Review : The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

It’s book pushing time! It’s book pushing time! It’s book pushing time! Did you get that!? Ok now that I've gotten that out of my system, here is why I’m so excited to push a book under your nose. I've got a great group of friends and family that know my need for good books and they highly encourage my book junkie habit; the same way I want to encourage yours! A couple of years ago a family member was like “I've got a book for you!” This is a common phrase I hear often among those in the above mentioned group and some people get more weight to their recommendations than others. This family member has EXCELLENT taste in books, so much so that she works in the book industry, and I’d be a damn fool to turn down her suggestions. So I read the description and off to the library I went to get the book. I have been dying to share this recommendation with the Wenches and our readers for over a year now and I know the start of this book pushing post has not said one thing about the book in question. 
Are you ready, Saucy readers?
Follow me through the jump and I promise it will be worth it. 



Now that you have jumped with me to the actual review, I need to take a moment to share some background on why this review has been a long time in the making and I haven't shared this GLORIOUS book with the Wenches and our readers before this. I adore The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes so much that I struggled to find the right words for my admiration for this novel, in fact my first attempt to write this blog post came on 05/28/2013 right after I had just finished reading it for the second time and inspiration hit me today, on 01/25/2014. What I needed was just the perfect, divine encouragement to get going with the writing and I found that in our former Wench Olga. You see, once a Wench always a Wench, even when life gets in the way. Well our dear Olga recently read one of Jojo Moyes’s other books, Me Before You and was raving about it (which she reviewed here). I have, as of the time of writing this post, not read Me Before You yet, but it has been on my TBR for some time because of loving The Last Letter from Your Lover. I should note that Me Before You is also now within my grasp, once I’m done writing this, my nose will be in it. In the time I've known Olga, we have both read many of the same books and it is rare that we find a match we both like. That is one of the most beautiful things about having diverse friends with diverse reading choices, so many great conversations about why you do or do not love a book. So Olga’s very emotional raving recommendation of Me Before You, inspired me to share my feelings on The Last Letter from Your Lover.

Back in 2012 I opened up my library’s copy of The Last Letter from Your Lover and I found myself with Jennifer Stirling in a London hospital room in 1960 after she had just woken up from a car accident that left her with amnesia. Jennifer, like the reader, has no knowledge of what has happened in her life prior to the car accident thus allowing us to join her in the rediscovery of who she is and where she has been. It is after Jennifer returns to her home, once released from the hospital, that she starts to get to work on discovering those stories of her past. Being that this part of the book takes place in 1960's London, where views of mental health and marriage are vastly different than they are today, causes stress for Jennifer. The expectations of the high society London social circle that she and her husband belong to are that she would just jump right back to who she was prior to the accent. These expectations are emphasized by her husband expecting them to be intimate rather quickly once retuning home even though she is not comfortable. Society at the time had caused her own mother, doctors, and friends to downplay Jennifer’s feelings of being lost and confused. It is in the first days she is home that Jennifer, with the help of her maid, goes through her things as a way to get to get reacquainted with her life. While trying on her clothes she finds a hidden love letter signed “B.” Who is this “B”? B is not the first letter of her husband’s name, and the letter clearly expresses a passion she does not currently feel coming from the man she is trying to re-acclimate with. The letter is so expressive that she instantly can feel a connection in “B”'s writing. It is a connection that is clearly stronger than the one she has with her husband. Just like Jennifer, we want to know more!
You'll be wondering. 
Tell me that a good romantic intrigue of a mysterious lover does not flame your fire for reading a good book!? If you are not salivating just yet; well maybe this book is not for you or you may just want to give it a go anyway to see why I love it? The Last Letter from Your Lover has a style and flow that is not unlike putting together a 10,000 piece jig saw puzzle. With a puzzle you generally start by putting the edge pieces together, giving you a clue to what the finished photo might look like, that is if you don't already have a photo of the puzzle you are putting together. As you keep putting together more pieces of the puzzle, by reading further in this case, you may think you have the ending figured out.  It is then that Moyes throws a twist or two into the plot. I know a lot of readers who say they managed to guess the ending of a book they were reading and even if you are one of those who does manage to do just that, you will still enjoy the journey. You'll enjoy it because Moyes does an expert job of making the plot and characters layered and full of depth. 


