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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Last Letter From Your Lover by JoJo Moyes

The Last Letter From Your Lover by JoJo Moyes
Published by Pamela Dorman Books/Viking ISBN 9780670022809
Hardcover $26.95

I'm going to be honest and say that until I finished this novel, I wasn't sure I was going to like it. The Last  Letter From Your Lover by JoJo Moyes is the kind of book that you think, OK, this book is all right, and since I read it everyday on my Kindle on the treadmill, I just stuck with it.

I'm glad I did, because the manner in which Moyes ties everything together in the end is so rewarding and there is one moment that is so jawdropping, I almost fell off the treadmill; I did not see that one coming. (And I like to think that I have read so many novels, there is not much that could surprise me.)

Moyes begins her story in London in 1964, where Jennifer is in a hospital recovering from a horrible car accident. She has no memory of her life and doesn't know her own husband. When her memory doesn't return, she lives in a kind of nowhere-land, only knowing what her husband and friends tell her about her life.

Until the day she finds a love letter to her from a man named B. Apparently she was in love with him, and they were planning to run away together. She has no memory of him or this letter, but she feels something inside that tells her it is true.

This story is intercut with Ellie, a young writer for a London newspaper, unhappily involved with a married man. She is on the verge of losing her job when she finds B's love letter to Jennifer and believes that there is a story there.

Even though almost 50 years has passed, Ellie tries to track down Jennifer and B, and her hope is that they have been together all this time, thereby proving that true love is possible.

There are so many writers who use the conceit of two different stories in two different times, sometimes it can be, "oh, no, not again", but Moyes uses it to tie her novel together in a meaningful way that serves the story well.

B and Jennifer's love story is star-crossed to say the least, and the mystery of will they get together or not propels the plot forward, and I couldn't wait to find out the answer.

The characters are well-rounded, the writing seductive and the style of dress and copious drinking from 1964 is very Mad Men-like and trendy now. Moyes took awhile to entrance me with her love story, but when the book ended, I wanted to stand up and applaud. Well done, indeed!

rating 4.5 of 5

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