Posted in 5 paws, fiction, Spotlight on March 15, 2015

Letters to Nan Cover



James has always had a special bond with his Nan, from their summers in the garden to their raspberry blowing at the television. When James is offered the opportunity to follow his boyhood dream in Europe, he can’t wait to tell her. But she has news for him as well – she’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He’s hesitant to leave, but when she hands him a ticket to England, he knows he has to go. He promises to write her every week to help her keep him in her memory. She promises to never forget. Seven years later, James stands at the door of the nursing home, wondering if Nan will be anything like he woman he remembers, and if she’ll remember him…


Kobo * Smashwords * iBooks * Barnes & Noble * Amazon 


Nan loved each and every one of her kids and grandkids equally, but what we shared was something different. Everyone knew this and had long accepted it. Nan had always said we were kindred spirits. I didn’t understand what this meant, but she said she got the same feeling from me she used to get from her dad and that he must be guiding me through my life. She had always believed in guardian angels and had told me numerous times that when I was born she had prayed to her dad to watch over me.

People often say they wished they would have had a final chance to say goodbye to a loved one before they died, and while I didn’t know if I would see Nan again, I did know that even if I did, she wouldn’t know who I was.

While I hoped I wasn’t saying my last goodbye to Nan, we both knew that in truth it was our final farewell. I couldn’t think of anything to say. I hugged her and cried as she gave me the biggest hug she had ever given me. I could hear Mum starting to choke up as I desperately tried to think of something to say.

Mum knew better than anyone about the special relationship I shared with Nan and had done everything possible to help it flourish. She knew that after someone special in your life is gone, all you have left are the memories, and she was determined to ensure I had enough to last me the rest of my life.

In the end, all I could blubber out through my tears was, “I love you Nan. I won’t let you down.”

“You could never let me down. I love you more than you can ever imagine. Now, you have an early start so you need to get home to bed.”

Nan was always emotionally strong, and sensing I was having a tough time with the goodbye she held herself together for me. It was just as well, because otherwise there would have been a real danger of the whole thing being called off there and then.

I thought to myself – This is it. My relationship with Nan is over. Technology was a challenge for her. I don’t think she even knew how to turn a computer on, so email and Skype were out of the question. Telephone calls were too. Nan no longer had the ability to recognize voices. If I called, she would have no idea who she was talking to. For years we had been forced to identify ourselves when we called her so she knew who she was talking to. With names not meaning an awful lot lately and no face to recognise, it wasn’t a long-term option.

I began to panic. I wasn’t ready for this to be the end.

Nan did like to receive letters. Her and my sister shared a letter writing exchange with one another. While I wasn’t privy to their contents, I knew they were both excited when they received new letters. I suspected Nan was slipping my sister some money as well which added to the excitement, but I didn’t have the evidence to prove it.

“Nan, I’m going to write you a letter every week so you know what I’m up to. That way you’ll get reminders of me and you won’t forget me,” I declared.

“That would be wonderful,” she beamed, fighting back a fresh burst of tears. “I can’t wait to receive them.”

As I left, she stood solemnly in the doorway. From the corner of my eye, I spotted the subtle wipe of a cheek. She called me back from only a few steps in front of her and whispered to me.

“And don’t worry, I could never forget you.”

Those were the last words Nan spoke to me seven years ago.


I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book since it is just 83 pages, but wow what an inspirational 83 pages it is.  My dad died last year from dementia/Alzheimer’s so I knew I would be able to relate to the story.

The story goes back and forth between the present and letters that remembered the past and the good times that James had with his Nan.  I know that many kids have great relationships with their grandparents, but this one seemed to be a little more special than most.  They had a special bond that wasn’t shared with any of James’ siblings.  The description of the events in the letters allowed me to visualize the situation – like Nan doing star jacks to get his attention when picking him up from school.  That was priceless!

Do make sure you have a box of tissues on hand for the end.  While you know what is coming, how the author wraps up the book is touching and beautiful.

We give this 5 paws up


About the Author

mattMatthew was born in Sydney, Australia in August of 1982. He grew up in The Hills district of the city where he attended school. After graduating from high school he decided to take some time off to travel and in 2002 made his first trip to Canada. He briefly returned to Australia in 2003, but in 2005 flew back to Canada and spent the next eight years living in Windsor, Ontario, where he completed a degree in Communication Studies at the University of Windsor.
Matthew is an avid fan of English football club Aston Villa and moved to England in 2013 with his fiancé when she was offered an opportunity to pursue her career as an English teacher. They now call West Yorkshire home and travel the country to watch Aston Villa games. The two were married in Windsor in October of 2014.

Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads