Gee's Reviews > The Last Letter from Your Lover

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
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Jun 11, 12

Read from June 09 to 11, 2012

The Last Letter from your Lover, by Jojo Moyes, is a very moving story of love - both found and lost - of betrayal, regret, change and redemption. It places life of the early 21st century against that of the late 50s early 60s and shows just how many things have changed over those 40/50 years, but also just how many things are still the same despite that change. We may communicate it differently, and the social mores are definitely more carefree today, but how we love and sometimes betray that love is at its core, still pretty much the same along with the consequences.

The book opens on the life of Ellie Haworth, a features journalist at fictitious newspaper, The Nation. Ellie is having an affair with a married man much to the consternation of her friends. Faced with the challenge of writing something that will please her boss, Ellis discovers an old love letter dated from 1960 in the newspaper archives. It asks its recipient to meet its writer at Paddington station, saying that the writer's heart and hope are in the hands of the recipient.

We then jump to 1960 and Jennifer Stirling is recovering in hospital from a serious car accident, her memory temporarily lost. Jennifer is married to a wealthy businessman Laurence and as she recuperates and fragments of her memories return, she finds herself questioning her life. With tension thick in her marriage, she soon learns there was much more depth to her life than she thought and, along with that depth, greater complications.

Moyes writes with great skill, letting you in on key parts of the story just at the right time to keep you reading on. There's a great sense of drama and romantic intrigue that has you emotionally engaged and hoping all works out for the protagonists in the end.

Her writing style is modern and without much decoration, but it does its job in allowing you to tap into the raw emotion being felt by her characters. This is contrasted with the love letters featured in the book, written with a sense of emotion and almost poetry that has you wishing you were in a relationship that fostered such love and expression. In fact, the interesting quirk about her book is that each chapter commences with an excerpt from a love letter, e-mail or text which in most cases were from real life, reproduced with permission. It's fascinating seeing the myriad ways relationships are started, reaffirmed or ended and how the heartfelt and much anticipated 'love letter' has changed so much over the years. Contrasting the two periods really reinforces the notion that the advent of technology may have made it easier to communicate with each other, but it's also meant the loss of something special in expressing these thoughts in the way we used to do. Today, that a relationship can be ended sometimes with nothing more than three or four words sent via sms says to me we've definitely lost something - having had that happen to me in the past, it's not pleasant!

Moyes also moves reasonably well between time frames - jumping from 2000s to 1960s; from Jennifer pre-accident to Jennifer post-accident fairly seamlessly, however at times it was a little confusing figuring out where you were sometimes in the early parts of a new chapter. The only other quibble I had was with Moyes' editor. In the version I read, with the pink ribbon on the cover, there were quite a few typos and errors peppered throughout the book that jolted me as I read. Ironically, this is not the case with the Acknowledgements page which is perfect!

Overall, an engaging and poignant read that shows how a life with deep love, is an amazing and puzzling experience with dizzying heights and heartbreaking troughs - perhaps that's what a life well lived is meant to contain. It had me wishing for that sort of deep connection in my own life and I thank Jojo Moyes for opening a window on what that might be like.
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Reading Progress

06/09/2012 page 357
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