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The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel (original 2010; edition 2012)

by Jojo Moyes

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464None22,301 (3.8)8
Member:michellereads
Title:The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel
Authors:Jojo Moyes
Info:Penguin Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
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The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes (2010)

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
I thoroughly enjoyed The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes. Despite it being slightly melodramatic, the novel was engaging from beginning to end.

Most of the book takes place in the 1960(s). The role of women and their restrictions at that time period were almost too difficult to fathom especially when compared to the modern, liberated women of 2014. Essentially, women of the 1960(s), at least these particular characters, did not hold jobs nor were they expected to have opinions of import. They were to look pretty, travel, pamper their husbands and take care of the children and the home. Men were portrayed as condescending and belittling toward their wives and their endeavors.

The author is a gifted writer and was able to capture the 1960(s) time period with such accuracy; her writing style seemed to reflect the rigidity of the time and evolved as the years moved forward as did the rights and the roles of women. Ms. Moyes' writing during the 2003 chapters was significantly lighter and less formal. Women were much freer. They were accepted in the workplace and held high powered positions, but also were wives and mothers too. The irony was not lost on this reader that the main character of the more current years was a woman working as a features reporter, something that would have been unheard of in the earlier years, and she was also having an affair with a married man. On a side note, Melissa, the head of the features department at the Nation, is the ultimate liberated woman. She is Ellie Haworth's boss; she is a demanding perfectionist, not interested in excuses, just expecting the job to get done and done well. But, the reader also glimpsed a different side of Melissa when her child cried to her over the phone because she needed her mother to attend some function with her, but as Melissa explained "Mummy has to go to work." Melissa is unsettled and cried after that phone call. With all of the progress that has been made, women still suffer. Women's clearly defined roles of the 1960(s) are blurred, and in the present, balancing career and motherhood is not easy and often heartbreaking.

It should be noted that the story skipped to different time periods and though dates were clearly marked at the beginning of the chapters, it did become confusing in parts, causing me to flip back in the book to review. It became easier as the story progressed, but it was slightly off-putting. Additionally, it was very much like a soap opera at times which I found somewhat unrealistic. But, the story was a substantial and worthwhile one and carried me through those minor grievances.

It was an easy read but one that made the reader think. I find those books to be the very best kind. It was a book that you could get lost in but one that will be remembered well after you've finished the last page. ( )
  2LZ | Apr 7, 2014 |
Readers of Moyes’ other books will recognize her most commonly used plot device: lovers of the past are juxtaposed with an analogous couple in the present time, there being an unexpected tie between the two pairs. However, the fact that the author re-uses this theme doesn’t affect her ability to create new and satisfying wine in this old bottle. The story is not really as predictable as you would suspect, and contains several clever twists. Most importantly, Moyes incorporates those elements of storytelling at which she excels - her “heart,” and her ability to capture realistic dialogue and historical social conventions.

The book begins in 1960 with Jennifer Stirling, 27, waking up from a near-fatal car wreck to find that she can’t remember much. Although she is apparently rich, beautiful, and married to an important executive, she only has fleeting memories of who she was before the accident. She also finds evidence, through some hidden love letters, that she was having an affair with someone before the accident, but can’t even remember who he was.

In the present day, we meet Ellie Haworth, 32, a reporter who keeps telling herself she is “living the dream.” But her relationship with John, a famous author, leaves something to be desired: he is married, and after a year with him, he still shows no sign of leaving his wife.

Going back and forth in time, we find out what happened to the couple from forty years before, and why two people in the present day get involved in their story.

Discussion: This book was the winner of the 2011 Romantic Novel of the Year Award in the U.K., and deservedly so. Unlike more explicit books that lose all sense of romance in the details, Moyes knows how to evoke a feeling without an anatomy lesson. In this passage, for example, Jenny and her lover Anthony wordlessly encounter each other in an elevator, when Jenny is with her husband:

"She looked at the floor, then her eyes slid back to Anthony’s, the rise and fall of her chest revealing how much he’d shocked her. Their eyes met, and in those few silent moments, he told her everything. He told her that she was the most astonishing thing he had ever encountered. He told her that she haunted his waking hours, and that every feeling, every experience he had had in his life up to that point was flat and unimportant compared to the enormity of this. He told her he loved her.”

Or there is this touching moment, when the two present-day protagonists are discussing Anthony’s letters to Jenny:

"Why do you think nobody writes love letters like these anymore? she says… I mean, yes, there are texts and e-mails and things, but nobody sends them in language like this, do they? Nobody spells it out anymore….

‘Perhaps they do,’ he says… ‘Or perhaps, if you’re a man, it’s impossible to know what you’re meant to say.’”

But when he says that, of course, we readers know exactly what he means to say!

