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.
I will never understand the appeal of stories where the sole driver of the plot is the characters’ inability to communicate like adult human beings. This whole story revolves around two people who were supposedly so good at communicating their feelings to each other that they fall madly in love, very quickly. Yet, when it comes time to plan their lives together they are suddenly so bad at communicating they mess everything up.
I get the first miscommunication, girl got into a car accident, loses her memory (amnesia, the truly unique plot point), and when she remembers she was in love with someone her husband tells her he died in the car accident. Fine. Let’s overlook the fact that she could’ve read the newspaper articles about the accident, gone to his grave, looked him up AT HIS JOB. Whatever. It’s the ‘60s, she’s a housewife, supposed to not be good at that shit. Fine. But then, four years later, surprise! He’s not dead! But oh no, now she’s got a kid and is afraid her husband won’t let her take the kid with her. So of course, she spends the night with him, tells him she could never be with him, runs away. TWO DAYS LATER she gets what she needs to leave her husband and keep her kid and when she tries to find ‘the love of her life’ AT HIS JOB she’s told he went to Congo. Sane, normal woman that she is, she takes off to Congo to find him. Finds out she can’t get to Congo because war and murder and governments and she’s white and a woman. So she turns around, goes straight back home, AND GIVES UP. The love of her life keeps working at the same job for FORTY YEARS and she never goes back to look for him. You’re expecting me to believe that neither of them moved and yet they didn’t run into each other for forty years?! This is not a love story or a romantic storyline; this is insanity, or at least stupidity. Would authors please stop trying to sell this narrative as ‘long lost love’ and ‘meant to be’ and ‘oh how sweet, now they get to be together when they’re old and dying’? Because it’s dumb and it’s unrealistic and it’s crap. If these people were truly in love they wouldn’t have given up when it was clearly so easy for them to find each other. And if they were willing to give up on each other so easily, they clearly weren’t in love, and they would’ve settled down with other people at some point in the LAST FORTY YEARS.
That is everything important that happened. Read the review, not the book. Don’t encourage this lazy narrative – we’ve all read at least five other books with this exact story, we didn’t need another one.