters is as delightful to read as it is inspiring. In his deeply affecting new novel, Jason Wright, author of Christmas Jars and Recovering Charles, offers a heart-warming portrait of an unforgettable marriage and a riveting account of one family’s journey to forgiveness.

 


ABOUT JASON F. WRIGHT
Jason F. Wright is the national bestselling author of Christmas Jars. He’s also a consultant whose editorial articles on politics, pop culture, and public policy have appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide. He serves as founder and managing editor of the widely read political destination, PoliticalDerby.com.

Jason fell in love with Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley while researching the area for The Wednesday Letters, and with the enthusiastic blessing of his wife, Kodi, he recently relocated with her and their four children to the historic town of Woodstock. A sign on their door says, “Friends welcome. Family by appointment only.”

 


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • Jack’s death was expected, whereas Laurel’s was a surprise. Do you think one way is preferable to the other? Are there things you can do to help prepare yourself for a loved one’s demise?
     
  • A&P adopts the nickname that others had given to mock her, telling herself, “nicknames mean you matter” (p. 5). Have you ever had a nickname you didn’t like? How might you have turned it around to give it a positive meaning?
     
  • The youngest Cooper child, Malcolm, has been away for two years. Would he have returned to Woodstock earlier if he’d known his father was dying of cancer? Should he have returned sooner?
     
  • When Malcolm does return home, he discovers a secret his parents kept from him. Have you ever discovered secrets held by someone you loved after he or she had passed on? How did your discovery affect your feelings about that person?
     
  • Why did Laurel try to keep Malcolm’s parentage a secret? Would Jack and Malcolm have been happier if she had?
     
  • When Sam was 17, she ran away to New York City to pursue her dream of having an acting career. Though she got a small part in a show called “Curtains” she eventually stopped pursuing her dream. How and why did this happen? Is it admirable or disappointing that Samantha puts other’s needs ahead of her dreams?
     
  • When reading her father’s letters, Samantha learns that he paid for the part in the show she got. Yet she’s not angry about this. Why not? Was this the act of a loving parent or a controlling father? Does learning this secret change Samantha’s view of herself?
     
  • Aside from the Coopers, who is your favorite character and why?
     
  • Joe is finally able to give up alcohol because the girl he nearly killed forgave him—even visiting him and frequently writing him letters while he was in prison. What is the novel saying about the relationship between forgiveness and self-acceptance? Where else are these themes worked through the novel?
     
  • Matthew and Monica’s marriage is troubled by their childlessness. Would it have lasted if they hadn’t been able to adopt a child? What does a child bring to a couple like Matthew and Monica?
     
  • What does Nathan’s inability to trust Rain say about him? Is there such a thing as a healthy skepticism?
     
  • Discuss Malcolm’s development over the course of the novel. How do the letters play a part in his journey to maturity? What is it about letters that gives them such power? When was the last time you wrote a letter?
     
  • It takes an unusual spirit to forgive your rapist—and even welcome him into your community. Could you—like Jack and Laurel—accept Pastor Doug as a man of God?
     
  • Does The Wednesday Letters inspire you to start any traditions of your own?
  • Customer Reviews

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    Wednesday Letters 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 139 reviews.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    I loved this book! It had me in tears! My family was going away for the weekend and I brought this along and ended up reading it on the way to the cabin! I recommended it to my mother (who loved it) and now my aunt is going to read it! It was
    caregiver4u2 More than 1 year ago
    I read this book last summer and it is still fresh in my mind. I recommended it to a number of my friends and they all agreed that is was a moving and memorable book. This was one of the first books I gave out as gifts. I best appreciated how the writer included 'us' the 'reader' by leaving an actual letter enclosed on the back cover of the book. Great marketing and nice move on his part. Bravo! I would also highly recommend a one night read called Christmas Jars..
    Bookclub_enthusiast More than 1 year ago
    I'm a huge fan of books written in the style of letters to/from various characters. This book disappointed. The characters were under-developed. The story-line was choppy and wrapped up too quickly. The ending was satisfactory, and the idea of the epilogue in an envelope sealed at the back of the book was novel... but the letter wasn't to/from the parties I had hoped, and was thus disappointing as well. Otherwise, it was a quick and simple read, nothing earth shattering.

