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. (Goodreads synopsis)
Epic. Love. Story.
There is mystery and heartache but a happily ever after. The tension and anticipation created from the story unraveling makes the ending worth the late nights reading and household duties to be left untouched. Jojo Moyes does an amazing job making you feel what the characters feel. The angst, the passion, the confusion, doubt and guilt.
Jennifer’s memory is hazy from the accident and she anxiously and sleeplessly tries to figure out what happened to her and what the love letter from “B” means.
“Memories could indeed be lodged in places other than the mind.”
She knows and feels that there is more to her life than people are letting on. She feels trapped and unloved in her marriage and is desperate to piece her life back together before the accident. No one will talk to her about her accident. Not her husband Laurence, her mother, or closest friends.
Jojo Moyes creates the most vivid depiction of the 1960s. The expectations of the wives, the double standards for women, the lifestyle of a society wife. The chapters nicely rotate back and forth between life before and after the accident. The historical addition of The Congo Crisis of 1960-1966 was informative and further added the panic and despair of possibly losing a loved one who had to fight in the trenches or cover the story as a journalist.
Flash forward to 2003, where Ellie Haworth finds the same love letter from 1960 at the newspaper she works for and goes on a mission to reveal the story behind it. She herself, is in a similar situation in her love life and solving the mystery of the missing love letter helps her decide what to do about it.
“How does one lift one’s own life out of the mundane and into something epic?”
I loved the comparison of relationships between the 1960s and 2000s. How readily available communication is for us to send texts and emails and connect with loved ones. Yet, how the form of writing letters and “pouring” it all out there is a lost art. Back then you said everything you felt because you didn’t know when you would see each other again and today the writing is done in symbols, text acronyms and smiley faces.
The twists and turns of the story? Phenomenal. (Can’t give anything away here-just know that I spoke to the book several times aloud with gasps). Just when I thought I had it all figured out the story shocked me. Talk about slow burn and romance. Wow. Jennifer’s forbidden love affair in the 60s is a real old fashioned one heightened by status, drama and intrigue. Ellie’s current romance is unsteady, secretive and lacking. There are affairs and deceit. But the writing allows you to understand and empathize with their plight, even if you disagree.
The element of writing letters in the 60s and the current mode of communication was the other major character in this story. And funnily enough, being decades apart, they hold the same theme.
“I was once told by someone wise that writing is perilous, as you can’t always guarantee your words will be read in the spirit in which they were written.”
*This is only the second book I have read by Jojo Moyes and I can definitely say her writing is perilous. In the way that it affects me: anxious to begin, sad it is over, loss of sleep turning pages, lack of “projects” getting done, jealous of those who get to read it for the first time and scared to read another book that won’t make me feel the same way.
Visit Jojo Moyes’ website here.