THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER

Jojo Moyes

When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in a London hospital in 1960, she has no memory of who she is or of the car crash that brought her there. Her story, deftly woven by novelist Jojo Moyes, moves between the events leading up to the accident and Jennifer's attempt to return to a life she does not recognize—and one she realizes she does not want.

As she searches for small clues to her former self, she finds—secreted away in corners of her home—passionate letters written to her by a lover she can't remember. Who is the man who signs only “B”?

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When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in a London hospital in 1960, she has no memory of who she is or of the car crash that brought her there. Her story, deftly woven by novelist Jojo Moyes, moves between the events leading up to the accident and Jennifer's attempt to return to a life she does not recognize—and one she realizes she does not want.

As she searches for small clues to her former self, she finds—secreted away in corners of her home—passionate letters written to her by a lover she can't remember. Who is the man who signs only “B”? Where is he? What happened to their romance?

Jennifer also discovers the true nature of her marriage to the wealthy and powerful Laurence; their glamorous parties and luxury homes mask an unhappy marriage and an empty existence. As the growing discontent of Jennifer's privileged, lonely life becomes impossible for her to ignore, Laurence admits his full knowledge of her mysterious lover and the cause of her accident.

As Jennifer attempts in vain to chase down a chance at a life that may no longer exist, Moyes moves the story ahead forty years to 2003 and introduces us to Ellie, a young reporter in London. Struggling with an unsatisfying affair with a married lover and barely keeping her career afloat, Ellie is lost in her own life. While researching for an article for the newspaper's anniversary edition, she stumbles on a heartbreaking letter in the newspaper's archives. Struck by the beauty of the letter's plea—and desperate for a chance to impress her editor—Ellie decides to track down the woman to whom the letter is addressed, and the mysterious writer, “B.” By piecing together what remains of this long-lost love, Ellie profoundly transforms Jennifer's life, and her own in the process.

The Last Letter from Your Lover is a smart, emotionally affecting novel that spans decades and far-flung locales, and in it Moyes presents a nuanced and realistic portrait of love, marriage, and fidelity, both today and generations ago. The passion and tenderness of the affair between Jennifer and “B” leap off the page with nearly palpable energy; the lovers' connection is undeniable, marked by an erotic and intellectual attraction that has the power to upend their lives. Proof of the enduring strength and redemptive power of love, the novel is by turns tender, sad, and inspiring, and its final pages will leave readers clutching their books—and their tissues.

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  • Penguin
  • Paperback
  • June 2012
  • 416 Pages
  • 9780143121107

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About Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes is the New York Times bestselling–author of The Girl You Left Behind, Honeymoon in Paris, Me Before You, and The Last Letter from Your Lover. She also writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines. She lives in Essex, England.

Praise

“With its realistically complicated characters and emotionally complex plot, The Last Letter from Your Lover is hopelessly and hopefully romantic.”Chicago Tribune

“Crafting a love story that feels not just compelling but true is a very difficult thing indeed—and yet, with The Last Letter from Your Lover, Jojo Moyes has done it twice. I found myself utterly transfixed by both sets of lovers in this marvelous novel. Moyes is a tremendously gifted storyteller, and I'm all admiration.”Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife

“A fabulous, emotional, and evocative book—perfect for anyone who loves Mad Men.”Sophie Kinsella, bestselling author of Confessions of a Shopaholic

“This story of passion and missed chances—with a twist that provides fresh perspective 40 years later—is entrancing.”Parade (Top Pick)

Discussion Questions

What similarities are there between Ellie and Jennifer? How do their experiences reflect their respective eras? Of the two women, with whom do you empathize or identify the most?

Have you ever written or received a love letter? Have you ever sent a romantic e-mail or text? Do you think electronic communication has changed the nature of expression? How does the emotional weight of a love letter compare with that of spoken words?

Does Laurence love Jennifer? Imagine yourself in his position. What were his motives in lying to Jennifer about O'Hare's death?

How did your opinion of O'Hare develop over the course of the novel? Is he a traditional romantic hero?

If Jennifer and O'Hare had run away together, what would their lives have been like?

Jennifer's friends and her mother are reluctant to tell her much about her life before the accident, urging her to focus on the future. Why? Do you believe they knew about her affair?

Why does Yvonne react the way she does to Jennifer's decision to leave Laurence?

Think of Jennifer's many roles as mother, daughter, wife, lover, and friend. Is it possible to fill all those roles at once? Should any one role be a priority and, if so, which one? With this in mind, did Jennifer make the right choice in pursuing O'Hare?

Examine the female friendships in the novel, particularly the interactions between Ellie and her girlfriends. Had you been friends with Ellie, what advice would you have given her about John? What would you say to John?

Rory argues that being in love doesn't excuse someone from being responsible for their actions, that “everyone makes a choice” to do either the right or the wrong thing (p. 332). Ellie disagrees, believing that people can be swept away by emotion. What do you think?

Did you find the ending satisfactory? What happens next for Jennifer and Ellie?