Letters to Evelyn

Romance - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
171 Pages
Reviewed on 10/15/2019
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Author Biography

What inspired me to write Letters to Evelyn was that I was seeing so many things wrong with a negative outlook on life. I thought I would give some of my dreams away that integrate with reality.

My name is John J. Selman, I'm originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, however I grew up in Brunswick, Maine when my parents moved here when I was four. I thought Brunswick, Maine had a strong tradition with poetry so, much of what I've seen in the English language are displayed in a lyrical sense.

I graduated first in my NROTC class at the University of Maine with a B.A. in German language and Literature with a minor in economics. And with my degree, I chose to join naval service to become a pilot. My flight time has been spent in 9 different types of aircraft and I presently have two world records, one for the longest time spent with no sleep, greater than 12 days, that's talked about in my memoir, Letters to Evelyn, and my second is for the steepest, highest Sarajevo Approach with the lowest recovery in a T-34C. I flew from 6000 feet down to five feet above the treetops onto Eglin AFB at greater than a seventy degree nose down attitude. So, I enjoyed writing Letters to Evelyn because it allowed me to construct worlds with an impression, and give some of my ideas about what I believe is an ideal earth.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

From a young age, John Selman knew there was more to life than what his senses could see, touch and hear. Follow his amazing life experiences as he strives to follow in his father's footsteps into aviation whilst trying to find love and a sense of belonging. A heart-touching love story with intriguing threads of fantasy and science fiction woven throughout. John is witness to many extraterrestrial encounters and premonitions throughout his life, which makes him of considerable interest to those who meet him. Sometimes his gift is an advantage, giving him the upper hand, but other times it is a curse that causes him to feel like an outsider. As John's search for love continues, the story will take a surprising turn, mixing reality with science fiction and a biblical tale. When John eventually finds love, it is with someone he never imagined possible.

Letters to Evelyn by John Selman is an extraordinary book with a unique plot that captivated me from the first chapter. The author takes quite horrific and disturbing events and turns them into great learning experiences. The events in the book are depicted so well and I loved the references to real-life events, such as the Vietnam War and the World Trade Center. Each of the characters, even the minor ones, have been portrayed with care and consideration. I could visualize every one of them. I found Jona especially dark and disturbing. The dialogue was sharp, realistic and revealed the character's personality perfectly. The author's imagination is off the charts. I did not think a novel combining science fiction, romance, and biblical characters could be achieved, but the author has created a story that you will never forget. Letters To Evelyn will never lose your interest and never fail to deliver on tension, excitement and even hints of comedy.

Ruffina Oserio

Lyrical and utterly engaging, Letters to Evelyn by John Selman is a romance that follows the journey of John Selman, born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1976, a man with a singular admiration for his father, a Naval Aviator and an airline pilot, and a man in whose footsteps he wants to follow. He is particularly fascinated by his father’s bombing missions in the Vietnam campaign. He is accepted in the Navy ROTC, but things are not what they always seem to be. He experiences stress, has to learn to be a Navy pilot, but in his journey to becoming like his father, there is the love of a woman, a woman who has been there in his mind at the critical moments of the decisions he has made. Follow a love story with strong biblical underpinnings and elements of a memoir and discover the fun, at times disturbing experiences of the protagonist, experiences that include an encounter with extraterrestrial beings.

This isn’t a typical romance as the author brings into the writing different and powerful elements of style. The narrative voice is confident and strong and I enjoyed the use of the first-person narrative and the richness that the epistolary style brings into the narrative. In fact, it opens with a letter that defines the path the story takes: “I’m so sorry for everything. I understand this whole thing might be a mistake, but here is my letter, the letter I wanted to send to you the moment you touched my hands, and it is the long version. I am only writing to you in hope that you find me in your heart someday and say hello to me sometime in the future.” John Selman tells his story with humor and shares experiences that transcend the ordinariness in life to offer powerful glimpses into what happens when we take a step into the unknown.

Rabia Tanveer

Letters to Evelyn by John Selman is a romance novel that is part confession and part the life story of the author. Letters to Evelyn is exactly that, a letter to his love in which he shares his experiences to try to woo her. The story begins as John talks about how his father was a huge influence on him, how dashing and powerful his father was when he flew his plane. Since then, he wanted to be just like his father and so he went on to follow in his footsteps and joined the Navy ROTC. Little did he realize that this would be the start of a journey he would call life. From learning to fly, becoming a Navy pilot, going to war and falling in love, he lives his life to its fullest potential and shares it with others.

This is such a unique and wonderfully woven story that had me riveted from the moment I started reading it. John is such a complex character; he seems real because the author based him on himself. You can feel the integrity of the author and feel how much emotion he put into this. The narrative was smooth, fast-paced and exceptionally well-written. What I enjoyed the most was how unapologetic and open he is about his story and how he tells it. He is very straightforward, even when he is talking about mysterious happenings in his life. He kept the tension; he allowed it to simmer and made sure that the reader was right beside him as he retold his life story. Enjoyable and relatable.