It is 1960 in London, England. Jennifer Stirling wakes from a coma with amnesia. She does not remember the accident that put her in the hospital, her husband or even her own identity. A stranger in her own life, she hopes to reconnect her memories by going about her day-to-day playing the role of her former self. Until one day she discovers an old letter simply signed “B,” asking her to leave her husband, leading her on a desperate journey to reconnect the pieces of her fractured life.
Years later, in 2003, Ellie will discover the same letter in a forgotten file at the newspaper where she works. Intrigued, she tries to find out what happened to the two lovers while also attempting to reinvigorate her once-promising career that has been suffering due to her preoccupation with her own lopsided affair with a married man.
This book is impossible to put down. I tried to keep the synopsis as true to the book jacket as possible in order to avoid spoilers. My sister first introduced me to Jojo Moyes through her most recent novel, Me Before You. I was so delighted to learn through a quick search that she is quite a prolific writer. And while I loved her newest book, The Last Letter From Your Lover completely blows it out of the water.
Not only is this a beautiful and gut-wrenching love story, but it also manages to paint so poignantly the era in which it was set. The texture of the time feels totally authentic: the dialogue, the politics, the social mores, and even the more superficial aspects, such as clothing and interior design are right on point. And there is a fascinating juxtaposition between the ‘60s and 2003 (not so different ten years later) that makes you really contemplate how communication has changed so profoundly and not entirely for the good.
There was one point in the story when I nearly threw the book across the room from sheer frustration. If you read this book, you will know where and I suspect you will do the same. I couldn’t imagine the story coming back from such a sad and yet inevitable turn. And yet the end was so wholly satisfying. There is a silver lining. Easily one of the best books I have read all year.