Rating: 3 Stars
Published: July 2011
Genre: Histoical Fiction // Contemporary // Adult Fiction
You know, you can’t make someone love you again. No matter how much you might want it. Sometimes, unfortunately, the timing is simply . . . off.
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. (Summary taken from Goodreads)
It’s no secret how much I adore Me Before You. You can read my review here if you haven’t already. I was smitten with Jojo Moyes and I did some research before picking up my next book by her. I didn’t doubt I would like it so I wasn’t too worried. I should have picked more carefully.
It took me a while to get into the book. Once I did, I found Jennifer Stirling to be entirely too dull, Laurence Stirling to be a cliche, and Anthony O’Hare –well, I don’t have too much of an opinion of him. He’s forgettable except for the letters he writes. Ellie Haworth was the most interesting character of the lot but even I had a hard time feeling sorry for her. My favorite character was poor librarian Rory and his collective amount of pages aren’t very many at all.
“If you were mine,” Anthony said, “I wouldn’t leave you alone for a minute.”
“I bet you say that to all the girls.”
“Don’t,” he said. “I hate that.”
“Oh you can’t pretend you haven’t used all your best lines on other women first. I know you, Boot. You told me, remember?”
Jennifer is in a car accident where she lost her memory. I understand the structure of the book and why it was necessary but there were times I couldn’t keep straight was flashback and what was the “current” time. Jennifer’s friends were vapid and cliches. I’m also really sick of reading about people who lose their memories and can’t remember the seemingly horrid people they were before the accident. It’s a tiring trope.
When I finally got into the story, the year was 1964 and the confusing back and forth between summer to September of 1960 and December 1960 was over. Thank goodness. I honestly wish there was more about Ellie Haworth in 2003. I liked older Jennifer and I liked how she grew as a person. I enjoyed listening to her talk about her life and the affair.
Ellie’s head sinks into her hands, and she weeps for the unknown Boot, for Jennifer, for chances missed and a life wasted. She cries for herself, because nobody will ever love her like he loved Jennifer, and because she suspects that she is spoiling what might have been a perfectly good, if ordinary, life. She cries because she is drunk and in her flat and there are few advantages to living on your own except being able to sob uninhibitedly at will.
Ellie Haworth, the journalist who finds the letters between Jennifer & Anthony, is complicated. She’s having an affair of her own but she’s the one sleeping with a married man. She grows and changes for the better and I really liked that about her storyline. I wish there was more about her writing and her life after. I also wish I could read the finished piece she wrote for the The Nation. That would have been cool. There isn’t a whole lot of information about her or the people in 2003. I wish there was more of that and less of 1960. Or that the story was more framed around 2003 and the flashbacks were scattered throughout. I understand the way of writing it how it was but it just didn’t work me. I was too bored at first.
I will say that I stayed up late trying to finish it one night. The 2003 chapters were much more accessible and interesting to read about and I couldn’t wait to see what happened. Even though, I totally saw some of it coming. I’m not sure if it was intentionally obvious (because it certainly wasn’t to some of the characters) or if I could just tell because I read a lot.
By no means have I given up on Jojo Moyes. I don’t want to believe I’ll only love Me Before You and nothing else she writes because she’s talented. I just need to find the next book. I’m thinking One Plus One.
Do you love Jojo Moyes? If so, do you have recommendations for me? I’d love them!