Book Review: 53 Letters for My Lover by Leylah Attar

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This is not your typical love story. 

It’s not so black and white. Lines are crossed.
Walls are smashed. Good becomes bad.
Bad becomes very, very good.


Shayda Hijazi—the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect daughter. For thirty-three years, she has played by the rules, swallowing secrets, burying dreams and doing whatever it takes to anchor her family. Shayda Hijazi is about to come face to face with the one thing that can rip it all apart, the one thing her heart has always been denied: Love.

Troy Heathgate—untamed, exhilarating, dangerous—a man who does exactly as he pleases. Life bends to his will. Until he comes across the one thing he would give it all up for, but can never have.

Born on the same day in opposite corners of the world, their lives collide. And nothing is ever the same again. 

Spanning three decades, 53 Letters for My Lover is a fiercely sensual, emotional ride to the heart of an epic, forbidden love that defies it all—an intimate exploration of love, loyalty, passion, betrayal, and the human journey for hope, happiness and redemption.

“Sexy, intense fiction isn’t afraid to step out of the box.” 
Ena5 Star Review

 I was given this book to read by Christine from Shh Mom’s Reading as she was raving about it and I have to say I am glad that she contacted me about reading and reviewing this novel because if she hadn’t I probably would have never even noticed it to read.   So Christine thank you for contacting me because Shayda and Troy’s story was breathtaking!

53 Letters For My Lover is a true and beautiful love story that not only spans decades but also will last a lifetime. The type of love that everyone craves and so very few truly find. Sometimes the all-consuming type of love takes years to recognize and sometimes even longer to reach. For Shayda and Troy that is exactly what happens, and once they meet their lives are never the same again.

For me Shayda was a character that I cheered on the entire story. Basically being thrown into an arranged marriage she was destined for bigger and better things, all she needed for a chance to thrive and succeed. For a girl who was raised in a culture where the woman stays home and raises the children and cooks and cleans, she always had the drive to push herself beyond those walls, she wanted more. After marrying and having children she became a pro at putting on a happy face but deep down something was missing, someone was missing.

Troy Heathgate is your sexy bachelor that every girl tries to tame. He doesn’t lie about what he is looking for when he comes across a woman because the truth is, he gave his heart away along time ago, and to a girl that didn’t even know she owned him. Troy is the perfect balance between rough and sexy male and sweet and sensuous lover. When it comes to Shayda he wears his heart on his sleeve and would do anything for her.

The story jumps back and forth between past and present but not in a way that is annoying, you have to know their past to appreciate their present and hopefully their future. I must say I like the present way more than the past but I knew I needed the full story. I needed to know Shayda apart from Troy and Troy apart from Shayda.

I felt so many different emotions reading this novel. One being heartbroken for Shayda and the life that she lived for years because of her loyalty to her family. I just wanted her to find her happiness, her prince, but with her culture and upbringing that wasn’t possible. She is loyal and she puts everyone’s happiness and life above her own. I felt anger for Hafez (Shayda’s husband) for the pain and suffering he endured as a child that he carried into adulthood putting a wall between him and Shayda but most of all I felt compassion and understanding for both Troy and Shayda because sometimes timing is everything and it wasn’t their time. Love is a crazy thing that can’t be explained, you don’t know when it’s going to hit or how strong of a hold it will have on you. I understood why Shayda did what she did. I felt hurt for Troy for putting his heart out there over and over again with the thought that he would finally get the one he has longed for since he was a young man, just to have his heart broken.

Sometimes a person can lead 2 different lives, 1 being the one that everyone else expects and see them living and 1 the life the person is destined to live, the life that they long for more than anything. On one hand you are happy with the simple and safe road you have been walking down and on the other hand you crave the excitement of the danger and unknown that is awaiting you on the other road you decide to walk on, the one that makes you feel alive and want things that you have denied yourself for so long.

Shayda is on that road the straight and simple road but she so desperately wants to spread her wings and fly and take a risk and head down the other road that leads to the unknown but could also lead to her true happiness. Life isn’t simple; you can’t put it in a neatly shaped wrapped box and completely be 100% happy. Sometimes life and messy and scary but existing is not living; sometimes you have to take a risk and risk failing to truly know where you belong.   It was beautiful watching Shayda finally spread her wings and fly.   This is her journey, her journey to find happiness and true love sometimes we find it and it works out but sometimes life is unfair and it can all come crashing down around us.

Will Shayda finally break out of her shell and fly? Will Troy finally get the one girl who always seemed to be out of reach or will life proof that sometimes it doesn’t go the way we want and end their happily ever after before it truly begins?

53 Letters For My Lover was a truly breathtaking love story. It wasn’t always pretty. Sometimes it was ugly and unforgiving but there were those fleeting moments that took my breath away and I truly felt the love all around me.   Sometimes people are meant to love each other for a short amount of time but for the lucky few their love will stand the test of time and last beyond the final page.