You will thank me for this recommendation.
An example of this complexity is just when you are getting another clue to Jennifer’s mystery you are taken to London 2003 where you meet Ellie. Ellie who is your average 20-something journalist who is struggling to find the balance of what she dreamed her life would be like and what it is. Moyes’s introduction of Ellie comes as we find her struggling in her career, in the middle of an affair with a married man and at that point of "where do I go from here?" The newspaper where Ellie works is in the process of moving to a new building from one it had been in since it started. Ellie is assigned a job that has her down in the archives digging through old stories, paperwork, and materials that have to be discarded before the paper moves to the new building when she discovers "B's" letter. Ellie, living in a time where such letters just don’t seem to exist  anymore because the advances of technology and texting caused letter writing to become a thing of the past, becomes obsessed with trying to find out what happened to the two lovers. Ellie, in hopes that she can save her career and turn her own rather sad love life into something more than she ever dared dream, sets out to solve the mystery of who these two are. 
Now I know that reading a good book can make you feel like you are watching a scene from a movie and for me I just loved reading about the different dynamics of these two women as they try to figure out who ‘B’ is. I felt as if I was watching it all unfold instead of reading it, which is what a great book does. For those fans of TV shows like Mad Men and movies like Sliding Doors, this book has the same kind of feel that you will enjoy but that is just one Wench’s take on the book. Now, please excuse me I have another Jojo Moyes book that is calling my name. Stop by the comments section if you have read any of Mrs. Moyes’s books,  what you thought of this one, or if my review made you add it to your TBR. Happy reading everyone!



This Wench rates it :



Comments

  1. You, my dear Nat, nailed it! I abso-freakin'-lutely loved your review! Just as you had to read Me Before You because of me, I knew I *had* to read this one because of /thanks to you. And let me tell you, my dear friend I owe you big time for this recommendation!

    Why does everything have to be so bloody painful in Jojo Moyes's books?! I want to hate them, toss them aside and forget I had ever read them! But I can't. Her stories are too good. Painful- but life always is.

    You have to admit though, a lobotomy would be easier on her readers than Moyes's vision of happy ending. I feel so exposed after her stories, bared to my bones, to my soul for everyone to take a bite that after every book I read I am left asking myself "Where do I go from here? Now what? What do I do with myself after this?!".

    I was so angry with Jenny and Anthony's (and in the second half Ellie's) decisions at times that all I wanted was to yell at them for giving up so easily, for letting life (which we all know is the grandmother of all bitches actually) come between them, draw them apart, let them suffer for all eternity; because dude!, that was eternity! It just makes me see red how one instant you can claw at your happiness with both hands, holding on to it for dear life, and the next you're on your knees trying desperately to glue yourself back together! That's what life is! And that is exactly what this book was about.

    Two love affairs. One taking place in 1960, the other in 2003 London. It's amazing how different and at the same time how much alike the two stories are.

    I will never tire of telling every person I know "You just HAVE to read Jojo Moyes. Take your pick, bring tissues, chocolate and your comfort blanket because you will need it, but for the love of God read Jojo Moyes!

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  2. Olga my dear, just wait until we do our read of The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo. If she keeps writing them I'll keep reading them. I know I like a good fluff read in between her books but honestly a book that makes you feel so raw, exposed and takes you to depths you never thought possible!? Yeah that is a book I'll read over and over. Oh and I told my friend Erin, Joe's wife, about Me Before You...she's going to read it and I'll tell you her reaction when she is done. As you and I both talked about Joe's experience of being a quad is so different from Wills.

    Ahh so many good books! Thank you Ms. Moyes!

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