• Monika Satote

84, Charing cross road

"If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me? I owe it so much."

~Helene Hanff




84, Charing Cross Road is a charming, sincere and entertaining letter series over two decades. Helen Hanff, a writer in New York & Frank Doel, an employee at booksellers Marks & Co. write to each other regarding rare books Helene is looking for. Frank is an English gentleman, so polite & professional. He speaks less. Helen, on the other hand, is a very outspoken person. In her first letter, she describes herself as "a poor writer with an antiquarian taste in books."


As Helene gets the books she is looking for at a very reasonable price, her correspondence with Frank turns into a friendship, and the mails get extended to sharing gifts, wishes and news of each other' well being. Everyone around Frank grows fond of Helen, including his wife and daughters. Helen slowly becomes a part of their lives. Even other employees at the bookshop get excited with Helene's mentions or mails.


The quirk in Helene's character & the polishness in Frank's personality & tone will make you love this book. Helene surely wasn't an easy customer to deal with because all her requests ( read demands) were always out of the world. With delight, the wit, humour, and sincere communication, this book will win your heart without a doubt. The love and references for books & literature in this book is like a treat. I whole heartedly recommend this. It's a very feel-good book throughout except it gets sad at the point. I got emotional at that very point but overall, I was smiling and laughing sometimes.


When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone?