Review: The Last Letter from Your Lover

Title: The Last Letter from Your Lover Image

Author: JoJo Moyes

Rating: ★★1/2

Provided Synopsis: 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. 

Review: I wanted to like this book more than I did. In terms of prose, I think that Jojo Moyes continue to impress me. But what I did not like about this book was how contrived the love stories felt in comparison to some of her other work.

In a dual storyline structure, The Last Letter from Your Lover follows the love affair of Jennifer and Anthony (who love during the 1960s) along with the discovery of their love letters by Ellie (in 2003). Moyes typically has her characters from different time periods hold something similar to one another — in the case of this book Ellie is engaged in an affair with a married man which should correlate with the relationship between Anthony and the married Jennifer. However, I felt as if the connection was not strong at all. The reason behind Ellie’s discovery of the story stretched the capacity of my belief; it felt as if it was something purposely set up by the author and not because it actually fit the character. Another stretch in Ellie’s story was her relationship with the librarian Rory. I could not and did not believe their attraction to each other at all. In the end I wished that a more compelling character had been the one to find Anthony and Jennifer’s lost letters.

Meanwhile, the story of Anthony and Jennifer was beautiful. Their words to each other through the written page and by voice were stunning. The time in which they lived made it very difficult for a woman to leave her husband for another man, and the heartache and missed moments between them were authentic and heart wrenching. The only detriment I can pinpoint to their story was how confusing it could be as it alternated between when the couple met and fell in love in 1960 with what Jennifer could remember in 1964 of their love after she gets amnesia from being in a car accident. I know Moyes has a structure she seems to like to follow, but in the case of this book I think the story would have been better served if it had been all Anthony and Jennifer. I wanted more and more of their life. I wanted to follow it without the intrusion of Ellie and her problems.

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