Friday, August 21, 2015

"The Last Letter From Your Lover": Anticipating 'Me After You' by Jojo Moyes

Ahhhhh love . . . .

Who doesn't appreciate a great love story full of unrequited passion, missed opportunities, realizations about life, and the possibility of a happy ending after so much suffering?

I'll tell you who loves them.  This girl.

I needed to read something by Jojo Moyes as I anticipate the release of After You (the sequel to her bestselling Me Before You) in late September.  As the last days of carefree summer vacation wane, I wanted to get lost in a romance with substance - something that wouldn't feel like cotton candy and make my teeth hurt, but something more like a flourless dark chocolate torte from a high end restaurant.

And, you know what? Jojo Moyes delivered yet another gorgeous landscape of romance in her 2010 novel "The Last Letter From Your Lover." Both love stories in this book are heart wrenching in different ways - human, flawed, tragic and believable.

The main love story focuses on Jennifer Stirling and her chance meeting with a playboy reporter while she is vacationing in the south of France in 1960.  They are immediately drawn to each other, and although she doesn't want an affair and he doesn't want to tear her from her life which she claims is not unhappy - their chemistry can't be denied.  Sound cliche? It didn't feel like it while I was reading it.  Moyes never fails to give her characters so much depth that the reader can understand why they make the choices that they make even if they seem immoral.

Adultery is wrong, right? What about if your husband is dull, verbally abusive, absent, and also bribing victims of asbestos to not rat out his company? And what if your lover "cracks himself open" in letters that ache with tenderness and raw emotion.  Maybe you don't believe in soul mates or true love, but reading about it on warm summer breezy nights makes me believe.

The secondary love story centers on 32 year old Ellie, a determined feature writer who is in the midst of a torrid love affair with a married novelist.  She makes excuses for her affair and even after she befriends Rory who just happens to be into her and he's funny, single and awesome to be around, she can't quite seem to break the habit of the married guy.

Why can one affair be okay but another can't? Is adultery ever okay? What about when children are involved?

I loved when Rory attacked Ellie for her choices and said, "Every act has a consequence, Ellie.  In my view the world divides into people who can see that, and make a decision accordingly, and those who just go for what feels good at the time." Maybe humans are just blind to the consequences of their actions.  We don't have foresight, and that may be our biggest weakness when it comes to love.

I enjoyed my escape into another Jojo Moyes love novel, and if you are in the mood for a romantic escape this love story might be just what you need as the cicadas sing their end of summer song.

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