Amy Reads Books

Last Letter from Your Lover

The Last Letter from your Lover - Jojo Moyes I first heard of the novel via the Twitter feed of journalist/novelist India Knight, who recommended it; and is even quoted on the book as saying 'I read it in one giant greedy gulp. Jojo Moyes is a brilliant author'. That, and the gorgeous cover (I know you shouldn't judge, but...) made me really interested to read it; plus, I love books that involve letters.The novel properly begins when journalist Ellie Haworth discovers a love letter from a mysterious 'B' when she is going through the newspaper archives, in which he asks for a woman to leave her husband. In finding this letter, Ellie opens the doors to a forty-year-old love affair involving Jennifer Stirling, the wife of a mining magnate and 'Boot', a journalist.I adored Moyes' telling of the Jennifer sections of the book, when I read the Prologue, in modern England where Ellie is worrying about her own married lover John, I began to worry that I wouldn't enjoy it. However, I was quite wrong. Moyes opens Jennifer's section after an car accident which has left her unable to remember anything about herself and the reader discovers her past, almost alongside her and then without her as we are transported four years earlier to the first meeting between her and the man that would become her lover. 1960s London is wonderfully brought to life, especially as the changes of technology, fashion and female empowerment come through, although Moyes doesn't shirk from the problems that women still faced (such as through gaining a divorce). Moyes was successful in managing to build up enough sympathy for Jennifer that you could root for her to leave her husband and begin a new life, something that can be quite difficult to do; plus, she makes Laurence (the husband) a 3D character, as opposed to making him just A Bad Man Who Doesn't Understand.My enjoyment of this part of the novel managed to override my lack of interest in Ellie's problems. To be honest, whilst Moyes made me sympathesie with Jennifer, I struggled with Ellie. To me, she seemed like a perfectly nice character who didn't really need to be with the married John; she seemed like she could quite easily find a nicer man. Plus, I found the ending a little bit too sentimental and cheesy, although I was moved by the events, it felt a little bit too mushy for me.However, all things considered, I really did enjoy this book. It's a lovely romance, which doesn't have a typical ending. Plus, I loved the letters, as with Possession there seems to be something inherently more romantic in letter writing than in texts (as seen in Moyes using texts between Ellie and John); and I learnt more about the troubles in 1960s Congo than I expected to. I'd definitely say to pick this book up if you'd like a lovely, fun read, especially now that the weather seems to be brightening up.One of the great things about Moyes' novel is her use of real 'last letters'. My personal favourite (?):Happy Birthday! Enclosed is your birthday present which I hope you like...I am thinking of you especially today...because I have decided that although I love you, I am not in love with you. I don't feel that you are God's One for me. Anyway, I really hope that you like your present and that you have a fantastic birthday.(Female to Male, email) I hope he found someone else!