What an emotional, lovely story this is. It’s my first JoJo Moyes book, and after turning the last page, I’m wondering about all the beautiful stories I’ve missed by this very talented author.
Awaking with no memory after a car accident, Jennifer Stirling is forced to live a life she feels very uncomfortable with. Though she tries to please her impatient and unfeeling husband and get to know friends with whom she has only wealth and being a decorative wife in common, something feels missing to her. The one day all of her distressing awkwardness slowly beings to make sense. Jennifer discovers a letter – a love letter – to her from “B.” While one or two of her questions are now answered, this letter and its author give her so many more to figure out.
It’s 1960, a time when women stayed home, kept a nice house, had dinner on the table when the husband returned from work, and looked pretty on the arm of her spouse when situations required it. At least that’s Jennifer life at the time. But after she awakens in the hospital, after she realizes the state of her marriage and can’t figure out how it got that way. After she finds even more letters hidden around her home, Jennifer wants more. She just doesn’t know what that more is or who it should be with.
The love affair that begins to take shape for Jennifer is truly a love affair. Not one of those waiting to see if one or the other will leave their spouse. Jennifer does finally decide to take her life into her own hands, control her own destiny to be with the man she knows is the right one for her. That’s when fate deals a tragic blow. The way the book is written, you’re transported several times a space of just a few months in 1960, pre and post accident, to find out how this story unfolds. You also get those lovely letters to garner the feelings B has for Jennifer. It’s those letters that will bring them together time and again. But it’s not until forty years later, when they’re unearthed in a musty newspaper library that the words B wrote finally do what they’re meant to.
The book is written in three parts – their initial meeting in 1960, their reunion in 1964, and the future in 2003. It’s in 2003 when Ellie Haworth, a journalist, finds the folder of documents and letters Jennifer left for B in ’64 when she made her momentous decision. Ellie is fascinated with the letters she reads and wants to know more about what happened to their love that, no matter how deep it was, never seemed to be. Herself mired in an adulterous relationship, Ellie has to come to her own realizations as she digs into the past and finally meets Jennifer to learn what truly happened. You go along on this ride with them throughout the book, always hoping against hope that this time things will work out for them. Just when you think all will be well, Ms. Moyes expertly throws a curve ball over the home plate, and you have to wait once again with your heart racing and a lump in your throat to discover their fate. One of those curve balls at the end of the book really caught me by surprise.
This is a book you don’t want to miss. Trust me on that. Well into the story, the song and video of Little Texas‘ What Might Have Been kept playing in the back of my mind. You just never know how life will turn out.
In 1960, Jennifer Stirling wakes in the hospital and remembers nothing—not the car accident that put her there, not her wealthy husband, not even her own name. Searching for clues, she finds an impassioned letter, signed simply “B,” from a man for whom she seemed willing to risk everything. In 2003, journalist Ellie Haworth stumbles upon the letter and becomes obsessed with learning the unknown lovers’ fate—hoping it will inspire her own happy ending.
Read an excerpt.