The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
I’ve always been a sucker for books which span generations; there’s something about following people or families through years of both struggles and happiness. When I saw The Last Letter From Your Lover, I was hooked by the blurb on the back which read, “A sophisticated page-turning double love story spanning 40 years…”
The book is divided into three parts. The first part, taking place in 1960, follows Jennifer Stirling shortly after a horrific car accident, which she’s lucky to have survived. While her physical injuries are healing, her memory is shot and she can’t remember much about her life before the crash. She tries to get people to help her remember, including her husband, her friends, even her doctor, but they all push her to simply put it behind her and move on.
In an effort to try and remember, she begins rummaging through her house and discovers a love letter. As she finds more letters, she eventually puts two-and-two together and discovers she was having an affair, and although she can’t remember who he is, it’s evident she was madly in love with him. After a disastrous attempt to learn if her lover is a close friend, Jennifer gets into a fight with her husband, Laurence, and he reveals it was her lover driving the car the day of the accident. They were running away together, and he did not survive the accident.
Part two takes place four years later. Jennifer is struggling with guilt, as she feels responsible for her lover’s death. She’s starting to remember more and more about the person, including his name and what he looks like, and it drives her even further into depression, which is coupled with a prescription drug addiction.
Part three begins in 2003 with Ellie Haworth, a journalist who’s in a relationship with a married man. She’s so wrapped up in her relationship, and both the ecstasy and misery it’s causing her, that she’s on the brink of losing her job. She’s assigned to write an article using archived material, and stumbles upon the letters between Boot and Jennifer. Even though she has no idea who they are, she begins her own investigation into the truth and is determined to know their whole story.
The bulk of the novel follows Jennifer and Boot, so they are the couple I was most intrigued by. As they constantly missed each other, it seemed by mere minutes, I was more and more heartbroken; almost feeling like Ellie did when she first read their letters.
The language of the writing is well done, though Moyes really shines when writing the letters, particularly the ones from Boot to Jennifer. Some of the phrasing brought tears to my eyes, and I understood why Jennifer would fall in love with him more each time she read them. If my husband wrote me a love letter like that, all his faults would be forgiven, at least for a day, anyway.
I would recommend The Last Letter From Your Lover for readers who enjoy a beautiful love story, especially one you get to follow throughout many years. It will make an excellent addition to your library shelves.