NaNoRenO 2020: Dear Devere

“Dear Devere” by Jasmine Osler, Chintarmanya Vivian, Mike Young, Paul Robins, Sarah S, Rowan, lunaterra, Kristi Jimenez & Jacob Lunn.

“The year is 1935. It all started with a single letter. But from that point on, nothing would remain the same for Angela Bard[,] a quiet, solitary woman living in the Scottish isles. Much to her surprise, she receives a mysterious and strangely esoteric reply from an unexpected source[.] […] Read through their illustrated correspondence, and watch their story unfold.”

There are so many things about “Dear Devere” I want to praise, which makes it hard for me to start this article. Do I start with applauding the strong worldbuilding and dialogue writing skills of Jasmine Osler? Or should I rather point out the congenial voice acting for the two lead characters, realized by Chintarmanya Vivian as Angela Bard and Mike Young as Mr. Devere? Perhaps I could pass one or two compliments to Paul Robins, the creator of the beautiful soundtrack? Or maybe I could begin by swooning over the well crafted illustrations for each envelope, that either act as visual, synoptic symbols for the actual scene or as mystical foreshadowings for upcoming events? As you can tell, I am unsure.

But what I am sure of is that “Dear Devere” and its plot fascinated me dearly. It all starts with a slower narrative tense, as the young Scotswoman Angela Bard confesses her anger against another woman in her book club in a letter that she writes just for herself. She does not have the intention to actually send it to anybody, but she simply has the urge to communicate her negative feelings in a verbal manner. However, Angela has an interesting quirk: She always wants to do things right. So she does not only write the letter itself, but also puts it into an envelope – labeled with her postal address – with a stamp and even ‘delivers’ it, as she goes into the forest to lay the envelope under a rock.

Certain that nobody would find the letter, she goes back to her house. Of course, very soon she finds a response in her mailbox, signed by a mysterious man called Mr. Devere. Angela never heard of the man before and doubts his story, as he tells her that he is living in the woods all alone. Nevertheless, Mr. Devere’s eloquence and his whole character capture Angela’s imagination. The two learn more and more about each other through the now frequently exchanged letters.

At some point, Mr. Devere claims that he is not of human nature. Here the game starts to become exciting, as an adventure about legendary creatures, magic, dreamscapes, romance, crime, war and the difference between truths and lies unravels. The best part is, that it all comes strangely perfect together. “Dear Devere” did not feel like a pile of puzzle pieces to me when I finished it, though some of the multiple endings can be interpreted one way or another. Give this gem a chance and let the correspondence between Angela Bard and Mr. Devere guide you in another world. [PLAY]