Author: Jojo Moyes
Jojo Moyes has written a poignant story of love and marriage, not always between the same people, in the 60’s. The first half of the book jumps around quite a bit and you need to pay attention to keep the time line straight.
The Prologue takes place in the modern era, beginning with a night out on the town for a group of friends. Swapping stories and talking about modern day communication. Analyzing text speak for hidden meaning. Further in, a letter is found in the archives of a newspaper office. A letter of forbidden love with no names and no easy way of discovering who the players in this love affair are.
Part 1 takes us back to 1960 and the aftereffects of a car accident. The next 200 pages are spent trying to decipher who and what fits where and how the time line goes. A story of being familiar in everything around you but still knowing there is something missing in your life.
Our present day lead, finder of the letters in the newspaper archive, finds herself obssessed with the players in the love letter scandal. Caught up in their story and all of their What ifs, she spends more time trying to chase down the leads to tie this story together than in researching the story she should be working on. Tied up with it to the point where their story and her own sorry love life begin to jeopardise her job.
This story spans almost half a century and really demonstrates how much has changed in that time. It’s funny, I sit here having just finished the book and my heart is warmed. I got myself so caught up in all of the tangled stories of the major characters in this book.
Heading every chapter is an excerpt of some last piece of communication; text, letters, emails – some quite modern but for the most part spanning the entire time line of the novel.
I seem to find myself at a loss for words, and that is quite unusual for me. This book has touched me and I am just not sure how to convey what I have brought away from it with you.
The Last Letter From Your Lover is quite a social commentary on life in the 60’s and how far away it is from the freedoms we are accorded in the present era. To be trapped in a marriage and psychologically battered day in and day out simply because leaving would send the entire family into disrepute. To put up with the mistresses because it was easier than the alternative. Today, these relationships still exist but I like to think they are a lot less common.
The use of the newspaper tying past and present together at the same time as they want to run a story comparing present day news with the news of the past is quite clever and it really brings all the threads together for the ending of the story.
I can’t speak for everyone but this book struck a chord in me and I think it will strike a chord in any person who has ever thought what if, for everyone who has an if only. Sometimes we find ourselves in the right situation at the wrong time, and we have all found ourselves there at some point. This book tells the story of a love that was right, that completed two people, but it was also very wrong and the timing was always wrong. And it takes us all the way to the conclusion – 40 years later.
This story tells of a love so strong and so passionate that it is felt by total strangers reading a handful of letters 40 years later, and the emotion it stirs in them is enough to afford them the strength to look at themselves and reassess where they are at in their lives.
There is a sticker on the cover of my copy with a Publisher’s Promise – Love this book or your money back. I know I certainly don’t want my money back. When I first saw the sticker I thought … hmm that’s a pretty bold statement to make, they must be pretty sure of themselves. Well now I can see why.