A graphic designer’s search for inspiration leads to a cache of letters and the mystery of one man’s fate during World War II.
Seeking inspiration for a new font design in an antique store in small-town Stillwater, Minnesota, graphic designer Carolyn Porter stumbled across some old letters and was immediately drawn to the beautifully expressive pen-and-ink handwriting. She could not read the letters—they were in French—but she noticed they had been signed by a man named Marcel and mailed from Berlin to France during the middle of World War II.
As Carolyn grappled with designing the font, she decided to have one of Marcel’s letters translated. Reading words of love combined with testimony of survival inside a German labor camp transformed Carolyn’s curiosity into an obsession, and she sought to find out why the letter writer, Marcel Heuzé, had been in Berlin, how his letters came to be for sale in a store halfway around the world, and, most importantly, whether he returned to his beloved wife and daughters after the war.
Marcel’s Letters is the incredible story of Carolyn’s increasingly desperate search to find answers to the mystery of one man’s fate, answers that would come from Germany, France, and the United States. Simultaneously, she would continue to work on what would become the acclaimed P22 Marcel Script font, immortalizing the man and his letters that waited years to be reunited with his family.
Marcel’s Letters includes the text of never-before-published letters Marcel mailed from the Berlin-Marienfelde labor camp. In these extraordinary letters, Marcel shared details about life in the barracks, clothes he has been given to wear, surviving bombings, scratching together food, and the friends that sustained him during his imprisonment. Marcel’s deep and expressive words of love for his wife, Renée, and his three young daughters, are unforgettable. Marcel’s Letters is for anyone who loves history, mystery, or an incredible true love story.
Booklist starred review:
“Porter’s captivating memoir describes her journey to find answers, noting how her fascination with Marcel proved infectious as she faces obstacle after obstacle and enlists the help of experts to discover the fate that awaited him. As impressive as her detective work is, it is Marcel and his letters—real, honest, heartfelt, and brave—that are undoubtedly the star of this marvelous book.”