The Last Letter from Your Lover by JoJo Moyes is You’ve Got Mail meets Desperate Housewives. The novel is surprisingly romantic and classy with spicy notes of scandal. The Last Letter From Your Lover is reminiscent of her last two novels, and just as addicting.
JoJo Moyes organizes her novel in much the same format as The Girl You Left Behind and Honeymoon in Paris. Two lives converge from different places in time connected by an object; in this case, that object is a packet of old love letters from the 60s. For forty-nine years, those love letters were entombed in the archives basement of London’s Nation newspaper until a floundering features writer, Ellie Haworth, discovers them. Immediately, Ellie resonates with the words.
Ellie is having an affair with a married man. When she reads about Jennifer Stirling’s love affair with a writer in 1964, Ellie begins to struggle between doing the right thing and wanting the kind of love she sees between Jennifer and her writer, Anthony. Jennifer is married to a cold, controlling man. The novel rockets us into the story when the first page we open is from Jennifer’s point of view as she awakens after an accident. As Jennifer’s memory slowly returns, its obvious love is not sparking between Jennifer and her husband. She tries to do the right thing to stay with her husband, but even sex lacks any chemistry. Jennifer begins to piece together her past from hidden clues in romance novels and mysterious love letters. As she remembers her lover, deceptive parties, acting in her best interest, have kept secrets regarding Anthony’s whereabouts. This is all part one. Part two is Ellie’s story.
John, Ellie’s married lover, only comes and sees her when he can get away from his wife. Ellie is unhappy, but not courageous enough yet to leave him. He comes when he wants a physical relationship. Ellie and Rory come together over the story of the love letter. A hint of a relationship begins to flower, but Ellie can’t let go of John yet. JoJo Moyes tells the story of the raw hurt on both sides of an affair with a surprising twist at the end. I loved this novel, just as I loved the last couple of her novels. The dialogue is snappy and Moyes manages to show emotion and not tell. The smallest details she writes of Ellie’s obsession with John propel the emotion forward, deepening our interest in the story. For a writer, this is a great novel to study as the techniques are wonderful.
The Last Letter From Your Lover is a five-star book. A Christian can rest in the knowledge the novel is mostly clean of offensive words or elaborate sex scenes. It’s a great romance novel.
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