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Book Review

My Dear Bessie

My Dear Bessie

A Love Story in Letters


Written by: Chris Barker, Bessie Moore
Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch, Louise Brealey
Genres: Memoirs | True Life | Relationships
Published: 1st of March, 2018
Length: 0 Hours 44 Minutes


Listen to Samples:

Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey read a love story in letters, played out against the backdrop of the Second World War.

'Can you feel, as you read these words, that I am thinking of you now; aglow, alive, alert at the thought that you are in the same world, and by some strange chance loving me.'

A small blue box opened in 2008 revealed a wartime world of love, longing and frustration. Inside were bundles and bundles of letters written neatly in pen, in pencil, on thin blue airmail paper or headed army notepaper. Envelopes covered in postmarks, redirections, censor's stamps. A love affair in letters between two people who barely knew each other, thousands of miles apart, in the middle of a war, with no idea when or whether they would ever see each other again.

On September 5th, 1943, Chris Barker, a signalman stationed near Tobruk in North Africa, decided to write to a former work colleague, Bessie Moore, a Morse code interpreter at the Foreign Office back in London. The unexpected warmth of Bessie's reply changed their lives forever.

Chris and Bessie's love letters first appeared in Simon Garfield's book To the Letter. They toured literary festivals as part of Letters Live before being published in a book, My Dear Bessie.

Written by Chris Barker and Bessie Moore.

Letters compiled by Simon Garfield.

Adapted by Sara Davies.

Produced and directed by Gemma Jenkins.


Chris - Benedict Cumberbatch
Bessie - Louise Brealey
Irena - Jane Slavin


The Audiobook Review
Morgan Hobbes Morgan Hobbes


Average Score: 

Reviewed: 2020-08-13

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Old-timey Romance - Chris Shows How Its Done
Okay, so this was a fun and short diversion. An audio drama of letters written between Chris Barker and Bessie Moore during the Second World War. Produced by the BBC as part of a regular series, the letters were read by Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and Louise Brealey (Molly from Sherlock) - so if you ever watched the show and wondered what it'd be like if they made googly eyes at each other and professed their love... it might be something like this.

This was so well done (well, it was the BBC) and you can't help but be swept up in the love of these two. Letter writing, a dying art form, and the masterful application of it by Chris to woo (somewhat accidentally apparently) the lovely Bessie whom he once met during training.

Short, sweet, and a fantastic glimpse into the secret, personal lives of two ordinary people sharing an extraordinary love for each other. Superb :)



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