Thank you to the Tandem Collective, Studio Canal and Hodder and Stoughton for a paperback copy of The Last Letter from your Lover. After sharing my review for the film recently, now it is time to review the book, originally published in 2010.
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.
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’.
I’ve read and enjoyed books by Jojo Moyes before, but wasn’t aware of this book (and the film) until last month. After Studio Canal kindly gave me the opportunity to watch the film on the opening weekend, I decided to read the book during the following week.
I’m pleased to say that I loved the both the film and the book. The film sticks to the book in many places, but some elements of the story are missing in the film (presumably due to time restraints).
Jojo Moyes portrays two sides to London in the 1960’s. Jennifer is in the posh part, where wives wait for their husbands to return home after a long day in the office before serving him a drink and dishing up a meal prepared by their staff. After meeting Boot, Jennifer discovers how London is changing, the freedom of the clubs and being out dancing. This contrasts well with Ellie’s London, nearly 40 years later, where women are working and don’t have to ask permission to hold a bank account.
After watching the film, I did feel sorry for Laurence, but after reading the book, I had much less sympathy. The ‘letters’ in the book add to the story and it makes me sad to think about how few letters are sent now.
This beautifully written book looks at relationships and friendships, at betrayal and secrets. Many of the characters are flawed, but some of them win your heart, whilst others don’t deserve your pity.
If you haven’t read the book before, then do look out for the recently republished paperback edition available in bookshops now. Happy to recommend this book.