Evaluation: I haven’t yet found a book by Jojo Moyes not worth reading. This one may not be quite as mind-blowing as Me Before You, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a lovely, lovely book. ( )
  nbmars | Feb 25, 2014 |
I so enjoy her books ( )
  shazjhb | Feb 9, 2014 |
Are you brave enough to love? The characters in this book must find the courage to love fiercely and honestly despite many obstacles. There’s a subtlety about the writing that at first makes the pace a little slow. But it is a deliberate slowness meant to portray emotions through action and nuance of speech. The effect is an immediate since of mystery, of recognizing something is very wrong but not being privy to what that something may be. Perhaps it is best described as a quiet intensity. As the story progresses, the intensity grows and the reader is enraptured. By turns hopeful and tragic with much frustration and missed opportunity, the story develops palpable tension, anxiety, and anticipation. There are also surprising twists. This masterful way of storytelling compels the reader to race forward to discover the fate of the characters. As for the ending, it was perfect. If you are a romantic, this book is for you.

Favorite words:

unguents : a soothing or healing salve : ointment

deliquescent : tending to melt or dissolve; especially : tending to undergo gradual dissolution and liquefaction by the attraction and absorption of moisture from the air

bacchanalian : like a Roman festival of Bacchus celebrated with dancing, song, and revelry

Quotes:

“She was learning to trust her gut reactions to people: memories could be lodged in places other than the mind” (p.19).

“Her blond hair fell from her head like paint from a pot…” (p.66).

“Their eyes met, and in those few silent moments, he told her everything” (p.104).

“It never ended. Even though she’d thought she’d covered her heart with a permanent porcelain shell, he still found a way to chip at it” (p. 175).

“This is where I should walk away, she tells herself, picking up her glass. This is where any sensible person pulls together the remnants of their self-respect, announces that they deserve more, and walks off to find someone who can give them a whole self, not snatched lunchtimes and haunted, empty evenings” (p. 245).

In accordance with FTC guidelines, please note that I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  TheLoopyLibrarian | Feb 7, 2014 |
Jojo Moyes ist, wenn man vielen Stimmen glauben darf, eine der großartigsten aktuellen Autorinnen überhaupt. Man hört, dass sie es schafft, wahre Poesie zu Papier zu bringen und in wenigen Zeilen eine vor Wahrhaftigkeit geprägte Emotionalität auszudrücken.

Entsprechend muss ich erkennen: dieses Buch wurde nicht unbedingt für mich geschrieben.

Trotz der spannenden Zeitleiste, die über den Geschehnissen liegt und die durch Ihre beliebig scheinende Anordnung erst später zu durchschauen ist, langweilt die berechenbare Geschichte bereits zu Beginn. Dies wird auch nicht durch die kleinen Feinjustierungen innerhalb des Buches besser, dessen Ende quasi zwangsläufig schon früh zu erkennen ist. Und der Weg dorthin ist leider nicht nur mit einer Handvoll Worten gepflastert. Man wartet lange drauf, dass etwas, begeisterndes, besonderes, ungewöhnliches, phantastisches passiert und wird enttäuscht. Bemerkenswert ist, dass die Rahmenhandlung auch nicht sonderlich inspiriert wirkt.

Tiefsinnig und Gedankenspinnend mögen die andauernden Verweise auf die mögliche Verrohung der sprachlichen Gewandtheit innerhalb der letzten 50 Jahre gewertet werden. Moyes betrachtet dabei allerdings unterschiedliche soziale Schichten in einer sich gewandelten Berufswelt und irrt folglich. Selbst in den 60ern wurde „tiefes Verlangen“ auch in mittelschichtigen Kreisen nicht unbedingt lyrisch auf Papier mit ewiglichen Treueschwüren bestätigt.

Das moralisch verträgliche und herbeigebetete Ende ist in seiner Zusammensetzung unerträglich und lässt einen das Wort „Kitsch“ neu definieren.

Man möge mir einen Ignoranten nachsagen aber für mich ist "Eine Handvoll Worte" lediglich eine Mischung aus "Reich und schön" und einem Groschenroman auf sprachlich höherem Niveau.

Ich freue mich aber für jede und jeden, der/dem das Buch mehr gibt. Bei mir sind es 1,5 … liebevoll und herzschmachtend abgerundet.
( )
  peterde | Jan 26, 2014 |
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To Charles, who started it all with a paper message
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She's waking up.
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Book description
It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing-not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply "B", asking her to leave her husband.

Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper's archives. She becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie's search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance.

A spellbinding, intoxicating love story with a knockout ending, The Last Letter from Your Lover will appeal to the readers who have made One Day and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society bestsellers.
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More than forty years after a car accident causes Jennifer Stirling to lose her memory on the day she planned to leave her husband for a mysterious lover, journalist Ellie becomes obsessed by the story and seeks the truth in the hopes of revitalizing her career.… (more)

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