When journalist Ellie looks through her newspaper's archives for a story, she doesn’t think she'll find anything of interest. Instead she discovers a letter from 1960, written by a man asking his lover to leave her husband – and Ellie is caught up in the intrigue of a past love affair. Despite, or perhaps because of her own romantic entanglements with a married man.I'm not even going to pretend - I was mostly drawn to this novel due to the beautiful cover, and I fell in love with it before I even read the plot summary, but luckily that turned out to be great too! I got an ARC a while ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear that the book is actually out today.
In 1960, Jennifer wakes up in hospital after a car accident. She can't remember anything – her husband, her friends, who she used to be. And then, when she returns home, she uncovers a hidden letter, and begins to remember the lover she was willing to risk everything for. Ellie and Jennifer's stories of passion, adultery and loss are wound together in this richly emotive novel – interspersed with real 'last letters'.
As you can see above, the book tells a story of two women. It opens in the present time when Ellie, a journalist who is struggling with an affair of her own, comes across a love letter from the 1960s in which someone signed B. is asking some woman to leave her husband and run away with him.
Ellie wonders what happened to them and so we are transported to the year 1960, when a 27-year-old woman called Jennifer wakes up in a hospital with a mild case of amnesia. She was involved in a car accident that nobody wants to talk about and she tries to love her husband Laurence, but she senses something is not quite right. She seemingly leads a charming life and she's the perfect wife, but she's not as happy as she could be. Then she finds her love letters and is determind to find her lover, whom she doesn't even rememer and who may be gone forever ...
The chapters set in the year 1960 alternate - one describes Jenny's life as it is now and the other talks about the events before her accident and how she met her lover and they fell in love and what they had planned.
After the shocking conclusion of this part of the story, we are transported to the year 1964 and Jenny has changed quite a bit. I don't want to give anything away, I'll just say that there are more twists and turns in this part too.
Then one really wonders what happened to the two star-crossed lovers and the story switches back to now and focuses more on Ellie and all those love letters again, and now Ellie is determind to find out what happened to them and write a newspaper feature on them ... She does indeed find out the truth about them and so do the readers, that's all I'm saying. :)
I found the book to be a bit slow at first, but then things started happening and curtains started lifting and I raced through it to find out what happened to Jennifer and B. I actually quite liked how most of the book was set in the 60s as that's the period that's not often described in my kind of books and I found it really fascinating to read about and with Ms Moyes's fantastically rich writing I could really picture everything easily. I enjoyed reading the real life last letters between chapters too, they were a lovely touch.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book - it was one of the best love stories I've ever read, one that spans centuries and continents and finally comes to a touching but satisfying conclusion. An absolutely beautiful read, both inside and out.
plot: 4/5 | writing: 5/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 5/5
ps: Don't forget to watch the fantastic trailer below! :)