Beyond Mr. Darcy: Romantic Historical Fiction discussion

The Last Letter from Your Lover
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Christie (cereale) | 202 comments Mod
For our first group read, I picked a recently published book that I really enjoyed: The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes.

A sophisticated, page-turning double love story spanning forty years-an unforgettable Brief Encounter for our times.

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.

A spellbinding, intoxicating love story with a knockout ending, The Last Letter from Your Lover will appeal to the readers who have made One Day and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society bestsellers.

Christie (cereale) | 202 comments Mod
Some questions to consider as you read the book.

1. What similarities are there between Ellie and Jennifer? How do their experiences reflect their respective eras? Of the two women, with whom do you empathize or identify the most?

2. Have you ever written or received a love letter? Have you ever sent a romantic e-mail or text? Do you
think electronic communication has changed the nature of expression? How does the emotional weight of a
love letter compare with that of spoken words?

3. Rory argues that being in love doesn’t excuse someone from being responsible for their actions, that
“everyone makes a choice” to do either the right or the wrong thing (p. 332). Ellie disagrees, believing that people can be swept away by emotion. What do you think?

4. How did your opinion of O’Hare develop over the course of the novel? Is he a traditional romantic hero?

Fatma (fatmasucdi) | 1 comments great book loved it.

Christie (cereale) | 202 comments Mod
I'm glad you liked it!

My answers to the discussion questions were
1. I think that Ellie and Jennifer were both women caught in relationships that did not fulfill them and ended up finding relationships that did. Their fulfilling relationships gave them the courage to stand up for themselves and take what they deserved from life. Jennifer's experiences line up with her era in that it was a time when women were moving from being exclusively housewives to being liberated with careers and sexual freedom. Ellie's experiences reflect the career woman of today who sometimes sacrifices romantic relationships for work. I empathized with Jennifer the most because she was trapped in her situation. Ellie always had a choice.

2. I have written a love letter or two, started in the 2nd grade. Have yet to receive one though :-P. I have written and received many romantic emails and texts though. I think that electronic communication has changed the way we express our thoughts and feelings but I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. I think electronic communication makes communication easier and quicker. Some people mourn the loss of longhand ways of saying things and I feel sad from time to time thinking about how few love letters will be around in a few years, but I think that the "ily w/ all my <3" text still expresses the romantic feelings of the person and is appreciated by the person who receives it as a letter would be.

I will answer the other 2 in another post.

Christie (cereale) | 202 comments Mod
3. I definitely agree with Rory that being in love does not excuse your actions. It is often said that you can't help who you fall in love with, which is to some extent true, however, I believe that you can decide what to do with those feelings. I think that every adult has the power to keep their emotions in check, some of us just choose not to.

4. At first, I didn't like O'Hare. He just seemed like an angry, brooding man and I didn't like that. As the novel developed and I learned more about his character and the things he had gone through I empathized more with him. I don't think he's a romantic hero in the traditional sense. Most romantic heroes would have stormed in and taken what they wanted instead of walking away. I respect him for that and was glad he and Jennifer got a happy ending.

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Beyond Mr. Darcy: Romantic Historical Fiction

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The Last Letter from Your Lover (other topics)

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Jojo Moyes (other topics)