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.
This book has been on my TBR shelf FOR-EV-ER. Based on the description above, I can’t really remember why I wanted to read it. But I’m glad I did. It really is soooo much better than it sounds.
Jennifer wakes up to a life she doesn’t remember. She knows she’s been in an accident, but no one will give her the details. Her doctors tell her the amnesia will fade and she’ll “be back to her old self” in no time. While Jennifer returns to her life, the memories do not come quickly and more than that – she can not understand why she chose this life for herself – a bored trophy wife in an unhappy marriage. She also feels a deep sense of loss for something she can’t describe. When she finds a letter tucked (hidden) into the pages of a novel, she begins to put the pieces together. What she’s missing is love – and the man who loves her back. She spends her days searching the house for more mystery letters and trying to figure out who wrote them.
Now for my major problem with this story. Obviously this great love affair is, in fact, an affair. Jennifer is married and Anthony, while divorced, has a married women habit. Not to be all judgey, but I think once you say your vows, you’re in it. If you decide it’s not going to work or that you want someone else, get divorced. I do recognize that times were different back then and a divorce was much harder to come by. Plus, Jennifer and Laurence’s marriage was basically in name only. However, right or wrong, I became deeply invested in Jennifer and Anthony’s relationship.
The story is effortlessly woven between multiple timelines and points of views to give. And, oh, the emotions! I loved Anthony. I liked Jennifer. And I desperately wanted them to find a way to be together.
Part three of the book brings us about 40 years into the future. We pick up with a new character, Ellie, working at the newspaper Anthony worked at all that time ago and is having an affair of her own. Unlike Anthony and Jennifer, Ellie and her married man is a more typical day affair. Secret e-mails and texts and clandestine meetings. When Ellie finds one of Anthony’s letters to Jennifer she clings to it as a story idea to save her job, but also begins to believe in the possibility of being really loved – nothing like her relationship with John.
With the help of newspaper librarian Rory, Ellie tracks down the details of the relationship behind the letters to it’s startling conclusion.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The pace was a little slow, but once I got into the story I didn’t care and I really loved the multiple timeline style. The character development is ah-mazing. The story involved journalists and newspapers (that almost always gets me – I used to want to be a journalist and I still fantasize about it). The writing is terrifically emotive and I was dangerously close to tears when I finished the book during my lunch break today. I’m definitely going to read more from Jojo Moyes!
Rating (out of 5):
Overall Average: 4.375 stars