    See my recommendations below for books that did a far better job of story-telling via correspondence between characters.
    theeccentriclady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I read a review that summed up my feelings about this book so well that I am going to borrow some of her thoughts. This book is suppose to be a love story, I found little romance within it's covers. The idea of sending your wife a letter a week sounds nice but his letters were actually boring. All of the male characters seem weak and cowardly. They ran from their problems, they let their anger control them, they got drunk to deal with life. This book also pushes a moral agenda. Forgiveness and pro-life are both morals I believe in and I enjoy "a moral of the story" book also but this was shameless, in-your-face, moral agenda pushing. Sappy and unrealistic, I really could not develope a heart for anyone in this book. As the other reviewer put it also so well "This book can best be compared to the emotional level of a bad Lifetime movie." If this is your type of book you will love it and give it 5 stars. I really didn't want to give it any starts.
    lizzy-x on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I did not like this book. I should have known that it was no good when I saw that it was recommended by Glenn Beck on the back cover. Far too sentimental, and, I'm sorry, but nobody cusses by saying "goshdarn".
    bookwormteri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Blech....life is okay if you have god in your heart....blech. Not my kind of book.
    jbg78 More than 1 year ago
    This is a great rainy day book. Just curl up and read. It is a quick, easy and enjoyable read. Yes, it is predictable, but it does make you go aww in places.
    gilbertteacher More than 1 year ago
    The Wednesday Letters is a book I would expect to become a classic. I often wonder what all of my "stuff" will say to my children when I am gone. The fictional family is given the opportunity to know their parents as the real people they were through letters left behind. I will be giving many copies as gifts.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    The book could have been written better. It's an okay book, but I would recommend lots of other books before I ever recommended this one.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Received this book as a gift. I'm not into forgiving rapists and having brunch with them. If God wants me to do that, like this book suggests, then God can go to you-know-where. As a victim of assault, I am appalled at all the women forgiving all these weak men. Of course, one marriage is crashing because of no childbearing going on. The characters and story bored me to death - c'mon people. This book is written like it is for 2nd graders who loathe depth. Truly a story written by a man who has never endured the violence he thinks we all should learn to live with. . .disgusting.
    maggiereads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Jack and Laurel Cooper were living their dream. They had moved from the city after Jack¿s retirement to run a Bed & Breakfast in Virginia¿s picturesque Shenandoah Valley. Domus Jefferson or The House of Jefferson sat in the middle of heaven, nestled in the shadows of both the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains.Success wasn¿t overnight, through trial and error the B&B began to make money to the relief of eldest son, Matthew, who envisioned his inheritance fueling fires in the quaint fireplaces.One of the Cooper¿s favorite regulars was an eccentric widow woman named Anna Belle Prestwich. Her home, a Southern mansion reportedly worth half a million, was five miles down the road and easily seen through barren trees in the winter. Described as cavernous, the mansion paled in comparison to the goings and comings of the Cooper¿s warm Domus Jefferson.Over the years Anna Belle developed quite a routine at the inn. With a stack of romances and her favorite cat, Castro, she whiled away the day in her $190 room¿insisting on paying $300¿stirring only for bathroom breaks or tea. The Coopers were weary of waiting on her for one reason, she over tipped. It was nice at first, but really unnecessary. Unbeknownst to Anna Belle, they began to donate the money to a children¿s charity in Washington, D.C. which now sported a new basketball court among other niceties.Over the years, health became an issue for both Jack and Laurel. Jack had cancer and Laurel had a heart murmur, but on the night of April 13, 1988, Jack was in trouble. It could be seen in his sunken eyes and papery skin; He was tired.Laurel tried not to wake Jack as she eased beside him in their bed. Through her tears, Jack¿s voice interrupted with, ¿Hi.¿ She quietly asked how he felt, was he dizzy, and he quietly answered, ¿Nope, peachy.¿It was this moment, as he turned towards his wife, she had a stroke. He shook her. He crawled out of the bed for the phone. He fell on top of the lamp and passed out. He came to and struggling to get back in the bed. Finally, he lay next to her still warm body and began to cry. Ten minutes passed until he made a move for the nightstand and Domus Jefferson stationery. Tonight he would write the last Wednesday love letter to his wife.Celebrate Valentine¿s Day with a love story in Jason F. Wright¿s "The Wednesday Letter."
    1morechapter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright tells the story of a family whose grown children learn more about their parents¿ marriage after discovering letters their father wrote to their mother every Wednesday. It¿s a good story with morals that I absolutely agree with. However, I just didn¿t find it to be particularly well-written. I felt myself conscious that I was reading a story rather being immersed in it. I thought some of the dialogue was weak and somewhat choppy at times. I¿m still willing to give the author another chance, though, by reading his Christmas Jars at some point.
