~ The Blurb ~
A sophisticated, page-turning double love story spanning forty years-an unforgettable Brief Encounter for our times.
It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing-not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply "B", asking her to leave her husband.
Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper's archives. She becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie's search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance.
A spellbinding, intoxicating love story with a knockout ending, The Last Letter from Your Lover will appeal to the readers who have made One Day and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society bestsellers.
~ My Thoughts ~
The Last Letter from your Lover is an epic and impossible love story. It is about the kind of love that is not defined by labels, boundaries, social standing, or even time. It is the kind of story that will leave you feeling excited, frustrated, hopeful and maybe even a little breathless.
Picture you are the perfect London society wife in the 1060s. You have an envious wardrobe, powerful husband and you are known for your legendary parties. But then you wake up in a hospital bed and don’t remember any of it. This is what happened to Jennifer Stirling. As her friends and family tried to remind her of her previous life she knew that something didn’t fit, something wasn’t right. It was then that she began to find the letters. Brilliant, and soulful love letters that could only have been written to her are stashed around her home. As she tries to put the pieces together and discover the identity of her true love (who is not her rich and powerful husband) she begins to discover things about herself that were laying just below the carefully constructed façade that was her life.
Jojo Moyes left me speechless. What do you say to follow up a story like that? This is the kind of book that when you finally close the covers deserves a sigh of the deepest contentment and satisfaction. Moyes conveyed Jennifer’s emotional turmoil in such an honest and clear way that all I wanted to do was to reach out to her. Jennifer was woman who married a man not for love but because he was an appropriate match for her; a woman who was constrained by the social pressures, standards and inequalities that all women faced in the early 1960s. She was also a woman who despite these constraints still found a way to live true to herself and her emotions. It is impossible to summarize Jennifer’s story without giving away vital parts of the story but I will say that hers’ is a story that demands to be told.
I fell in love with Jojo’s writing and the style of the book. The first half of the novel regularly jumped from 1964 to 1960. The earlier flashbacks gave the background information on Jennifer and her relationship before her accident, and before she lost her memory of the man with whom she was deeply in love with. I will admit that in the beginning if I didn’t pay attention to the date at the top of the chapter it was easy to become confused as to where in time we were, but as a I read on and got more familiar with Jennifer before and Jennifer after her accident I really didn’t need the dates. The transitions felt more natural and became much easier to follow. Even though it took a little to get used to the format I really did enjoy the way the story was written. Moyes just gave you enough information to keep you interested without giving away the whole story at once which made for a quick and compelling read.
I found myself so wrapped up in Jennifer’s story that I did not initially appreciate the switch to present day and the introduction of Ellie. The present tense writing shift irritated me a little until I got used to it, and it wasn’t until Ellie found Jennifer’s letters that I was able to become absorbed in the novel again. Once the connection between Ellie and Jennifer became clear it felt like the novel was back on track and I was once again hooked.
The Last Letter from Your Lover is an absolute treat for fans of both historical and contemporary fiction. This book has it all, a captivating love story, strong characters, and vivid social history. I have been waiting to read this book for a while and am so glad that I finally read it, I was certainly not disappointed!
I received an eARC of this book from the publisher Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.