The Last Letter from your Lover by Jojo Moyes

This book was recommended to me by a friend and tells the tale of two women – one feature-writing 30-something trying to give her messed up life some semblance of meaning while having an unfulfilling affair with a married man. Meet Ellie. The other is Jennifer whose story is told around 30 years previously, a socialite wife to a businessman husband who can’t shake the feeling that something is missing from her life after a near-death car accident. The book tells both women’s stories and unites them at the end of the book.

First off, it wasn’t until the end that I started to like Ellie and even then it was only a little bit. She’s totally deluded. She’s slowly losing her career, friends and her marbles all because of a man who clearly won’t leave his wife for her and barely replies to her text messages. If I was to meet Ellie in real life I’d want to grab her by the shoulders and give her a short, sharp shake. Jennifer, on the other hand, is a lost soul and I felt sorry for her. Completely confused after a car accident which has affected some of her memories and as she slowly regains them she can’t shake the feeling that something is missing, or work out why she doesn’t love her husband – an emotionless and sometimes unkind businessman – as much as she should. She’s a party girl on the outside, a troubled soul on the inside.

I don’t want to give anything away but the two stories meet at the end of the book and there’s a twist I didn’t see coming, odd considering I’m a huge crime fiction reader. I loved the twist and I liked the ending too. And I almost liked Ellie who seemed to grow up a bit throughout the course of the book.

I love the contrast of the language used in the different era, short and unemotional text messages and phone calls for Ellie and romantic passionate love letters for Jennifer. At the start of each chapter there’s also a snippet – from Facebook, a text message or email etc – highlighting the blunt way in which men and women end their relationships today. It’s nothing to do with the story exactly but a nice way of highlighting how much things have changed since Jennifer’s day. There’s a male character I haven’t mentioned yet, because I want readers to discover him themselves but the one thing I will say is that love conquers a lot of demons.

I like that the book is told from Ellie’s point of view and then from Jennifer’s and that the latter’s story dips between pre-accident and post-accident. There are no headers or dates to state when this is happening so when it first shifted pre-accident (Jennifer’s story starts just after her accident, as she recovers in hospital) it took me a wee while to work it out.

I really liked this book and found it a refreshing changed to the chick lit I’ve read in the past. This is definitely a book for women but it’s a huge step up from chick lit, this is contemporary women’s literature with a bit of class. Give it a read.

Robyn’s rating 8/10

Posted January 2011

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