The Wednesday Letters

The Wednesday Letters

by Jason F. Wright


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The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

The surprise New York Times bestseller, from an author who delivers “American storytelling at its best.”

The story of marriage, family, and forgiveness that has become not just a bestseller but an instant classic.

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: 106,308
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,

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

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.


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,

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.”


  • 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 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 108 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.
    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
    This is a must read! Then when you are done you MUST READ The Wedding Letters next!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Such a wonderful book Truly a classic Loved it!!!
    StephanieTiner More than 1 year ago
    Jack wrote Laurel a letter on their wedding night, a Wednesday, in which Jack promised to write Laurel a letter every week. That's how it all started and every Wednesday, Jack wrote his wife, even the Wednesday that they died in each other's arms. When their children return home to organize the funerals, the discover the thousands of letters their father wrote to their mother all the years of their marriage. As they delve into this part of their parents life that they did no know about, they discover a great secret that threatens to unravel their precarious relationships with one another. Now they must learn what it means to forgive and the importance of family. It is not often that a fictional story brings me to tears, however, by the end of this novel I was finding it difficult to read the words on the page. This story is the kind of story that will touch many peoples heart and I am surprised it isn't a Hallmark movie or some such. (If it is, well, I don't watch a lot of tv). I fell in love with the characters in this book, even the characters of Jack and Laurel he pass away early on in the story. It is remarkable that they are written so well that I could truly picture these people living somewhere in this little world of ours. The characters are no invincible, they broke down, they made mistakes, the same ones we make and the people we know make. This made the book touch deeper than your average book does. The discover made int eh words written in these letters and heartbreaking to the characters left to discover what had happened so many years before. All of the realistic reactions that I can think of where in this book. Well not all of them that I can think of, what I mean is that the characters reacted in different ways, because they are supposed to be different people and the new effects them in different ways. I think this is one of the many things that made this book so good. I truly love this book and would recommend it to everyone. It has such a touching and powerful story. It has made its way into my favorite stories and I will never regret the day I made this impulse purchase.
    Griperang72a More than 1 year ago
    I loved this book so much that I read the whole thing in one day. My favorite part of the book was the letters. I found myself wanting to rush through the parts that were not letters just so I could to the next letter. Once I got even closer to the mystery the family had hidden the faster I read. I was shocked when I found out what happened and even more shocked to find out all the truth. Jack and Laurel had such a love that most people dream of. I love the idea of Jack writing a letter every Wednesday starting with the day they were married right up until the day they died. Not many books lead me to tears but this was one that did. It has also inspired me to write letters like Jack's. I highly recommend this book.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I read this at a time when forgivness is a big issue in my family. It made me think that worse things can and do happen and it can bring out the best in you.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I read this several years ago. A sweet uplifting story. A definite five star review. Read these beautiful letters from a man to his wife. This book will bless your very soul.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    qupa-chlo More than 1 year ago
    Truly enjoyed this book, loved the way it was written.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I really enjoyed this book. The ending was a little iffy, but there is nothing like forgiveness. Gave me hope and isite.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    But not worth the money I paid for it. Simple plot, simple thoughts. A time worn theme.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Cy1122 More than 1 year ago
    I loved the family dynamics in this story.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I felt the need to read this book because I am from Woodstock virginia and worked at the pharmacy he mentions several times. However this book didn't have a plot at all. I felt like I wasted the 2 days it took to read it. I liked knowing all the places that were mentioned but was bored the entire time.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    im 13 and loved this book! i cryed,laughed, and wanted to yell at the book. the book is one of the best romantic stories i have ever read. i recomend this book to any one who wants a good laugh anda touching store.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Started reading and couldn't put it down. It is a real story about family, family relationships, and how a family comes together in tragedy. I enjoyed is so much I has passed it on to a friend.