MY father was a lovely letter writer; he wrote family letters week in and week out that were informative, carried personal messages and generally kept family members up to date with each other.

They were not merely factual but were a joy to read. He ignored the typewriter and wrote in long-hand and produced letters that were a joy to behold for their penmanship.

Yes, there was an art in letter writing but sadly today much of it has been lost except to the few. It can still be nurtured even in this day and age of the wonders of technology and we can draw on examples from the past in books such as this which is subtitled The Lost Art of Letter-Writing.

The author introduces us to the letter, with advice and tips on writing letters and the various types of letters, she gives us a brief history of the postal system and then leads us through the etiquette we should observe in writing letters.

We are then treated to delightful examples of letter writing, covering letters written in wartime, love letters, letters saying goodbye, how they have been used in literature and so on.

This is a pleasant book to dip into and enjoy but it also has a practical purpose – to enable us once again to produce attractive, informative letters even if we use mechanical means.

I really should try to emulate my father’s letters to the family, though I could never match his penmanship – a pity, but the computer is so convenient.