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Love Letters of Great Men

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Sex and the City was one of the biggest films of last year and running through the theme of the film was a book that Carrie was reading called 'Love Letters of Great Men'. At the beginning of the film she is reading the book and reads out an extract from Beethoven's letter to his lover, 'ever thine, ever mine, ever yours', and at the end of the film Mr. Big wins back her heart by rewriting all these letters and sending them to her by email.

Since the release of the film women have been visiting bookshops in their droves looking for the book that Carrie was reading. However this was never actually a real book, and women were sent away disappointed that this great collection never existed.

So the publishers at Pan MacMillan saw the demand and decided that they would release a book of the same name and subject, based on what was seen in the film, and created a volume of love letters from up to 200 years ago written by significant men from history.

We have romance on our minds on the run up to Valentine's Day, and there's nothing more romantic than a beautifully written love letter. The book has just been released on paperback, and let's face it, we're all suckers for romance.

How did Ursula go about writing the book?
Although the book was inspired by Sex and the City, she wanted to make sure that it could stand alone as a good read in itself. The letters that spoke to her most were the funny, generous and also the self serving ones provided humour. She did closely reference the movie when she was compiling the book, but a lot of the content was down to her own criteria. She said that although the letters were very romantic and beautifully written, she was particularly touched by letters that not only contained proclamations of love and charm, but that had ordinary messages that were sometimes included, such as day to day detail or sending messages to one's mother etc. Through these details the letters came alive and therefore the reader can relate and connect to what is going on with the writer.

What was it about the book that appealed to the SATC audience?
The letters in this book are incredibly romantic. These letters were written up to two centuries ago and the language is extremely beautiful.

What does the demand for the book say about the audience?
The common misconception by women is that romance is dead. However judging by the demand for a book like this she thinks it shows that romance is as alive as ever, but we, the audience, may expect too much from romance in the 21st Century.

How do we express romance in this century compared to two hundred years ago?
People nowadays don't write love letters, but Ursula directs reasons for this in that although people may be much more self conscious nowadays, but there is no lack in it's genuineness of a text or an email.

Any mode of communication, as long as it is still genuine, can be just as romantic as putting pen to paper and writing an extravagant letter. Ursula describes Lord Byron's letter as full of sincerity, and therefore one of the most romantic in the volume, compared to Alexander Pope, who although wrote witty and charming letters, wrote to two sisters at the one time about how he loved them.

What has happened since the release of the book?
The book was originally released in hardback in August 2008, not long after the film was released. It has sold 40,000 copies since and is available in all bookstores in the UK and Ireland. It has been released in paperback since January 16th, just in time for Valentine's Day.

Price: €13.80 available in bookshops nationwide
Publishers: PanMacMillan
ISBN 9780-330-50665-6