The Last Letter from Your Lover
When journalist Ellie looks through her newspaper’s archives for a story, she doesn’t think she’ll find anything of interest. Instead she discovers a letter from 1960, written by a man asking his lover to leave her husband – and Ellie is caught up in the intrigue of a past love affair. Despite, or perhaps because of her own romantic entanglements with a married man.
In 1960, Jennifer wakes up in hospital after a car accident. She can’t remember anything – her husband, her friends, who she used to be. And then, when she returns home, she uncovers a hidden letter, and begins to remember the lover she was willing to risk everything for.
Ellie and Jennifer’s stories of passion, adultery and loss are wound together in this richly emotive novel – interspersed with real ‘last letters’.
I really loved Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, so was excited when I happened upon this book while browsing for something new on my Kindle. The Last Letter From Your Lover did not disappoint – it was just as gripping and emotional as Me Before You.
The book opens on Ellie in present day. She’s a journalist and is tasked with finding a story out of the archives at the newspaper. This means dealing with the grumpy archive workers to get them to help her with the story – something they’re not altogether too excited about. Ellie finds a single letter from a man, to a woman. It seems they were desperately in love and that something happened that stopped them being together (hence the title). Ellie shows the letter to her editor, who is thrilled and commissions a full article. The only trouble is Ellie doesn’t know who the letter is to, from or anything else.
The story then jumps back in time to the 1950s. Jennifer is a bit of a spoilt housewife, who is slightly bored of her life with her domineering husband, Laurence. She starts an affair with a journalist she meets while in the south of France. You follow both her and her lover through the ups and downs of their affair and their story ends when the letter that Ellie finds in 2011 is written.
It’s Ellie’s job to piece together the story and track down Jennifer and her lover. I found this really gripping. Obviously the reader knows a lot more about the ins and outs of the love story than Ellie does, so you’re really rooting for Ellie to put the jigsaw together, including pieces of information the reader is also lacking.
It would be a crime to give much more away, but the story is beautiful and sweet without being sickly. Not normally a fan of chick lit, I found this novel to be so much more than that. I found myself wanting my tube journeys to last longer so I could just finish my chapter! I also really enjoyed how each chapter opened with a someone’s real last letter to their lover. Some were funny, some were heartbreaking, and I thought it set the tone for the novel really well.
There’s loads more going on in this novel that I haven’t been able to cover in this review, such as Ellie’s own love life and how her career is unfolding, but I will let you, dear reader, discover that for yourselves. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for something gripping but emotional. The characters are rich and full of layers, the story is fantastic and the writing really stellar.