Monday, August 15, 2011

Book Review: The Last Letter From Your Lover

The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

I've constantly heard the expression "Never judge a book by its cover," but I've come to notice that I'm much more likely to pick up a book if its title is cliche and its cover art is picturesque.  The Last Letter From Your Lover meets both these requirements, so I just assumed it would be a wonderful read.  I was right.

In the prologue we find Elle Haworth, a 30-something journalist working for "The Nation," in 21st century Britain  After 100 years in the same location, the newspaper is moving its headquarters.  The Features Editor wants Ellie to write an article reflecting the sweeping changes of women's preoccupations since the 1960s.  

While rummaging through the archives, Ellie stumbles upon a battered file that seems to be about lung disease, but just as she's about to toss it in the trash, a letter slips out dated the 4th of October 1960.  It starts:

My dearest and only love,
I meant what I said.  I have come to the conclusion that the only way forward is for one of us to take a bold decision …
And ends in:
… I’ll be on platform 4 at 7.15on Friday evening and there is nothing in the world that would make me happier than if you found the courage to come with me  …  Know that you hold my heart, my hopes, in your hands.
Then, leaving Ellie in the Archives, we're plunged into an entirely different story.  It's October 1960.  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.  While going through her house in an attempt to discover who she used to be, Jennifer stumbles upon an impassioned love letter, simply signed "B," asking her for forgiveness.  After finding seven more messages, it becomes clear that Jennifer's having an affair on her coldhearted husband.  But, who with?

In a nutshell, the book is a homage to the lost art of the love letter.  It's a sophisticated, page-turning double love story spanning forty years, and I'd suggest it to any hopeless romantic.  Bravo Jojo Moyes; Bravo!

My Rating: ****

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