    loubigfish on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Nicely written and keeps you yearning for more. The author keeps you on an emotional roller coaster yet by the end you are wrapped up completely and understand the complete story. And yes you will shed a tear for the characters and this will be a book that you read over and over again.
    dragonimp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    A bit slow to get started, but compelling once it does. The story lays it on a bit thick at times, but the characters are believable and likable. It leaves you with the impression that this is nothing more than a small glimpse into their lives.
    Whisper1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    A sappy, melodramatic book about secrets learned by adult children after their parents die. Ah, if only "real" life could be this forgiving and loving. If only all errors and misjudgments could be neatly placed in a big box with a wonderful red pretty ribbon.
    sunshine608 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    A little too sappy for my tastes.
    sharon102796 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Wonderful story about the complexities of family and redemption.
    countrylife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    A promise made to himself ¿ love letters written every Wednesday of his married life to his wife. The letters were discovered by their adult children after the parents were found dead in each other's arms. Mysteries revealed and mysteries solved by the letters. True relationships strengthened, and bad ones dissolved by the force of the letters. Forgiveness sought and given.All told, this is a book about relationships ¿ husband/wife, parent/child, siblings, relatives and friends. The story ended with an epilogue, of sorts, in the shape of a new Wednesday Letter from a new generation, tucked into a pocket in the back of the book.A bit trite, but a sweet change of pace.
    thedomestichick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I really enjoyed this book - yes, it's sappy, sentimental, a little Christian oriented (not so much Jesus as God in general), and very Hallmark or Lifetime Movie Channel. But, it's an excellent holiday read. It's short and quick, and I like that it's written on a more basic level. It will allow the message (forgiveness, love, commitment) to reach more readers.I cried several times in this book, as the relationships developed and healed. I didn't like how they wrapped up the Nathan issue so "neatly" and quickly - it felt rushed and forced. Other than that, it was a great book and I highly recommend it. It did inspire me to do something similar in my own life - it's not always about writing a love letter but doing a consistent act that reminds both of you why you married and are still together. It's the commitment to a promise, to a family, and the devotion and determination to carry that through even if sometimes your heart resists out of pain. The heart can heal, as this book shows. And it doesn't always take blood to make a father - something I am all to aware of in my own life.
    EllenH on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    A love story. Not bad for that type, but I was still disappointed with the somewhat sappy dialogue and predictable characters.
    nerdyapple on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    This was a little a little too simplistic for me. The premise was good and the story was decent, but I wouldn't reread it.
    BookFitnessOtherStuf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I bought this book right after it was released and sat it on my TBR pile. And that's where it's been until this week. When I bought it I just knew I'd love it. Since then, I've read a lot of reviews for it. Many reviewers said it was to sweet, lovey dovey etc. I didn't think so at all. The characters do love each other. Deeply. But like all families they have disagreements, at times are disappointed in each other, have difference of opinions, but always know they are loved.I loved that Jack wrote to Laurel every Wednesday. My dad wrote notes/poems to my mom throughout their marriage, until the day she died. They were not only a Blessing to my mother, but my siblings and I were witness to the love they shared.The ending was a complete shock. I would never in a million years guessed it right. In my opinion this is definitely worth the money and time spent reading. I just don't understand the low ratings some gave this book. I thought it was wonderful.
    Anietzerck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I thought this book was told beautifully. I liked how it came with letters to read to. Cute. It was very emotional and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
    RudyJohnson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    The Value of Companionship shines! In "The Wednesday Letters" Jason Wright is at his usual best in expressing a real insight into family emotions; fears, anxiety, loneliness and joy. In his lyrical ways the pages just shine with these heartfelt qualities. I thought the story started out slow, but once the letters were found, it was refreshing to read how the grown-up sister and brothers; Samantha, Matthew, and Malcolm with all their different backgrounds, their pride, likes and dislikes, they still found the value of companionship, and love for each other. Overall, I thought this book was an emotional, but uplifting story written by an excellent author.
    MichaelDeavers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    The Value of Companionship shines! In "The Wednesday Letters" Jason Wright is at his usual best in expressing a real insight into family emotions; fears, anxiety, loneliness and joy. In his lyrical ways the pages just shine with these heartfelt qualities. I thought the story started out slow, but once the letters were found, it was refreshing to read how the grown-up sister and brothers; Samantha, Matthew, and Malcolm with all their different backgrounds, their pride, likes and dislikes, they still found the value of companionship, and love for each other. Overall, I thought this was an emotional, but uplifting story written by an excellent author.