The Spice Box Letters

Katerina inherits a scented, wooden spice box after her grandmother Mariam dies. It contains letters and a diary, written in Armenian. As she pieces together her family story, Katerina learns that Mariam’s childhood was shattered by the Armenian tragedy of 1915.

Mariam was exiled from her home in Turkey and separated from her beloved brother, Gabriel, her life marred by grief and the loss of her first love. Dissatisfied and restless, Katerina tries to find resolution in her own life as she completes Mariam’s story – on a journey that takes her across Cyprus and then half a world away to New York.

Miracles, it seems, can happen – for those trapped by the past, and for Katerina herself.


[Baba drove the carriage at speed, guiding the dapple-grey Arabian through a labyrinth of cobbled streets]


(Sandstone Press, 19 March 2015, borrowed from my library)




I read this for 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The category is ‘a set in two different time periods’.  


The Spice Box Letters made me week like a baby. It’s been ages since a book did that.

I loved the way the book is structured, weaving current events with Katerina and her mother trying to cope with their grief and events from Miriam’s and her families past. This works really well. I liked the fact events were drip-fed, gradually building a picture of the lives of Katerina’s family.

The Armenian tragedy in 1915 is a part if history I knew nothing about so I read about what happened to Miriam and her family with no preconceptions. I found some of the pain they endured heart-breaking.

I had no idea how events would play out in The Spice Box Letters. I was constantly surprised by how deeply connected I felt to the characters, how much the book moved me and how much I got caught up in the characters and their lives.

This is one of those books that gets a hold of you and refuses to let go.

Towards the end of the books there are sad and happy moments. I loved the ending, happy without being twee or over-the-top.



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