The Last Letter From Your Lover. Jojo Moyes. Viking Penguin. January 2013. 416 pp. pbk. ISBN #: 9780143121107.
Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital after an awful car accident in the 1960s. She remembers nothing but feels a sense of familiarity with certain people who come to visit her in the hospital. Little by little she is able to retrieve certain memories but absolutely nothing about the accident and no one will give one iota of information about that pivotal event. So Jennifer returns to her role as the wife of a cold man who is also a brilliant, successful businessman engaging in African mining. Laurence is also oblivious to the conditions his business practices leave behind but Jennifer doesn’t discover this memory for a very long time.
It’s the letters Jennifer finds, one by one over a broad span of time, that bring back her memories of Anthony. To say more would be a spoiler but suffice to say that Jennifer has a feisty nature that will not be cowed by the strict demands of her husband. It would be nice to imagine a happily ever after story and that’s what the letters seem to imply. The story, however, is more realistic in depicting how fate sometimes plays an intriguingly different hand to its players.
The story then rewinds to Jennifer’s pre-accident experiences, most importantly her meeting and falling in love with Anthony, a journalist who was well known for his expository articles about African atrocities which include the business and political spectrum of the African economy. But Anthony has a wild nature that gets him in trouble and so he’s been temporarily corralled to home to work on local stories while the top brass decide if he should continue to work or be let go. After meeting Jennifer, he is extremely distracted from his passion for Africa but doesn’t forget his past. Now he has passion for both.
Years later in 2003, a young journalist, Ellie Haworth, is questioning her own affair to a married man when she comes across a letter in which a man begs his lover to follow him so they can travel to Africa and end their separation forever. The story evolves in an amazing way to the discovery of the lovers’ names, story and the final path of their destiny.
Passionate love requires intense courage and determination at times. Moyes’ novel is endearing and heart-breaking in its ever-changing scenes for the riveted reader. But it is the intensity of the story that is passionately victorious and the reader never loses the empathy in these lovers or the countless other feelings arising from the other characters who would be called “minor characters” but who really seem to be controlled by a fate none previously imagined could come true!
Highly recommended! Great, great read!