Etta

Audiobook Review: Very Sincerely Yours

Published May 11th 2021

Author: Kerry Winfrey

Narrator: Patti Murin

Audiobook Length: 10 hours 7 minutes

Teddy Phillips never thought she would still be spending every day surrounded by toys at almost thirty years old. But working at a vintage toy store is pretty much all she has going on in her life after being unceremoniously dumped by her longtime boyfriend. The one joy that she has kept is her not-so-guilty pleasure: Everett’s Place, a local children’s show hosted by Everett St. James, a man whom Teddy finds very soothing . . . and, okay, cute.

Teddy finds the courage to write to him, feeling slightly like one of the children who write to him on his show. He always gives sound advice and seems like he has everything figured out—and he pretty much does: Everett has a great support system, wonderful friends, and his dream job. But there is still that persistent feeling in the back of his mind that something is missing.

When a woman named Theodora starts writing to Everett, he is drawn to her honesty and vulnerability. They continue writing to each other, all the while living their lives without meeting. When their worlds collide, however, they must both let go of their fears and figure out what they truly want—and if the future they want includes each other.

Very Sincerely Yours is a sweet romance story about a woman who is unsure about her future and a man who is learning to try to find balance in his life. Similar to the Waiting for Tom Hanks series, this story is set in Ohio. Both of the main characters live in Columbus, Ohio and I loved this setting for the story as Columbus is a great fit with its mix of large city with a smallish town feel. (At least that’s how I feel about it when I visited.)

Theodora (Teddy) Phillips seems to have it all on the verge of turning thirty. She works in a stable job at a vintage toy store and she believes that her boyfriend is going to propose to her. However, he has other plans and ends up breaking up with her. Teddy is heart-broken from the shock of the situation so she takes comfort in watching the children’s Mr. Roger’s-like show, Everett’s Place that is hosted by Everett St. James. She suddenly decides to write him a letter as he always gives great advice on his show. She is shocked when she receives a reply and the two of them begin an e-mail exchange relationship. Eventually, the two meet randomly in real life. Initially, Teddy does not disclose that she is the author of the emails, but it does come out early on. I loved this refreshing take, as the deception is not the main obstacle in the story. Instead, there are other obstacles for the two characters to try to overcome.

Teddy lives her life for others after she believes that a bike accident when she was younger was a catalyst in her parents’ divorce. She believes in not making waves so she follows others and bases her decisions on either copying others or listening to their opinions. There was some disconnect to me regarding Teddy and her mother. Teddy’s mother is heavily involved in Teddy’s life, so I tried to figure out how did the mother never question the sudden change in behavior with Teddy when she was younger. Knowing my own parents, if I went from being super daredevil-like to following my sibling around, they would have a ton of questions for me. It just did not make sense to me how this seemed to never be addressed in the story. The want to make her life about another is a huge character trait in Teddy that is a huge part of the story, so I understand why it is included; however, it just took away from any realism to have it never be addressed, as the turning point is evident.

Even though Teddy is lost and is still trying to find out what will make her happy in her life, I liked she was still extremely clever and witty. She may be a doormat in some situations, but she is not a dumb person. I love her when she starts her journey to try and “Do one thing you hate” every day. It’s a fun challenge for anyone to do as you never know what will happen if you just step outside your comfort zone. The more she talks to Everett, the more Teddy’s character opens up and grows. She gets to learn more about herself the more she tries to work through them and it was a very relatable aspect. The two characters had very sweet email exchanges and I wished there were a few more pages dedicated to the two of them spending time together as they were enjoyable. While Teddy does grow more in the story than Everett, he still goes through some growth himself.

Overall, this is a fun and light romance novel. The characters are fun and interesting and there is an ease to the writing. It is easy to get lost in the story and want to root for the characters. Teddy and Everett were both likable characters and I liked how their relationship evolved. At times it felt slow, but it fit their personalities and circumstances. The novel can feel a little more skewed to being about self-discovery compared to a romance, but there is some balance in the writing. Even though it had its flaws, I still enjoyed the story and I will continue to check out Kerry Winfrey’s works.

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