January 7, 2015
The Last Letter from Your Lover
The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
2010 Pamela Dorman Books/Viking
Finished on November 12, 2014
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)
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 wealthy husband, not even her own name. Searching for clues about her life, she finds an impassioned letter, signed simply “B.,” from a man who is not her husband—a man for whom she seemed willing to risk everything.
In 2003, young journalist Ellie Haworth is searching the dusty archives of her newspaper for a story that will resurrect her faltering career. She finds another handwritten letter, this one with an ardent plea: “I’ll be at Platform 4 Paddington at 7:15 on Monday evening, and there is nothing in the world that would make me happier than if you found the courage to come with me.”
Ellie becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to the lovers. Perhaps if they lived happily ever after, her own complicated involvement with a married man will have a happy ending, too. Ellie’s search will rewrite history and help her see the truth at last about her own very modern love story.
Sophisticated and stylish, The Last Letter from Your Lover is a spellbinding, page-turning double love story. Remarkably moving, grand in scale, and heartbreakingly human, it is an unforgettable Brief Encounter for our times, with an ending as unexpected as love at first sight.
It’s been almost two months since I finished this novel, and until I sat down to type up the publisher’s blurb, I recalled very little about the characters or the plot. Even now, I have only a vague sense about the specific details of the story. I know some readers have commented on their enjoyment of the time period, but honestly, I never had a clear sense of when the novel was taking place. Sometimes I thought it read more like it was set in the 30s or 40s, not the 60s. It took me a while to get interested in the story, and once I finally got hooked, the time shifted ahead by 40 years. Yes, it’s yet another story centered around amnesia (quite the popular theme these days), but surprisingly, the alternating stories between Jennifer and Ellie (also an overused device) didn’t annoy me, as I thought they might.
In spite of some minor quibbles, I wound up enjoying this novel, not wanting it to end as the last page drew near. It’s not nearly as good as Me Before You, but it’s definitely better than The Girl You Left Behind. I’m still not sure if I’m a fan of Moyes’ earlier works, but I will continue to read more by this author, ever hopeful for another story as remarkable as Me Before You.